John Otis

John Otis is a U.S. journalist who reports from South America. He is the author of the 2010 book Law of the Jungle about Colombia's guerrilla war.

Latest from John Otis

Amid fresh protests, Venezuela's opposition urges military to rise up against Maduro

Opposition leaders are urging Venezuela's powerful armed forces to withdraw their support for embattled President Nicolas Maduro. And they are taking their campaign abroad by lobbying foreign governments to cut diplomatic and economic ties with Caracas.

Peace offering from Maduro comes amid plans to rewrite Venezuela's constitution

President Nicolas Maduro may be making a peace offering by releasing Venezuela's opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, but he is forging ahead with plans to rewrite the nation's constitution in a way that could cement his hold on power.

As Venezuela's high court backtracks on power grab, is it still a de facto dictatorship?

Venezuela's highest court ruled to effectively shut down the country’s congress earlier this week, leaving President Nicolas Maduro's party in complete control.After a reversal of that decision, is the international community still worried that democracy has collapsed in Venezuela?

Venezuela government 'terrified' of calling election

Amid a severe economic crisis, opinion polls show that support for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and his party is collapsing. In response, electoral authorities have shelved or delayed elections large and small.

Delays, tricky logistics hamper peace process in Colombia

Under a treaty signed last year, about 7,000 battle-hardened rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, have agreed to disarm by May 31, but along the way, there have been numerous glitches and embarrassments for the government.

'This is a mockery': Venezuela's poor hit hardest by currency chaos

Venezuela’s leaders are not widely regarded as economic wise men. Indeed, their latest stroke — based in part on a bizarre conspiracy theory — was to outlaw most of the nation’s cash before getting around to introducing new banknotes.

Cuba's dictator was Colombia's peacemaker: How Fidel Castro helped end conflict with FARC

In the same week that Fidel Castro's ashes made their final journey across Cuba, Colombia's congress approved a peace deal with FARC rebels — a goal the dictator had encouraged for 20 years.

Colombians get 2nd chance at peace with new, revised treaty

Unlike Americans stuck with president-elect Donald Trump or British voters second-guessing their exit from the European Union, Colombians — who shocked the world by rejecting a treaty to end a 52-year-old guerrilla war — will get a do-over.

Venezuela talks called 'best' hope to solve impasse over President Maduro

Opposition leaders have temporarily halted their campaign of street marches and legislative action to force out Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and are giving Vatican-mediated talks a chance. Yet the decision has angered some activists who fear Maduro’s true goal in the negotiations is to derail the protest movement.

Venezuela's political rivals agree to hold talks amid escalating tensions

Venezuela's embattled socialist government and the opposition will start talks this weekend in a bid to head off an escalating political standoff sparked by the suspension of a recall referendum aimed at removing Nicolas Maduro, the nation’s deeply unpopular president.

'There is no going back': Colombian rebels insist peace will hold despite No vote

While many Colombians lament a recent public vote that rejected a peace agreement between the government and the rebel group FARC, many rebels are optimistic 'the war is over.'

'We have to persevere': Colombian president hopes Nobel Prize can help push peace process

A roller-coaster fortnight for Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos — who signed a historic agreement to end a half-century-old guerrilla war only to see it rejected by voters — ended in euphoria Friday when he was awarded the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize. John Otis looks at whether the award could help revive the peace process.

'A leap into the unknown': Colombia's rejection of FARC treaty throws peace process into chaos

After Colombians rejected the government's peace deal with FARC rebels in a referendum on Sunday, it's unclear whether a bilateral ceasefire will hold, whether the FARC will follow through on plans to disarm and whether a UN mission tasked with verifying compliance with the peace accords will now go home.

Colombia's historic pact means '1 less war in the world,' but much work still ahead

Now that the ink is dry on Monday's historic agreement to end Colombia's half-century-old guerrilla war, President Juan Manuel Santos will spend his remaining two years in office trying to translate its uplifting words into concrete deeds in former conflict zones.

Building peace in Colombia may be more challenging than 50 years of war

The plan by the Colombian rebel group FARC to disarm after half a century of warfare, form a political party and blend into civilian life looks enormously challenging.