Joe Contreras




Alvaro Uribe Velez--slight and bespectacled--looks more like a high-school math teacher than a hard-charging ideologue. But there's nothing wimpy about his message: from the moment he declared his candidacy for Colombia's 2002 presidential election, the former state governor promised to halt peace negotiations with the rebel Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and restore law and order.


Mario Ayala Otarola is running scared. The mayor of San Miguel de Ene fled his isolated village in the jungles of eastern Peru last December. He had heard that a column of Shining Path guerrillas operating in the area planned to assassinate him.

Fallout From A Caribbean Murder

If justice delayed is justice denied, then four American men sitting in a Caribbean jail must be nursing a special sense of grievance. A year ago last month William Labrador and three friends were arrested in the British Virgin Islands for the murder of Lois McMillen, a 34-year-old painter from Connecticut.

The Long Road Home

The Endgame: "Let's Do It That Way," Castro Finally Told The American Lawyer. After Tense Talks In Havana Elián's Dad Flew To The United States To Reclaim His Son. Behind A Father's Battle For A Little Boy Trapped In An Epic Custody Brawl.

It's Ok To Laugh

THE DOORBELL RINGS. GWEN ANDERSON, archetypal South African white matron and costar of the comic strip ""Madam & Eve,'' opens her front door to a black couple. ""Don't mind us,'' says the man. ""We're house-hunting for after the election.'' ""I'm sorry,'' says a flustered Gwen, ""but this house isn't for sale.'' ""Who said anything about buying it?'' the man rejoins.

Mr. Mandela Builds His Dream Team

IT SEEMED A FAIRY-TALE ENDING TO A story of national redemption. Before even half the votes were counted, South African President F. W. de Klerk conceded defeat in an election that ended three centuries of white-minority rule. "We have proved we can work together," he said.

Pack Your Trunk And Off You Go

DOWN BELOW, EIGHT ELEPHANTS huddle tightly as the thwack-thwack of the helicopter grows louder. it is mid-afternoon under a blazing sun in Zimbabwe's Gona-re-zhou National Park, and Clem Coetsee is primed for the hunt, a .22-caliber rifle at the ready.

Apartheid On The Ash Heap

YOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT F. W. DE Klerk made two promises when he Stock office four years ago. He promised blacks the vote, but he also told the whites who elected him that he'd protect them from "domination" by the majority.

Mandela Loses Control

The wrath of the young lions reduced Nelson Mandela to lame explanations. "I understand your anger," he said plaintively after loud jeers interrupted his speech at a rally in the black township of Soweto, outside Johannesburg.

Not Ready For Prime Time

The Springboks have been out of circulation for a long time, and it shows. South Africa's all-white rugby team ended its first overseas tour in 11 years on Saturday with a 33-16 drubbing by England in full view of South African President F.

'Angola Is in a State of War'

The attack began at about 2 a.m. on Oct. 30 near Luanda's international airport. Some three dozen fighters from UNITA (the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola), Jonas Savimbi's rebel movement, fired mortar rounds at airplanes and helicopters parked on the tarmac, killing at least 13 people.

The Lure Of Diamonds

The crowded room falls silent as the buyer carefully scoops lentil-size rough diamonds from a plastic bag with a tiny metal shovel. The clicking stones sparkle in the pale morning light as they tumble into a Japanese-made electronic scale.

Secret War In South Africa

They were apartheid's fiercest warriors. Throughout the 1980s, such covert South African units as Army Special Forces, the police counter in surgency force known as Koevoet (Crowbar), and the Portuguese-speaking "Buffalo" Battalion ran a campaign of assassination and sabotage against the African National Congress and other Soviet-backed groups based in Black Africa.

The Fire In The Streets

The young militants cornered the shirtless man in a yard, then kicked and beat him senseless. "You are going to die," they chanted. They dragged their victim into the street and shot him several times with a homemade pistol.

Can Reform Survive?

"We want guns!" chanted the throng, and Nelson Mandela's reply--a clenched-fist salute--looked suitably militant. African National Congress "comrades" were rallying last week in memory of 39 residents of Boipatong township whose bloody deaths two weeks ago put in question the future of democratic reform in South Africa.

The Gambling Man

Has South African President F. W. de Klerk committed political suicide? On the eve of a bellwether parliamentary by-election last week, his government slashed funding for whites-only schools.

Caught In The Cross-Fire

In early 1987 Paul Simon kicked off a world tour to promote his exuberant platinum-selling album, "Graceland." Blending Western pop with the infectious mbaqanga rhythms of South Africa's black ghettos, the award-winning record brought worldwide exposure to township music.