Implementing peace was always going to be harder than negotiating it. But in the three months since Colombia’s Congress endorsed a deal to end more than 50 years of conflict with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the country's fragile peace process has already been put to a chilling test. Since Dec. 1 of last year, at least 20 social activists and community leaders have been killed in mostly rural areas across the country in what analysts say is an effort by paramilitary groups to suppress the implementation of the accords.“The current situation is extremely fragile,” Kristian Herbolzheimer, an analyst at London-based peace-building consultant Conciliation Resources, told AQ via email. “Powerful sectors remain opposed to the peace process.” America's Quarterly.
After clearly defining the goals, the main challenges are the problems left by the war. Now that there's peace, you can think of the territory in its entirety, but doing so involves a lot of infrastructure investment. Green growth must be developed throughout the country, that is, an immense allocation of resources is needed -- human, technical and financial resources. There are areas that need to be supplied with services, schools, hospitals, health centers. And that is not an easy job. This is the time to connect the territories that have been isolated by the armed conflict and then it will time to conquer those areas in terms of sustainable development. El Espectador
"Without application of the amnesty and without the release of those members or collaborators of FARC entitled to Amnesty under the Final Agreement, it is irresponsible to pretend to demand that weapons be laid down. FARC are showing a commitment to the peace process which is more explicit and effective than that expressed by several state institutions." Semana
Retired General Henry Torres is one of 22 generals who are investigated over the mass killing of civilians that cost the lives of an estimated 4,000 civilians, mainly while former President Alvaro Uribe was in office and particularly when current President Juan Manuel Santos was defense minister. Some 24,400 state officials and some 12,500 civilians will have to appear before the transitional justice system for war-related crimes. Between 6,200 and 20,000 FARC members will also appear before this court. Colombia Reports
Command responsibility defines, "The responsibility of superiors for the crimes of their subordinates if the superiors do not fulfill their obligation to supervise them adequately. The basis of the superior's responsibility lies in international humanitarian law. The criminalization of the absence of supervision dates back to a famous case that took place after World War II against the Japanese commander in the Philippines, Mr. Yamashita." Semana
The presiding judge of the hall, Eugenio Fernández Carlier, made the announcement "making it clear that the committee will establish its own rules and will have autonomy and independence for its work". Caracol Radio.
ELN, says senator Alvaro Uribe, "murders the nation's soldiers, blows up a pipeline, attacks citizens in Bogotá and nothing happens. Dialogue should be suspended until ELN accepts and abides by a total cessation of criminal activity," said the founder of the Centro Democrático. El País
ELN atenta contra Bogotá, asesina policía de la Patria, derrama petróleo en rio de Boyacá y Santos mantiene el diálogo.
Qué mal ejemplo! pic.twitter.com/2lOCUzhLrV
The UN Secretary-General has welcomed the launch of formal peace talks between the Government of Colombia and the ELN rebel group, also known as the National Liberation Army. António Guterres issued a statement through his spokesperson on Wednesday after the two parties met in Ecuador's capital, Quito. UN Radio
Truth is that today's meeting takes place amidst an atmosphere of trust, especially after yesterday when ELN delivered to a mission of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Ombudsman's Office, and the Catholic Church private Fredy Moreno Mahecha, who had been kidnapped a week ago by the front Domingo Laín on the road to Tame from Arauca. This fact was received as a clear sign of good will on the part of the guerrilla so the dialogues begin with the right foot forward. Everything seems to be arranged for it to be the case. El Tiempo
This is the ELN’s fourth official attempt to negotiate with the Colombian state. With its more horizontal and decentralised structure, and because revolutionary dissent is an ELN objective, the group is considered to be more “stubborn” than the FARC. As such, it is difficult to predict the outcome of this upcoming peace process. It is expected to be different than the four-year-long FARC negotiations, which were often perceived as an elite-to-elite conversation. With the ELN, civil society, including environmental organisations and trade unions that share some of the group’s views will have a voice in the peace process.
This will enable a wider-ranging national negotiation that could, in turn, strengthen and reinforce the existing FARC agreement by supporting a broader peace-building exercise. Still, a peace agreement is not peace; it is a roadmap for how to arrive at peace. If President Santos succeeds in negotiating and signing a peace accord with the ELN, it would be a momentous achievement. But it would mark the beginning of another journey for Colombia, not an arrival. The Huffington Post
FARC will begin handing over their weapons to a UN commission next March 1, said today the head of the strategic transition command (COET) general Javier Flórez. "The issue of physical delivery of weapons will begin March 1 with 30%; on May 1 another 30% and, on June 1, 40%. Ad all weapons will have been turned in," said Florez in a Bogota press conference. The senior official has reiterated that the process of abandoning weapons will be staggered in compliance with the 180-day deadline, which began on December 1 and will end on June 1. Edukia Euskaraz Ikusi
In his visit to a transitional zone in Putumayo, the president was interviewed for the first time by NC News, a news organization that belongs to the guerillas of FARC. He spoke of the challenges of the process once the transfer to the transitional demobilization zones has been completed and of those who still doubt that the agreement reached in Havana will be fulfilled. El Espectador
Colombia's Marxist FARC rebels can begin surrendering their weapons to the United Nations now that almost 7,000 of them have reached designated demobilization zones around the country, President Juan Manuel Santos said on Monday. Reuters
After completing over the weekend the displacement of some 6,900 FARC guerrillas, President of Colombia and current Nobel Peace Prize winner, Juan Manuel Santos, visited on Monday one of the 26 zones where the guerrillas will lay down their arms in the coming months.
"We'll start applying all protocols for the definitive cease-fire and of the abandonment of arms begin to be applied ... From this moment the zones are active and we are going to push the pedal", said the president from an area known as La Carmelita, in the department of Putumayo.
The UN, which leads the verification of ceasefire between the guerrillas and the army, criticized this weekend construction delays of the infrastructures for these disarmament zones. Voz de América
¡Noticia histórica! Farc están concentradas para desarmarse. Ahora es nuestro turno para construir unidos esa paz que tanto hemos anhelado pic.twitter.com/yz7ff3MDHy
The little houses that tell stories of pain and forgiveness: 'Memories in color' is a project in which 300 demobilized, FARC, ELN and paramilitary groups built small houses which they later painted telling their stories. 50 of them were exhibited at the Herencia Verde Gallery. The event was attended by government officials, journalists and artists. El Espectador
"Here, the public-private partnership model is quite applicable. Colombia should consider creating an independent, impartial body comprised of leaders from the public and private sectors to oversee the implementation process and prevent corruption. Such an institution could leverage the leadership of the public sector with the resources of the private sector, and might prove valuable in creating consensus and approval among social groups concerned with how the peace deal will affect the nation going forward.
"In the wake of one of the biggest corruption scandals in history, Colombia has a unique opportunity to seize this moment and reject business as usual. Through partnership and substantive reform, it can make major progress in eradicating corruption. Forums like the Concordia Americas Summit in Bogotá on Feb. 21 represent a unique opportunity to develop meaningful partnerships, and we look forward to fostering collaboration for a better future in Colombia and beyond at the summit in Bogotá." Devex
"The transfer of the guerrillas to 26 assembly points across the country, where they will lay down their weapons and prepare for their return to civilian life under the supervision of the UN, began on 28 January. President Juan Manuel Santos described the movement as 'historic.'"
Colombia is seeking to put an end to more than half a century of armed conflict, involving about 30 guerrilla organizations, paramilitaries and law enforcement agencies, causing at least 260,000 deaths, more than 60,000 missing and 6.9 million displaced. In February, the government launched peace talks with the last guerrilla group active in territory of Colombia, the National Liberation Army (ELN, Guevarista). Le Monde
"Colombia is reducing poverty and, in particular, extreme poverty," said the Vatican's Nuncio, adding: "With the help of all, violence, enmity and prejudice can be overcome, reviving confidence in a better country and Promoting reconciliation." El Siglo de Durango
After 55 years of civil conflict that killed some 220,000 citizens, Colombia is indubitably on the path to peace. Juan Manuel Santos’s government has signed a peace agreement with the FARC rebels and launched negotiations with the ELN, the country’s second-largest guerrilla group, which is still armed and active.
But accords are only the first step toward ending war. Afterwards come disarmament, reintegration, reparations, justice – all the hard work of making peace stick in a traumatised and deeply polarised nation. At this fragile crossroads, The Conversation Global invited scholars to reflect on recent peace processes from around the globe. The question: what lessons could Colombia take away from other nations’ transitions from civil war to peace? The Conversation
On an official visit to Colombia this week President Michael D. Higgins acknowledged the work of 'many groups and individuals' who have travelled between Colombia and Ireland in recent months to 'discuss lessons and parallels from our respective journeys', saying Ireland 'can make a contribution by making available our own experience of peacebuilding over the last 20 years and more'”. Irish Catholic
Colombian journalist Marisol Gómez Giraldo goes behind the scenes in this early account of the country's tumultuous peace process. "Gómez’s book will not be the definitive account of the peace talks. While often engaging, it is a first draft of history, not least because it was released the day after a national plebiscite in which Colombians, asked to support or reject the terms of the agreement with the farc, voted against the accord by a razor-thin margin". Americas Quarterly.
"The United States has spent billions of dollars to weaken the leftist guerrillas and battle the narco-traffickers. Plan Colombia and a military solution may help end the civil war, but it will neither transform the national narrative nor end the violence.A real transformation of Colombia will come from civil society, from below, and from common people making the uncommon choice to forgive and to reject an eye for an eye."
In his January report, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights welcomed progress in the peace talks, but expressed concern about impunity and the human rights impact of the conflict, especially on Indigenous and Afro-descendant communities and human rights defenders. Although the report noted that all the warring parties were responsible for human rights abuses and violations, it stated that paramilitaries (referred to as “postdemobilization armed groups linked to organized crime”) represented “the main Amnesty International Report 2015/16 127 public security challenge”. In August, the CERD Committee noted that the armed conflict continued to have a disproportionate impact on Indigenous Peoples and Afro-descendant communities and criticized the failure to ensure the effective participation of these communities in the peace process. The UN Committee against Torture expressed concern over “the persistence of grave human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances in the State party” and the fact that “it has not received information concerning criminal trials or convictions for the offence of enforced disappearance." Amnesty International
Hanging over the country is the memory of another peace deal and another massacre 30 years ago. Around 3,000 members of the leftwing Unión Patriótica were murdered, effectively sinking that agreement and leaving a deep scar on the national psyche. [...]
“Ultimately the problem is one of time, and a question of who has more initiative. While the government forces are adapting to the new situation, armed groups are in an atmosphere conducive to growing their thriving illegal businesses,” the Foundation for Peace and Reconciliation said.
“Either everything that sounds so good on paper must be put into practice, or it will be too late for many areas, where a new enemy is lurking.” The Guardian
Cerón Gómez is the 20th social leader killed in the almost 80 days since the implementation of the peace agreements between the government and FARC began. This means that every four days a community leader has been killed throughout the country. Most of the killings, six of them, have taken place in Cauca. Three have been killed in Antioquia and Cesar. Human rights defenders have also been murdered in Córdoba, La Guajira, Bolívar, Atlántico, Putumayo, Chocó and Valle del Cauca. Pacifista!
Despite donations of more than US$ 2,000 million received by La Guajira in less than 30 years, most of the indigenous people live in absolutely inhuman conditions: lacking water, food, health services, transportation, education, justice and democracy, if we take into consideration that democracy has been kidnapped by gigantic and powerful criminal gangs.
I am convinced that you would be the first one astonished to know with certainty that the world's greatest extermination by hunger is occurring now, ironically, in the only country on the planet governed by a Nobel Prize winner. Gonzalo Guillén Semana
"At the level of the ethnic groups, we need to adapt our institutions in ways that make it possible to implement directly with afro-descendants matters related to the Development Plan with a Territorial Approach, which deals with the incorporation and political participation of former combatants who are also members of ethnic groups," writes Daniel Garces, also warning about the void that exists in terms of political representation of Afro-Colombians in the nation's Congress, because of the current vacancy of two seats allocated by way of Law 70 in the House of Representatives". Colombia Plural
After more than half a century of civil war, a peace agreement has been concluded in Colombia. Guerrilla groups, paramilitary organisations and the government are now discussing how to implement disarmament and bring about reconciliation. Colombia’s rural regions have been particularly hard hit by the civil war and the illegal drug trade. Far from the capital, local actors hold sway, and it will be difficult to take steps towards peaceful coexistence. For two decades, Ruta Pacífica de las Mujeres, a women’s rights organisation, has been campaigning for peace. Amanda Camilo Ibarra understands the issues well. She is a teacher and represents Ruta Pacífica in Putumayo, in the south of the country, where fighting was fierce. Development and Cooperation
The debates and transformations on the gender approach in the Peace Agreement come hand in hand with important challenges and potential for women's and LGBTI organizations, not only in accompanying the implementation of the agreement, but also in persevering in the objective of the gender approach and the promotion of non-discrimination as non-negotiable for peacebuilding." Gender Focus
Saving lives by clearing minefields. Second lieutenant Jéssica Alejandra Molina Figueroa, a civil engineer from Universidad Militar de Nueva Granada, will be the first Colombia woman to lead highly specialized teams in the dangerous task of clearing antipersonnel mines throughout the nation. Canal Institucional.
"These 1,200 new professional soldiers are part of a group of more than 5,000 who are graduating this year and will be deployed to the most critical areas of Colombia," General Alberto Jose Mejía said as he presided over the graduation of new professional soldiers in Nilo, central Colombia. "The purpose is to occupying unstable areas." Reuters
The year 2016 closed with a balance of 117 social leaders and human rights defenders killed in just one year. For a society that claims to be democratic and a defender of life, that figure is but an embarrassment and should lead people to pour out on the streets protesting. It is a concealed, silent genocide by a government that denies the systematicity and political motives executed through paramilitarism.
The defense of peace also involves the defense of life and political participation. Today, when it comes to implementing the peace agreement signed between the Government and the FARC, and as dialogues develop with ELN, it is necessary to bare the words and to show the face of the war that's perpetrating a genocide against the political opposition in Colombia. Con la Oreja Roja
These children will now have a future. [...] Catherine, after a long process, reconciled with her mother, without forgetting her scars and is now working with two of her brothers. She, like many children who've come out of the tragic madness of the Colombian conflict, lives by a motto that inspires confidence in them and in a society which they no longer see as an enemy: "Only you can do it, but you can not do it alone". Actualidad DW
I was recruited at 13. I lived through some hard things. Sexual abuse, poverty, bad treatment from my mother. I had no one else. The FARC defended me when my mother tried to hit me, so I thought they were something good. I asked them to take me. In other places, a child dreams of becoming a doctor or a fireman. Where I grew up, the children dreamed of becoming guerrilla soldiers. They were the only authority figures we had. There was no other group, no NGO looking after the people there. I did not see any other option, so for me, the guerrillas were an escape from my parents and the poverty I was born into. Newsdeeply
"We know that the children who were returned in Ituango are having difficulties with their families. We are looking at what the Government of Antioquia can do so that this link does not break. They came home and are a little disappointed," RCN Radio
Our first priority is the rehabilitation of children that have been involved in armed conflict,” Eamon Gilmore, the EU’s special envoy for the Colombian peace process, told EFE during a visit to the country. He insisted that the rehabilitation of these children is of the utmost importance, as it is a factor that could dictate whether the violence and conflict resurface. To this end, the EU is going to work in unison with UNICEF-run “programmes that will help reintegrate these children into society, their families and the school system”, Gilmore explained. Euractiv
Pastor Alape, spokesman for FARC, confirmed on a Caracol radio interview that the second group of minors, 23 of them, still in FARC camps will soon be handed over. He said that "temporary shelters are being sought for these minors in order to guarantee them their rights and so they can be covered by the peace agreements to avoid legal problems in the future." Caracol
Because of its privileged geographical situation in a mountainous region, near the highway Medellín - Bogota, since the middle of the eighties, Granada was targeted by armed groups: guerrillas, the paramilitary, and the army. It suffered harassment, massacres, car bombs, displacement, military occupation, kidnappings and extrajudicial executions. Global Voices
The United Nations warned last year that the local Afro-Colombian and indigenous populations needed "urgent" protection. Authorities say there are 6,000 people displaced and 7,000 confined to their homes in the surrounding Choco region for fear of violence.
"We cannot guarantee that the peace process will end the violence," says Luis Carlos Arce, governor of Alto Tumando, another settlement of displaced people.
"The violence of hunger, its impact on education and health -- that is not going to end."
Fic-Vic is a film festival for peace, created by Juvenal Camacho, and supported by local businesses and through the work of volunteers. It has shown 13 short films throughout Colombia, including in remote Quibdó, Pasto and other areas. "The objective is to make the festival visible showing that peace can also be built with few resources", says Camacho who travels Colombia with a briefcase full of films and the dream of having victims tell their own story this way. Pacifista
In one of the regions most affected by the conflict, where guerrillas, paramilitaries and the Public Force have done untold things, something is beginning to change. In the square of El Carmen de Bolivar, epicenter of the Montes de María massacre, victims, armed actors, social leaders and peasants from all corners gathered in the the first Festival of Reconciliation. For Soraya Bayuelo, whose brother and a niece were killed by armed individuals -- Paras and Farc -- the warm afternoon of December 6 will be forever marked in her memory as the day of forgiveness.
"However, funding gaps, administrative delays and the political balance of power ahead of 2018 threaten to curtail transitional arrangements and structural reforms aimed at remedying the root grievances of the conflict. The opposition could financially starve institutions, programs or policies in the peace agreement if it comes to power. The terms of transitional justice, measures on rural reform and land access, and community-based approaches to removing coca crops and establishing alternative income-generating activities could all be in danger. Defending the agreement will be an intrinsic part of the political battle ahead"...Relief Web
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) welcomes the peace agreement between the Colombian Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People's Army (FARC-EP). Peter Maurer, president of the ICRC, thanked the parties for the confidence they had shown in the organization and for recognizing its neutrality, Independence and impartiality. ICRC
Some 7,000 men and women from FARC finished concentrating in transitional demobilization zones, where they will be spend six months old and will deliver their weapons. It is a historical event, unthinkable a decade ago and rich in teachings about FARC. in particular, and the peace process. in general. Juanita Vélez, from Silla Vacía, draws the following analysis.
[..] The government itself, as well as the Nobel Peace Prizes gathered in Bogota a few weeks ago, asked presidential candidates to respect the peace agreement above political ambitions, which is why there are those who welcome a possible candidacy of the chief negotiator with FARC, liberal Humberto de la Calle. [..] It remains to be seen, however, what will be the impact of FARC's entry into the upcoming electoral process, and whether it will end up adding votes to one of the candidates who takes ownership of the peace flag. El Economista América
"Colombia is reducing poverty and, in particular, extreme poverty," said the Vatican's Nuncio, adding: "With the help of all, violence, enmity and prejudice can be overcome, reviving confidence in a better country and Promoting reconciliation." El Siglo de Durango
But former President Alvaro Uribe's Democratic Center party has consistently spoken out against the transitional court provision, among others. And depending on the outcome in 2018 of Colombia's next presidential election, the party may have the chance to act on its objections. A former adviser to Uribe said Feb. 10 that if the Democratic Center wins power in the vote, it will revisit the terms of the accord that demonstrate "tolerance toward drug trafficking," including the guarantee of amnesty. In the meantime, the outgoing Santos administration is using its last year in office to prepare for that contingency. Stratfor
Under the heading, 'Peace is Over', Colombia Report's Adriaan Alsema writes about renewed paramilitary activity in the area of Boyayá. "According to armed conflict website Pacifista, “the other groups” came Thursday in the form of the Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AGC), the descendant of the AUC, the group that killed tens of thousands and displaced millions between 1997 and 2006 and only partially demobilized under former President Alvaro Uribe.
Ambassador Juan Carlos Pinzón, Colombia's envoy to Washington D.C., discusses the importance for the US to embrace the peace process, a new phase of a decades-old bilateral partnership. Excerpts from an opinion piece Mr. Pinzón published 2/15/17 in The Hill.
[...] "An alliance once narrowly focused on combatting security challenges has matured and expanded to issues critical to the future of both nations and the hemisphere, including advancing cooperation on energy, education and innovation.
"As with Plan Colombia, Peace Colombia will largely be supported by Colombian taxpayers, who will fund more than 90 percent of the initiative. The Peace Colombia effort will lead to additional progress that benefits Americans, including reductions in crime, drug trafficking and illegal mining.
"Broader than that, the initiative will strengthen Colombia and our shared goals. With a track record of progress, Colombia and the United States are well positioned to achieve even more together." The Hill
"20 hi-tec mobile libraries will be deployed to the FARC demobilization zones where fighters will lay down their weapons and begin their transition into legality. Each library includes digital tablets, video cameras, board games, a movie projection system with 30 films and more than 500 books, digital and paper copies. The government has invested US$2 million on this equipment [...]" Pacifista
Low oil reserves, insufficient infrastructure, persistent security risks and inherent social unrest are the biggest obstacles. In the current oil sector environment those positives might not overweight the risks. Even the government is aware of that, and recently passed tax reform aimed at replacing the old incomes from oil with tax revenue. Global Risks Insights
The United Kingdom, Sweden, Germany and Norway reiterated their support for the construction of a stable and lasting peace in Colombia with new contributions to the United Nations Fund for Postconflict for a total of USD16.8 million announced this morning at a press conference . The High Councilor for Post-Conflict, Human Rights and Security, who also acts as Co-Chair of the Fund, Rafael Pardo, expressed his gratitude. "On behalf of the Colombian government, I would like to thank the United Kingdom, Sweden, Germany and Norway for the support they have always given to Colombia, even more so at this crucial moment in our history.These contributions will be fundamental to guarantee socio- Economic development of the peace agreements, to bring about a change in the lives of our compatriots and to establish a stable and lasting peace." APC
"The Uribe administration sat for almost three years with the Eln in Cuba negotiating. What a great contribution to this process it could make. Let's keep the process with ELN outside of the political realm. That will benefit the process, it will be good for the country, and the whole world". Presidencia Colombia
Past attempts to negotiate with the FARC failed because the conditions were not ripe. Two of those conditions were military advantage, so that the government could negotiate from strength, and the support of the region. What I did was to create those conditions – the first through military effectiveness, and the second through pragmatic diplomacy.
The effect of this de jure amnesty is the immediate and definitive release of those who, being deprived of freedom, have benefited from this measure.
Regarding the number of FARC-EP guerrillas, militiamen and collaborators who could benefit from the amnesty, legal adviser to the peace team, Enrique Santiago, says that it could be in somewhere in the range of 2,500 to 3,000. Contagio Radio
The number of FARC members remains uncertain. So far, it is known that some 6,450 insurgents have reported to the transitional areas for normalization. However, mystery remains as to the number of militiamen who are part of that guerrilla group. Jaramillo warns of the need to ensure that they identify themselves very quickly "and that they go to the areas to be certified and to make their transit to legality, because those who do not do so, expose themselves to capture and will not get any benefits." El Colombiano
In an interview with El Espectador, FARC leader Pastor Alape discusses the task of demining Colombia. He said that FARC has created a demining group, Humanicemos, which would eventually gather between 900 and 1,500 members. El Espectador
"They are going to create a special zone besides the camps" with health and lactation services so that the children "are taken care of," said in a press conference Admiral Orlando Romero, maximum delegate of the government in the mechanism of monitoring and verification (MM & V) the ceasefire and hostilities with FARC. Noticias RCN
As with any political party, FARC will be able to field candidates for president and for the Congress in next year's elections. They will receive state funding for their operations and campaigns. This is included in the draft of a bill that will be presented Wednesday to the House by Minister of the Interior, Juan Fernando Cristo. This is FARC's actual move from insurgent group to a political movement as was agreed in Havana with the insurgents. El Tiempo
There is an pressing need to set up the demobilization zones because in addition to helping reincorporate the insurgents, they will allow nearby communities to have access to a basic infrastructure, so they can at least feel that what was decided in La Havana is possible in Colombia. Brasil de Fato
Encouraging news from the Ministry of Defense. Carlos M. Pérez, a 32-year-old member of the Urban Antiterrorist Special Forces, was released last week from the military Hospital. Mr. Pérez had been wounded by a hand grenade thrown against him by members of the ELN during a November 29 attack on the police station in Sareva, Arauca. Four other members of the armed forces were wounded in the attack. Via Red Mas Noticias
Twenty such camps have been set up throughout Colombia. FARC fighters will concentrate there and will start the process of laying down weapons, scheduled to be completed during the first six months of 2017.
President Juan Manuel Santos acknowledged on Thursday construction delays in the camps where the FARC guerrillas will stay before laying down their weapons, but said that these are being solved and will not affect the implementation of the peace deal. "We've had problems. Logistically, it is a very complex operation but all these issues are being addressed and everyone is conscious of the need to speed up and meet our schedules for laying down the weapons," Santos said after concluding a visit to a zone of pre-grouping in a hamlet in La Guajira, municipality of Mesetas, department of Meta. Twenty such concentration zones, known as "Zonas Veredales Transitorias de Normalización". Noticias RCN
We want to set up a dialogue with the organizations of peasants who cultivate coca and present to them the the options offered by the government. Money has been allocated for projects to will replace these crops. Our plan is to make available food assistance resources linked to employment for one year. There are 50,000 places available for those who decide to become part of the project. After the process, we will seek to work for two years with alternative programs that will replace the production of coca crops. We hope to establish a real dialogue around this issue and to develop new cultural projects to benefit the peasantry. Arcadia
Colombia is the world's largest producer of cocaine and the nation with the highest number of acreage dedicated to coca crops. In, Briceño, Antioquia where a joint FARC-Government crop substitution plan has been implemented, there are an estimated 1,500 hectares of illicit crops, feeding some 2,000 families. Peasants in these areas rust the guerrillas, who buy coca and play the role of authority.
Reducing these numbers would reshape the nation's international image and help taper drug trafficking, a generator of violence and public health problems. Residents expect the government to comply with the pilot plan, so that FARC leave the business.Projekte.jonamag.de
But forced eradication is not as viable as it seems. According to Pardo, fumigating one hectare of coca costs about 20 million pesos. The problem is that "for a hectare to stop producing it must be fumigated four or five times. We are facing a program (voluntary substitution) that is much more cost effective because it also ensures the transformation of territory and a new life for people who have been thrown into coca cultivation today," said the high commissioner. The idea, after all, is to find a definitive solution. For that reason, rather than forced eradication, a voluntary substitution will be sought so that the affected territories become a source of potential for the nation's economy." Pacifista
"The goal is to replace approximately 50,000 hectares of illicit crops during the first year of implementation in more than 40 municipalities in the most affected departments," the government and the rebels said in a joint statement. VOA