This past Monday at 1 am, unknown people arrived at the house of the president of the Communal Action Board of La Union, Alvino Rosero, and they assassinated him. The murder took place in area is one of the country's where the most illicit crops are planted, and this murder happens amid increases in plantation of coca leaf, the government pushing a program for crop substitution, and international concern the war on drugs. ¡PACIFISTA!
Thursday, March 30th- NOON - 1:30 pm -- A peace deal between the Colombian government and the FARC guerrillas was signed late last year, and implementation is already underway. But political and logistical roadblocks have already arisen – not to mention a shocking increase in the number of assassinations of human rights defenders and community leaders. And negotiations with the ELN guerrillas have just begun. Amazon Watch / CIEL Conference Room
1350 Connecticut Ave. NW #1100 Washington, DC. Information on speakers.
Peace brings hope and also destruction to La Macarena. Without the threat of rifles, environmental rules have lost strength. In the last two summers fishing has multiplied and everyone has taken advantage of it to expand their land. [...] FARC and the communities established a strict ban on the hunting of tapir and paujil and limited that of other species. These measures, sustained for 20 years, paid off. Maybe that's why the Manaos, that huge herd of wild pigs-up to 200 individuals-disappeared in the 1980s. But that powerful symbol of the jungle is again threatened. El Espectador
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
The 2016 report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Colombia warns of the restrictions, gaps and ambiguities of the Amnesty Law and of the JEP regarding public officials. It calls for recognition of state crimes. Colombia Plural
This is crucial because in their current form, the new provisions in the transitional justice law are a slap in the conflict’s victims’ faces. They violate both the spirit and the intent of the peace accord—especially a part of the accord that took 19 long months to negotiate. If for some reason the Constitutional Court fails to bring Colombia’s transitional justice system in line with international standards and the spirit of the accords, WOLA will urge the International Criminal Court to act. WOLA
The debate on the so-called "responsibility of command" (RdM) in the constitutional reform that incorporates the "special peace jurisdiction" (JEP) into Colombian jurisprudence has been very difficult for at least three reasons: (i) Because if we do not solve it properly we run the risk of affecting the legitimacy and legal security of the peace agreement; (Ii) it is legally complex and can make it boring and difficult for many to understand; and (iii) has been unduly polarized because retired officers, especially ACORE (Associate of Retired Colombian Officers), have wrongly stated that those who argue that the regulation of RdM in JEP must respect international law is part of a conspiracy of leftists, who receive money so that the high military commands are judged more severely than the guerrillas; even that they are judged "in the most violent manner."
JEP adequately applying this RdM (Responsibility of command), both to the guerrilla fighters and to agents of the state is fundamental not only to avoid the impunity of those who have incurred this responsibility, but also to give a solid legal foundation to the peace process due to the obligations that Colombia has in terms of international law and that would allow eventual interventions by the ICC, should Colombia not comply with them. Rodrigo Uprimny, La Silla Vacía
Almost 100 FARC political prisoners began an indefinite hunger strike on Saturday to demand better prison conditions and an acceleration and commitment to the peace process. The FARC inmates insisted that the state speed up its execution of the peace process, especially “that the release of political prisoners and the amnesty law become a reality.” Telesur English
The ambassador of Cuba, in a letter to FARC secretariat member Iván Marquez, offered 1,000 scholarships to study medicine in the island: 500 for FARC ex-combatants and 500 to other Colombians. The proposal, according to the diplomat, was sent to the Monitoring, and Verification Commission as a contribution to the implementation of the peace agreement and post-conflict. Cuba played a major role in the negotiations that concluded with the November 24 final peace agreement. El Espectador
In contrast to the FARC’s hierarchical structure, the ELN have a collective decision making structure which will complicate the negotiating process. A 2016 report from Conflict Analysis Resource Centre, CERAC, says that “A negotiated solution to the conflict with the ELN is not only necessary but will bring fewer human and economic losses to the country than an elusive termination to the conflict by military means.” Bogotá Post
Clouds gathered Monday over peace talks aimed at ending Colombia's half-century conflict after the ELN rebels claimed responsibility for a deadly bombing at a bullring in Bogota. The leftist rebels' claim of responsibility, issued late Sunday on Twitter, pollutes the air at the peace talks as President Juan Manuel Santos seeks a deal with Colombia's last active rebel group to end a conflict that has killed 260,000 people. The ELN also claimed responsibility for a February 14 attack on a military patrol in eastern Colombia that wounded two soldiers, as well as several bombings on the Cano Limon Covenas oil pipeline.Enca
One of the major criticisms of the peace talks has been the issue of popular participation, given that social organizations have not been represented. For that reason, and bearing in mind peace talks with ELN, OXFAM and Planeta Paz are launching the National Agenda for Peace. This project gathers the voices of those really responsible to live, verify and implement the peace agreements. Las2Orillas
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
From Pondores, in La Guajira, guerrilla leader Iván Márquez announced that the peace monitoring mechanism that includes FARC, the UN and the Government are in discussions to determine the protocol they will implement for the destruction of explosives and other such materials still in hands of the guerrilla group. Two containers were installed at Pondores, and once 100 percent of the works are completed, the guerrillas will be willing to settle and begin the process of laying down their weapons and reinsertment into civil life. Caracol Radio
A baby boom has swept the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, as the leftist rebel group has embarked on a historic peace process with the government. Dozens of babies have been born to guerrilla parents since peace talks opened in 2012. At the camps where the rebels are currently disarming under a peace deal signed in November, guerrillas in combat fatigues can be seen bouncing young children on their laps.
"Having a baby here is like being born again," said Rodriguez, who joined the FARC at just nine years old, after a right-wing paramilitary unit killed his grandfather. Ramirez, the expectant mother, is more cautious about what comes next. But she can't help imagining a new life. Yahoo News
The disarmament of 7,300 FARC guerrillas began on March 1. Registration of the weapons will be first step in this process, which as agreed in Cuba must end with the melting of the weapons and the building of three monuments. Government and FARC agreed not to give out data on weapons's serial number of the weapons. This means that their origin and how they entered the country will remain unknown.El Colombiano
It's a long list: dissident militias, paramilitary groups, drug traffickers, tensions in replacing coca crops, a deep institutional crisis, the struggle for power ... "The Pearl of the Pacific" continues to bleed, although the people want to believe in peace [...] The report of the Peace and Reconciliation Foundation states that the urban area of Tumaco remains, "one of the sad reflections of institutional and governmental neglect." Citizens of this area of the country live in "a context of basic needs pressing to be met", which added to the limited access to economic activities strengthens and encourages citizens's "recognition of the culture of illegality as normal, valid and even appreciated." Colombia Plural
Colombia's largest rebel group has handed over 140 weapons to United Nations observers as part of an historic peace agreement. Under the accord, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia agreed to turn over 30 per cent of its arsenal by March 1.
But delays in setting up the 26 rural camps where nearly 7,000 rebels are now gathered meant not all the containers designed to hold the weapons were ready. Instead, rebels began registering their individual arms while authorities prepared an inventory of the arsenal. DNA
Kingston High School students who attended the recent 16th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates say the event will influence their endeavors going forward. Some of the 25 students who attended the summit in early February in Bogota, Colombia, spoke to the Kingston Board of Education at its meeting last week. Students said among the impressive aspects of the peace agreement is that it gives former fighters a future. The Daily Freeman
The European United Left – Nordic Green Left – European Parliamentary (GUE/NGL) Group in the European Parliament hosted an event on “Colombia after the Havana agreements: paving the road to peace.” The March 28 event looked at the challenges and difficulties in the implementation of the peace agreements with representatives from civil society, trade unions, political parties as well as a legal advisor to the FARC-EP Peace Delegation. New Europe
Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will deliver awards on Friday to four Colombians who contributed to the success of the peace talks with FARC. These include Colombia's chief negotiator Humberto de la Calle. The awards ceremony, which will take place at Georgetown University, where Clinton will deliver remarks on "the role women can play in international politics and peacebuilding efforts." RCN Radio
The former presidents of Uruguay and Spain, José Mujica and Felipe González, respectively, will be appointed next Thursday, March 30, as notables of the International Verification Component of the peace agreement. These notables, as described in the final agreement with the FARC, are chosen by the National Government and the FARC. El Espectador
The longing for peace is concentrated in Colombia's middle and lower classes, because the upper class already has peace and harmony, they never take up arms or fight a war, never feel hungry (perhaps hunger for corruption or the famous ambition) never suffer from the poor treatment from health providers, never stand in long lines to claim a family allowance or to claim free groceries in election campaigns. The average Colombian longs for peace in their daily lives, in their daily hustle to feed their children, find scholarships or educational subsidies for them, earn a meager minimum wage, seek a better position for themselves and for their families. Las 2 Orillas
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."
During 2017 the Wounaans were forcibly displaced on two occasions. The first on February 12 in the protected zone of Santa Rosa de Guayacán (rural area of Buenaventura), when a group of armed men -- allegedly paramilitary, according to the community -- threatened them. On February 21 was the second time, when clashes between the army and ELN displaced members of the Chagpien Tordó (San Juan Litoral) reservation. The deplorable balance: at least 250 Indians are still crowded in the municipal head of Buenaventura, housed in the Center for Comprehensive Care for Youth (Caiju). The number of displaced people could be even higher, as more members are arriving every week. El Espectador
"Our firm resistance to acts and strategies of such criminal level has remained unbroken throughout these 20 years -- even if we've seen over 300 brothers, sisters and neighbors, our resistance has been our companion and we continue to be supported by people and communities from different countries of the world that are governed by ethical principles that seem incompatible with the iniquity of our State. We will be eternally grateful to them". El Tiempo
Adam Isacson publishes 8 things that stood out to me in the UN Commissioner's Human Rights Reports in Colombia.
1) One Human Rights Defender or Social Activist Was Murdered Every Three Days Last Year; 2) The FARC peace accord, and subsequent legislation, define “command responsibility” for war crimes in a way that doesn’t meet international standards; 3) Slow Progress in Holding the Military Accountable for Extrajudicial Killings Does Not Extend to the Highest-Ranking Commander; 4) The Colombian Government Erred Badly in Not Preparing the FARC Disarmament Zones in a Timely Way; 5) 75 Indigenous People Died of Malnutrition in the Corruption-Plagued Department of La Guajira, in Northeastern Colombia; 6) The FARC has been too slow in releasing child combatants within its ranks; 7) The Military’s Internal-Security Role Is Growing, Not Shrinking, in the Post-Accord Context; 8) Colombia’s Forced Displacement Crisis Isn’t Over Adam Isacson
The majority of killings occurred in areas previously controlled by the FARC. The withdrawal of the FARC has increased the risk of violence for the communities in those areas. Illegal economic activities have increased, state authorities are not protecting the local population and numerous armed groups are competing for territorial control. Violence in these areas is also being facilitated by poverty, marginalisation and a lack of opportunities. Justice for Colombia
"Semantics aside, the hard truth is that ever since a peace deal was signed in 2016 with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), there has been alarming spike in such attacks–particularly in rural areas. WOLA has been monitoring these cases closely, and is working with our partners to ensure that the Colombian government protect these activists from further threats, as well as to investigate and prosecute those responsible for these attacks. Below is a list of the incidents that have occurred since our last monthly update (see January and February’s updates). Together, we stand with our partners in Colombia in calling for justice." WOLA
"As we begin to transform from guerrilla fighters into civilian women, I allowed myself to imagine what our life will be like in the medium term, once our project consolidates. Whatever direction we take, I'm sure that we will definitely not be exchanging our guns for brooms." Sarah Luna Nariño, FARC-EP. Farianas
I was a peasant. I lived with my parents and 6 brothers in the field in Vereda El Narciso, some 3 hours by bus in the municipality of Urrao, Antioquia. Like many peasants, we barely survived with what we raised. [...] Rumors had it armed groups had arrived who were murdering and expelling peasants and this was creating terror and that many had left, leaving all their goods and dreams behind. In 2001 they arrived where I lived, threatening people they branded as guerrilla collaborators, they took my older brother by force, and so far I have never heard from him. [...] Today I am part of the group of peace pedagogy of the 57 front and I know that I am closer to achieving my dream of being a teacher. Farianas
More than the numbers, the key concern is to prevent cases of sexual abuse and exploitation, as has happened in other regions of the world (Africa, Bosnia and Haiti, among others). It has been proven that, as the number of women increases in these operations, the number of reports of sexual violence decreases. El Espectador
Digital Magazine PACIFISTA! spoke with Mauricio Morales, a photographer who is with over 300 people displaced from their homes in Alto Baudó, a mostly Afrocolombian community in the department of Chocó. The displacement of last week became known because it involved about 500 people. But if it had been only 50 or 10 ... Would I be here? Would we haven known about it? PACIFISTA!
When I moved from the Criminal Chamber of the Medellin Tribunal to the Chamber for Justice and Peace, I had a very different vision of paramilitarism. I held to the idea that this phenomenon was dysfunctional to the State, to the political regime. And yet when I came here to the Chamber for Justice and Peace, I discovered that there were very close links between those armed groups and the public authorities, that is the State. We have stated this in several judgments, based on an analysis of the evidence. PACIFISTA!
"The last thing a resident told us was that one of the paramilitaries who entered Domingodó was frantically looking for people in some houses. It's known is that the Gaitanistas took a villager, who was released a few minutes later," a member of a social organization told Espectador, asking to remain anonymous. El Espectador
The forced displacement of nearly 400 people from a community in North West Colombia by a paramilitary group is tragic evidence that the armed conflict is far from over, said Amnesty International. Over the weekend, some 200 armed men identified as members of paramilitary group the Gaitanista Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia, AGC) entered the town of Peña Azul, Alto Baudó, Chocó, in North Western Colombia. Amnesty International
The greatest threat to Colombia’s peace deal doesn’t come from the Left, but from right-wing paramilitaries. Should the paramilitaries continue unchecked, they will destroy this chance at peace and unleash a wave of terror such as has not been seen in Colombia for many years. If the current government is serious about building a more inclusive, equal, and democratic Colombia it is vital that they address this problem quickly — or they will live to regret their mistake. Jacobin
"So we should ask ourselves today what is the real future of the minors who leave the ranks? Where do those without families go or those whose parents are around the camps? What opportunities have been created for them? Where are the country schools?
"These days, in the cities I've been hearing words like the children should come back so they can become doctors, teachers, or whatever they want to be, to play, to do what a child, a girl, a teenager should be doing. But if there's no food, no games, no study and dreams land in opposite realities, where drugs, prostitution, poverty and hunger remain part of the alternatives to survive." 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
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.
According to these new polls, accusations of corruption have stuck against president Juan Manuel Santos: 66% of Colombian voters have an unfavorable view of him. And 51% think he is corrupt. Colombia Peace Report
As he announced the new Secretary General of the Presidency, Alfonso Prada, President Juan Manuel Santos criticized the way in which the opposition party Democratic Center is using "misinformation" and produced a letter they are allegedly using in attempts to erode support for the US-sponsored Plan Paz Colombia. Caracol Radio
After two days of work between the National Government and the FARC-EP, in the framework of the Commission for Monitoring, Promotion, and Verification of the Implementation of the Peace Agreement (CSIVI Spanish acronym), the first 100 days of implementation were evaluated, difficulties were identified and decisions were taken in the following issues. FARC-EP.
In this sense, the peace agreement can be interpreted as an opportunity to transform the country, starting from the periphery. Our peace, the one made in Colombia, will be territorial or it will not be. Luis Fernando Múnera C., S.J. Dean of Political Sciences and International Relations, La Javeriana."El Espectador
"FARC served every purpose: To cover corruption, to say that they were the stone in our shoe stopping us from overcoming backwardness and poverty, and thus justify excessive military expenditures (the highest in the continent) and which in great part ended up in the pockets of the military high command and officials of the defense portfolio; to install narco-paramilitary neoliberal presidents under the fallacy that killing guerrillas solved the country's problems; to keep the people deceived into believing that through war Colombia would arise towards development, for this and for the other, etc, etc, etc." Con la Oreja Roja
National Army commander General Alberto Jose Mejia has every reason to avoid pesky reporters and their irritating questions. He is possibly the most criticized public official in Colombia after President Juan Manuel Santos as in some areas the country’s largest terrorist group embarrassingly proved better at maintaining public security than the security forces. Adriaan Alsema, Colombia Reports
In addition to these concerns, the Trump administration’s plans to cut spending on diplomatic efforts could have an impact on important initiatives and U.S. relations across the hemisphere, such as U.S.-Mexico cooperation on a number of bilateral issues, and the development of a lasting peace in Colombia. WOLA
Sweden has signed a defence cooperation deal with Colombia, hoping to export Gripen fighter jets to the South American nation. Colombian senator and human-rights activist Iván Cepeda said contributing to increasing Colombia's weapons arsenal is the worst thing Sweden could do. Defence World.Net
According to the report, there have been constant delays and major shortages of supplies, both in the volume of foodstuffs and the number of people they are supposed to feed. This is nothing new and has already been denounced, it says. FARC now owes around 13 million Colombian pesos in Caldono. The note says other camps face similar situations. There are currently over 7,000 FARC fighters in 26 camps across Colombia. ¡Pacifista!
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
According to these new polls, accusations of corruption have stuck against president Juan Manuel Santos: 66% of Colombian voters have an unfavorable view of him. And 51% think he is corrupt. Colombia Peace Report
Hoy desde Cauca les digo a los violentos: NO vamos a permitir que atemoricen a nuestros líderes sociales y defensores de Derechos Humanos Today, from Cauca I'm speaking to those who promote violence. We will not allow that they frighten our social leaders and human rights defenders
"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.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has met FARC's top leader Rodrigo Londoño to follow up on the implementation of the peace agreement between both sides. The Sunday meeting took place in the department of Bolivar. Santos said on Twitter they discussed crucial topics such as the disarmament process and the reincorporation of FARC guerrilla members into society. The Financial Express
100 days after the implementation of the peace agreement between the FARC-EP National Government, an expanded meeting of the Monitoring, Impulse, and Verification Commission (Csivi) will be held in Cartagena tasked with reviewing thoroughly the different points prioritized for implementation", the parties said in a joint statement. Milenio.com
Timochenko, said that in coming days 60 delegates will leave the transitional camps and begin to establish relations with people and political forces. [...] Timochenko also said that an additional 10 people will be involved in the same areas. The signed peace agreement states that FARC must submit the list of the 60 people to the government. They will not be able to wear uniforms or carry weapons. Caracol Radio
The Colombian government said on Friday that members of FARC guerrillas will soon deliver some 14,000 weapons to the United Nations, in compliance with the peace agreement signed in November. "About 11,000 of them are rifles." In compliance with the peace agreement, FARC's nearly 7,000 members have been concentrated for almost a month in 26 locations throughout the country. By the end of May, the process of turning in the weapons must have ended and that of reincorporation to civilian life begun. El Colombiano
olombian lawyer Humberto de la Calle said that implementing the peace agreements signed with the FARC-EP will be a long way due to the complexity of the reincorporation phase, Caracol Radio reported today. The country must understand the scope of the process aimed at reincorporating into society the former combatants, stressed the former head of the government's delegation in the dialogues with that guerrilla organization, held in Cuba and which lasted almost four years.
That process, he added, is far more important than a pact; having silenced arms (with the bilateral cease-fire) is a fundamental achievement for Colombia, but the work and discussion are not over. Prensa Latina
Three days ago 700 FARC men and women militias finished arriving at the 19 zones and seven camps where the guerrilla is in process of laying down their weapons. Those are the militias whose mission was being very close to the transitional zones and they had short weapons. As to the rest -- and they are the majority according to an assessment by General Javier Flórez, head of the Strategic Command of the Armed Forces -- they are over 6 thousand and will also have to go to the area and identify as militias so they can be registered. Someone close to La Silla said that to expect every one of them to arrive to the area is, "a leap of faith..." La Silla Vacía
For El Avispero, working on peacebuilding means demonstrating that it is possible to build a collective feeling around social transformation and being part of something. This is one of the missing spaces of citizen mobilisation that El Avispero tries to fulfil, the space where the dreamers and the doers may find their home to change the world. ReliefWeb
The Government said on Monday that the only problems in building the camps to house 7,000 demobilized FARC guerrillas stem from attempts to depart from what was agreed regarding building materials. Carlos Córdoba, who manages the transitional zones, said: "if people want roads, or to change the materials for the tiles, that's not in the agreement and that requires additional resources, when a solution is already on the field". El Espectador
Most of the fighters interviewed said they planned to remain with the FARC, which they saw as their family now, following it into whatever political incarnation it takes in the coming years. “There was no way out where I was from,” said Yackeline, 32, a fighter who ran away to a rebel camp when she was 13 because she says it was the only place that she could receive an education.
She had not contacted her family, but she said she would. She was taking little steps, one at a time, each adjustment to a life after the conflict coming with surprises. “We wake up on mattresses tired, like we haven’t slept,” she said. “We are just not used to them.” New York Times
A “trust, but verify” approach starts with patience. Rather than giving political leaders a quick but evanescent “win” for next year’s press release, the new strategy promises to lock in permanent reductions in coca cultivation. And in its remaining year and a half, the Santos government must prove through actions that it is seizing the historic opportunity that the FARC peace accord provides. Colombia Peace
The latest report from the International Narcotics Control Board (INCF) of UNDOC points to a marked increase in coca cultivation in the region. ¡PACIFISTA! visit the depths of the biggest coca-growing region in Colombia.
The coca leaf is collected every 3 months, whereas as alternatives such as cocao, banana or coconut is harvested annually. Furthermore, with coca, the revenues are four-fold. From his two hectares, Don José harvests 12 kilos of leaves that sell for 2 million pesos ($680 US) per kilo. He earns about 96 million pesos a year ($32,850 US), of which 40 million pesos are left over as net revenues.
Exponential profits have boosted coca plantations in recent years, despite the considerable amounts invested to combat it. According to the US State Department, Colombia experienced a 42% increase in illegal cultivation from 2014 to 2015. Open Democracy
"According to official figures, eradication policies reduced the spread of coca leaf crops in Colombia from about 180,000 hectares in 2000 to 90,000 in 2002 and to 40,000 in 2010, but aerial spraying was suspended in 2014. There was a new increase, reaching almost 200 thousand in 2016.
Under this scenario, Colombia expects yet another increase in cocaine production, with some 2, 400 tons in 2017, compared to 1,700 in 2016 and 1,200 in 2015. El Universal
Colombia has received billions of dollars in American aid to eradicate the drug trade. But in the coming weeks, the government says, it will begin processing licenses for a small number of companies, including PharmaCielo, under a 2015 law that allows the cultivation of medical marijuana. The New York Times
According to the spokesperson for the Popular Dialogue and Agreement in Guaviare, Armando Fuentes, the $1 million pesos per month the government pays for crop substitution activities and a one-time disbursement of $800,000 pesos for the implementation of self-sustaining projects, are not enough considering the high cost of living in areas where planting coca has been the sole source of income. La Republica