BOGOTÁ, Colombia — Colombia’s once-feared largest rebel group, which signed a peace deal with the government, has suspended all campaigns in upcoming congressional and presidential elections, sullying an electoral cycle that was supposed to be a celebration of the group’s move into the political arena, without its rifles. The leftist organization, which signed the deal in 2016, said there were “a lack of guarantees to realize political activity in the country,” after a spate of attacks against their wartime leader and current presidential candidate, Rodrigo Londoño. The group said the suspension of campaigning was temporary but did not indicate when, or if, it might resume.
The United Nations mission charged with monitoring the peace process reported last month that 36 members of the group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, have been killed since the peace deal’s implementation. Mr. Londoño, better known by his nom de guerre “Timochenko,” was twice attacked on the campaign trail within a week by protesters who pelted his motorcade with rocks, on one occasion practically destroying his armored SUV. Joe Parkin Daniels, The New York Times
Five decades of war drove millions of Colombians to seek a precarious safety in informal settlements, but now some are getting title to their homes. [...]Nueva Esperanza became the first informal settlement to be legalized in the Putumayo region. In August, 160 families received title to their land and another 106 are in the process of receiving theirs. Michelle Begue reporting from Nueva Esperanza, Relief Web
"Colombia has set the goal of completing demining efforts by 2021. While the challenge is considerable, the signing of a final peace agreement between the government and the FARC in November 2016 has opened up space for innovation in humanitarian demining, from the introduction of new methods (such as the use of demining rats) to new partnerships, such as that with Brazil, through which Brazilian Marines train Colombian personnel in demining. Most notably, Colombia has an unique military brigade dedicated to demining–the Brigada de Ingenieros de Desminado del Ejército, which works along a specialized Navy unit eight and around nine civilian demining organizations. Although area that are still affected by conflict (including with the second largest Marxist guerrilla group, the Ejército de Liberación Nacional – ELN) are still off limits to humanitarian demining initiatives, these innovations can be considered a source of inspiration for incorporating humanitarian demining into peace processes in Colombia and beyond." Adriana Erthal Abdenur is a fellow at Instituto Igarapé -- ReliefWeb
But for all the speculation among scholars about the FARC's transition from armed rebellion to political party—my own included—the end of the conflict remains uncertain. Colombia's violence was never just about the FARC, and peace won't be either. Fabio Andrés Díaz, Pacific Standard
BOGOTA, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations Mission in Colombia on Friday confirmed it has destroyed the arsenal that once belonged to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla group. The 8,994 pieces of weapons the rebels handed over as part of their peace agreement with the government are to be melted down to make three monuments to peace to be installed in Colombia, UN headquarters in New York, and Cuba, which hosted the negotiations. XinhuaNet
"We’re here everyday, fighting to stay alive,” Ipuana said, sifting through piles of trash strewn across the desert floor. She is able to sell one kilo of plastic for 500 Colombian pesos, approximately $0.18. “We haven’t seen a decent rain shower in years and our children are dying,” she said. Official figures suggest that at least 193 indigenous children aged under 5 died in the province due to malnutrition between 2013 and 2017. Local NGOs and Wayuu leaders say the number is likely much higher. Joe Parkin Daniels. Devex
BOGOTA (Reuters) - Thirteen people, including civilians, were killed during a confrontation between Colombia’s ELN rebels and dissidents from the now-demobilized FARC guerrilla group in a remote area known for drug trafficking, the country’s ombudsman said on Tuesday.
The incident took place on Nov. 27 in the southwestern Narino region, a place where crime gangs and rebel groups are known to grow, process and smuggle coca, the base ingredient in cocaine. Reuters
According to the Resource Center For Analysis of Conflicts (CERAC), if it weren't for the peace agreement signed a year ago at the Teatro Colón, about 556 families of humble soldiers would be crying over the graves of their loved ones, and the children of more than 1,500 guerrillas would have been added to the list of orphans of what would already be the longest war in the world. Having saved the lives of almost 3,000 Colombians who were condemned to die should be a moral argument strong enough for all political parties, those on the right, those on the left and those in the center, to shed their egos and defend a peace agreement that successfully ended a war. However, one year after the signing of the peace agreement, the political environment is so polluted that even a stubbornly truthful fact -- recognized by the whole world -- as the disarmament of FARC, is being denied with astonishing ease by a horde of politicians who have turned the peace agreements into the antichrist. María Jimena Duzán, Semana
Big leaps towards lasting peace in Colombia on various fronts. Authorities make progress with the Clan del Golfo, a draft law that constitutionally prohibits paramilitarism is approved, the ELN declared a historic ceasefire and the FARC held their first congress as a political party. Veronika Hoelker, Bogota Post.