For communities affected by Colombia’s armed conflict—particularly indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities on the Pacific coast—the results of the June 17 presidential election could result in a major setback in the implementation of the peace deal’s Ethnic Chapter.
Nowadays there are different kinds of problems: Coffee prices go up and down, markets are fickle. But the armed conflict that once engulfed parts of the Sierra Nevada — and overshadowed commerce, politics, culture and pretty much everything else in Colombia for 50 years, killing more than 220,000 — has nearly ground to a halt. The FARC — an acronym for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, one of Latin America’s oldest Marxist guerrilla movements — have negotiated a peace agreement and formally disarmed. Anne Applebaum, The Washington Post
Nearly one year after the Colombian government and the rebel group FARC signed a historic peace accord, the fulfillment of nearly half its commitments is underway, according to a report issued Nov. 16 (Wednesday) by the University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.
Since ending Latin America’s longest shooting war, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has been feted around the globe, winning the Nobel Peace Prize and fancy honorary degrees from the likes of the Sorbonne and his alma mater the University of Kansas. With such a well-burnished trophy wall, you might expect Santos to be gliding into retirement or some statesman’s sinecure. That’s not the way things are turning out. Instead, the peace accord that Santos finally bagged last year has been plagued with trouble and setbacks.Bloomberg
One of the most prominent rebels from Colombia's long conflict has joined his country's reconciliation effort even though he is locked up in a maximum-security prison in Colorado with little immediate prospect of being able to return home, where thousands of other former combatants will earn pardons for similar war crimes. Two Colombian officials said diplomats met with Ricardo Palmera at the U.S. government's highest-security prison last week and he agreed to cooperate with a key component of the peace plan: special peace tribunals set up to seek justice for millions of victims of Colombia's half-century conflict. ABC News
Despite these obstacles and threats, the hard-won peace is holding in Colombia. There is a recognition of the toll a half-century of war took on this country, and Venezuela’s misery looms as a cautionary tale. I recently visited Colombia in my capacity as president of Lutheran World Relief, an American international development organization, and the most hopeful signs I saw were the steps being taken by local leaders, including politicians, business people and representatives of civil society, to promote a “peace dividend” of stability, transparent investment and economic growth that includes all. Daniel Speckhard, The Hill
"Fair laws are needed that can guarantee that harmony and help overcome the conflicts that have torn this Nation for decades -- laws that are not born from the pragmatic requirement of bringing order to society but from the desire to solve the structural causes of poverty that generate exclusion and violence." El Espectador
(RTTNews) - Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos expressed concern about the situation in Venezuela amid fears that an "implosion" in the neighboring country could affect the peace process involving the Colombian government and former guerrilla groups.
"If there is an implosion in Venezuela, it is not that we are going to receive a half a million people, which is what we have already received. It would be millions, and that will be a tremendous problem for the peace process and Colombia as a whole," Santos warned in remarks prepared for the Chatham House's annual prize on international affairs ceremony in London. Business Insider
I would go further and say that the bilateral relationship has reached its worst moment since the government of Ernesto Samper. It’s not as serious as 1998—nobody’s going to revoke the visa of any top government official—but after almost 19 years of hardly any U.S. public criticism of Colombia, today there is a steady stream of scoldings, expressions of impatience, and of public distancing from the peace policy. The disagreements have ideological roots: a hard-line government has come to power in Washington, one very much in tune with the Colombian right. But the hostile tone comes from the President himself, who is also disrespecting allies elsewhere around the world, from NATO to Australia to Mexico. Full interview in English: adamisacson.com; in Spanish, El Espectador
United Nations Assistant Secretary-General of Human Rights Andrew Gilmour lamented the state of Colombia’s program to integrate communist terrorists into civilian society on Friday, warning that, if the plan fails, the terrorists have a “strong chance” of going “back to something worse.”
Other FARC terrorists have simply refused to enter the peace process entirely. The government refers to these as “dissidents.” While the government insists only about 6 percent of FARC terrorists are defecting, an independent study by the InSight Crime group found that the real number of “dissidents” may be double that. Breitbart