Over 4,000 FARC members will train in solidarity economy, confirmed the Minister of Labor, Griselda Janeth Restrepo Gallego, in a conversation with Caracol's Radio Diálogo 6AM Hoy por Hoy. He said that a total of 110 officials from the Unidad de Organizaciones Solidarias will go to the Territorial Spaces for Training and Reincorporation to provide training in solidarity economics to FARC members. Caracol Radio
Jesus Adan Mazo, or “Molina,” has been killed after being attacked and shot by a group of armed men in the town of Ituango, near a FARC concentration zone. Mazo — whose involvement in the peace process between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia was pivotal to the signing of the peace agreement — was shot at 1:00 am Monday morning while residing in a house near the Santa Lucia school in Antioquia. The demobilization of the FARC has led to the infiltration of right-wing paramilitaries in the void left in rural Colombia. Due to this, the numbers of displaced people has grown. TeleSur
When Vice President Mike Pence arrives in Colombia next week, he will find a country no longer celebrating its widely touted success story of rising from a near-failed state under the thumb of narco-terrorists to a secure, confident, and vibrant democracy. Instead, he will find a nation unnerved by a controversial peace process initiated by an unpopular president and dispirited about its future ahead of elections next year. Moreover, storm clouds are brewing on the U.S.-Colombia bilateral front, a prospect unthinkable in recent years. But that is where we are, thanks to the Obama administration’s meek acquiescence to President Juan Manuel Santos’s decision to change Colombia’s long-standing coca eradication policies, with disastrous results. Foreign Policy
The United States’ Vice President Mike Pence arrived in Colombia trying to unnerve tensions about possible US military intervention in an ongoing crisis in neighboring Venezuela. Pence arrived in the coastal city of Cartagena, just days after Trump had said the US considers military intervention in Venezuela, Colombia’s neighbor to the east. Colombia and a number of other traditional allies of the US in the region rejected the possibility of military intervention and have insisted on dialogue and diplomatic action. Adriaan Alsema, Colombia Reports
The growth of science partnerships over the past decade has been “very significant”, according to Paul van Gardingen, deputy pro vice-chancellor (international and development research) at the University of Leicester, who said that the Bogotá government of President Juan Manuel Santos was “passionate about the role of higher education, research and science”. The 2016 agreement to set up the £20 million joint Colombia bioeconomy research programme is just one example of what is happening. Times Higher Education
Still, factors are threatening to delay demobilization. One of them is the important issue of land reform. Though the main cause of the conflict was the concentration of land ownership in the hands of the Colombian elite, President Santos has pushed that conversation into the future. A resolution may not even be possible as long as the Colombian government remains committed to an extractivist economic model benefitting the private mining and energy sectors. For Santos, a key benefit of peace is to get the FARC out of the way of multinational corporations that want to exploit Colombia’s natural resources in the countryside. Global Research
Demobilized fighters from Colombia's leftist FARC rebels want to form a professional league football club, officials said Friday. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia have disarmed under a peace deal after a half-century conflict and are transitioning to civil and political life. "We received about 10 days ago an official message... from the FARC, who want to talk with the Colombian football authorities about taking part in the professional game," Jorge Perdomo, president of Colombian football's organizing body Dimayor said on Blu Radio. He said the FARC had asked if it could enter the men's second division and the women's leagues. Digital Journal
In Colombia, the military killed thousands of random people to boost its body count. The crimes are the basis of controversial discussion as the Constitutional Court decides how the transitional justice system will work. Deutsche Welle
Native Colombians have denounced violations of their rights, including land theft by armed groups and multinational corporations, despite the peace agreement that ended the conflict with the guerrillas of FARC. "Indigenous territories today continue to be disputed by paramilitary groups, the ELN, military forces, FARC dissident groups, drug traffickers, multinational corporations," said Luis Fernando Arias, senior advisor to the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC) ). At a ceremony in Bogotá, Arias stressed that "the horrible night for indigenous peoples has not stopped," despite the signing in November of the peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which was the continent's largest guerrilla organization. El Comercio
From WOLA [...] Nonetheless, our trip to Briceño illustrated the tremendous challenges that the government and the FARC face as they move forward with implementing the peace accord and in particular, the coca substitution program. [...] One significant development was the construction of a bridge that eliminates the need to drive through a river on the drive from the town of Briceño to the small hamlet of Pueblo Nuevo – though it’s still far from a smooth ride to even get to the new bridge. There is also a brand-new and well-equipped library in Pueblo Nuevo, as well as some improvements planned for a few local schools. [...] But as the cash was being doled out, no technical assistance was evident. There was surprisingly little discussion of what products could quickly replace the income generated by coca. WOLA
In 2016, conflict and violence forced 171,000 people to flee their homes in Colombia, according to the report of the International Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC), published in June 2017. The report states that despite the historic peace agreements, it is not still not possible to speak of the definitive end of the armed conflict in Colombia, and consequently it is not possible to speak of the end of forced displacement. Clashes over territorial control between other non-state armed parties, such as the ELN, the PLA, and organized armed groups, continue to cause displacement. OCHA Boletín Humanitario Mensual Colombia
With a year left on his term, the Colombian president has international recognition for the peace agreement with FARC, but in Colombia he does not have as much popular support. [...] Santos set himself the goal of modernizing Colombia and achieving peace with the country's largest guerrilla organization was a fundamental requirement for that. But the effort and the time it took to finalize the agreement left a lot of unfinished business, although despite the complaints, it is undeniable for political scientists that a lot of progress was made for existing problems in the areas of health, education and infrastructure. Deutsche Welle Actualidad
In the category “Defender of the Year”, Enrique Chimonja from the Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission, Adriana Arboleda from the Corporation for Judicial Freedom (CJL), Caroline Rubio from the Foundation Committee in Solidarity with Political Prisoners(FCSPP) and Jorge Molano from the association DH Colombia have been nominated. Also, in the category “Collective Experience” the Campesino Association form the Cimitarra River Valley (ACVC), the Regional Corporation for the Defense of Human Rights (CREDHOS), the Corporation for Judicial Freedom (CJL) and the Self-determination, Life and Dignity Community (CAVIDA), have been nominated. PBIColombia
Despite the 2016 peace agreement, Colombia is witnessing increased numbers of displacement due to ongoing intense clashes. “Colombia sailed on the hope of the peace negotiations for four years, but that boat has for many people living in conflict zones docked. We can’t ignore the problem any longer,” said Christian Visnes, Country Director for the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in Colombia. Norwegian Refugee Council.
"A very important step in the implementation of the peace agreement took place this Friday. This will help build trust and hope. I say this because in many regions, like the Pacific, one finds that people do not believe. The reason? Because the reality that they live is the same as before. Of course, some things have improved, but others have gotten worse and that's why they have a hard time believing that their situation will change". Semana
"Colombia’s embrace of peace is a bright spot in a region plagued by violence. Successful reintegration can increase public trust in the peace process, offering lessons for the world on how to manage post-conflict problems. The coming months will tell whether victims and those who made war can turn a new page in the country’s history." The New York Times
FARC leader Gloria Martínez was detained as she was traveling to Cucuta to present an academic paper on women and gender. She is also a member of the national team of Pedagogy of Peace and was head of the Monitoring and Verification Mechanism of Bucaramanga, according to Timochenko. The group that she belongs to, Mujeres Farianas, asked the United Nations to demand that the Colombian government comply with the peace agreement.TeleSur
Analysis of the impact of the different armed grupos across the different regions of Colombia, including those that are in the process of formation and which have gained visibility with the gradual dismantling of the FARC. Also, recommendations to address them. Download the full report HERE. Informe de Fundación Ideas para la Paz
"The peace agreement includes 122 measures to recognize the differential impact of women in Colombia's armed conflict and 19 to recognize the LGBTI population. [...] Today, the mentions of gender and LGBTI communities in the agreements have increased quantitatively. However, because of the manipulation of some sectors, many congressmen are afraid to put the word gender in the agreements fearing they may create some problems with some people. LBGTI activist Marcela Sánchez as interviewed by Pacifista!.
The peace process between the Colombian government and the FARC-EP guerrilla has provided a unique opportunity not only to reunite a society torn apart by conflict, but also to build a more just peace that responds to the needs and rights of both men and women. The establishment of the Sub-commission on Gender as part of the formal peace architecture has turned out to be an effective instrument for gender inclusion in the peace process. [...] Experiences from Colombia offer valuable insights for other peace processes on opportunities for and challenges affecting inclusion. ETH Zürich
A few days ago a commission of the Association of Displaced Afro-Colombians (Afrodes) visited the US capitol in Washington (United States) to speak about the critical situation that Colombia as dozens of human rights defenders have been killed in recent months. On July 20, they spoke to various US congresspeople. One of the participants in the event was the president of Afrodes, Marino Cordoba Berrio, whose 21-year-old son Wilmar Cordoba was slain on October 24, 2016. The crime took place after Córdoba Berrio received multiple threats for his role as a defender of human rights. El Espectador
Colombia has some of the most biodiverse forests on Earth, and many still haven’t been fully explored because of the decades-long turmoil. “There are species and forests being preserved,” says University of Queensland in Brisbane, Pabloe Negret Torres. “But a peace where we are able to prioritise places important for conservation would be the best.” New Scientist
Support amongst Colombians for the peace process with FARC increased last month perhaps as a result of events like the abandonment of weapons and the imminent return of ex-combatants to civilian life. According to a Pulso País Datexco Poll, the belief that peace can grow in Colombia increased from a confidence margin of 46.7 percent in May to 52.8 percent in July. El Tiempo
#VocesDeLaReconciliación is a space where you can listen the voices of those engaged in the constant search for a reconciled nation in peace. Sponsored by the Centro de Memoria Paz y Reconciliación. Webcast every Thursday at 5:30PM. CentroMemoria.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is considering a seasoned diplomat to be his next envoy to Latin America, according to sources. William Brownfield, a career diplomat who currently leads the State Department’s law enforcement and anti-narcotics efforts [...] The assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere affairs, covering Latin America and Canada, could play an outsized role in U.S. foreign policy given the Donald Trump administration’s fixation on immigration issues stemming from Latin America, trade deals with its closest neighbors, and the unraveling crisis in Venezuela. Brownfield is also already well-known in Latin America, having served as U.S. ambassador to Chile, Venezuela, and Colombia over the past 15 years, among other positions. Foreign Policy
New York, August 1, 2016--Colombian authorities should swiftly and credibly investigate threats against documentary filmmaker and activist Bladimir Sánchez Espitia and should ensure his safety, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Sánchez told CPJ a man with a gun came looking for him in the early hours of July 30. The man came to a building that Sánchez often visits in a neighborhood on the outskirts of Bogotá at 2:30 a.m., Sánchez told CPJ. The journalist, who was not there at the time, told CPJ that multiple witnesses, including the building's security guard, told him the man had a gun and asked for him by name. The visit was the latest in a series of threats dating back to at least 2012, according to CPJ research.
In the transitional demobilization area of La Elvira, in the Western mountain range near the place where [FARC commander] Alfonso Cano fell, former FARC guerrillas [...] received their degrees as peace builders. Present were Tania, the Dutch guerrilla fighter; Boris, personal security of Alfonso Cano; Anderley Sánchez and Astrid Motoa, with Lucas Carvajal, in charge of the educational activities of the FARC Western Block. One by one they received their diploma. Las2Orillas
Colombia.- Native Colombian women have created a council seeking increased political participation in the peace process in their communities and throughout the country. Indigenous Colombian women consider that they've had to face "armed conflict, psychological violence" and even "conflicts within their homes", said Margarita Rodríguez, a native representative, who recently announced that creation by their organization of a women's peace council. 2do Enfoque
From her blog: Colombia Calls. "Love reading, writing, thinking, and working with people to make the world a better place. Family and friends, yoga, travel, photography, perusing dessert menus keep me sane. Latin American enthusiast. Peace practitioner yearning for justice. Heading up the Colombia program at the U.S. Institute of Peace, but tweets and posts are my own". Virginia M. Bouvier, 1958-2017. Rest in peace, friend. In Memoriam: Virginia "Ginny" Bouvier.
"Once their accounts have been open, these people will be able to receive the support of the State as per the commitments of the Peace Agreement," said the executive, who indicated that Government received an initial list of 6,005 people, of which 5,987 were eligible to be included in the process. El Espectador
"What will happen to over 7,000 FARC weapons? They will be destroyed. Part of the metal obtained will be used to build three monuments -- in Colombia, Cuba and New York -- while a significant amount will be donated to the Humanium-Metal project, promoted by the Swedish Development Partner, which plans to make an official announcement. The final goal is to turn weapons into symbolic objects of various kinds which will be sold as a means to commemorate Colombia's Peace and Reconciliation." El País
Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa, in an interview with 'La W Radio' this Friday, spoke about the peace process with FARC, the situation in Venezuela and his friendship with Gabriel García Márquez. The Peruvian writer said that he finds "hope" in the peace agreement reached with the guerrillas of FARC and that, "what's important now is not to sabotage but to push" the agreement. "I believe that all Colombians want the peace process with FARC to work, that peace actually reigns," adding that although "there has been a lot of criticism of the process," it's key "that there are no setbacks but progress ( ...), since peace is clearly a fundamental need for Colombia." El Tiempo
"With the Trump administration and the Republican Party in power, though, the Cuba issue could drive a wedge between Washington and Bogota. The members of the U.S. Congress who most opposed the FARC negotiations are Cuban-American Republicans who found the talks’ venue outrageous. [...] The main reason is disagreement about how to reduce the country’s fast-growing coca crop. Trump’s new hard line on Cuba, though, could become a further irritant." WOLA's Adam Isaacson, interviewed by World Politics Review
Other than standing in full support for the Peace Process, the Colombia Peace Report is an independent aggregation news site published in New York City. We gather materials in several languages (our headlines and blurbs will be in English linking to the original language) covering the multiple facets of this seemingly impossible and highly complex process in a nation of 65 million people where generation after generation have resolved their personal, social and political differences through violence. And life has had no value. We invite you to send us information via email.