Lisa Haugaard

Colombia: On to the Future or Back to the Past? Extrajudicial Executions and Peace Talks

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Two crucial events just happened in Colombia. One gives hope for the future. The other sheds light upon the dark recesses of the recent past.

On June 10, 2014, the Santos Administration announced that it has been advancing in preliminary peace discussions with the ELN guerrillas, the last major guerrilla group after the FARC. The FARC and the Colombian government have reached the halfway mark in their negotiations. Now, this announcement that the ELN and the government will negotiate brings a real peace that much closer.

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The United States, the Colombian Elections and Peace

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This blog originally appeared in El Espectador. Click here to read the original posting in Spanish. 

U.S. policymakers perceive the U.S. relationship with Colombia as a strong partnership that endures despite transitions in power. But that does not mean there are no private preferences.

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Colombia: Peace and Drugs

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This blog originally appeared on Huffington Post. Click here to read the original posting.

fumigation-1The peace process between the Colombian government and the FARC-EP guerrillas reached the halfway mark on May 16th, 2014 with a ground-breaking agreement on how to treat drug production and trafficking. This is the first peace process in history with a “drug policy” chapter.

The two parties have already agreed upon rural development and land reform as well as expanding political participation. The Gordian knots of justice, truth and victims’ rights remain ahead, along with how to demobilize and reintegrate combatants. But the peace process to end the longest-running war in the Western Hemisphere has shown resilience and with this third agreement, gains momentum.
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Peace Is More than Silencing Guns: Human Rights and Colombia’s Peace Process

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This post first appeared on USIP’s Olive Branch blog. It was written by Virginia M. Bouvier of USIP, Lisa Haugaard of LAWG, and Moira Birss of PBI. Click here to view the original post.

Peace is more than just silencing guns. That was the upshot when Colombian human rights defenders gathered at USIP recently to discuss the ongoing peace process between the FARC guerrillas and Colombia’s government and how the talks can advance justice in the aftermath of a deal. Days later, in a development unrelated to the gathering, the Colombian government took a step in that direction.

The event at USIP, the latest in a series called the Colombia Peace Forum, was co-sponsored by the Latin America Working Group Education Fund and Peace Brigades International. It convened some 50 policymakers from across the U.S. government and other interested parties to discuss the link between human rights and the peace process.

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Corruption, Human Rights Scandal Rocks the Colombian Armed Forces

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Colombia’s Semana magazine revealed in February a massive corruption scandal involving the top ranks of Colombia’s armed forces.  Officials were skimming up to 50 percent off of lucrative military contracts.  “Give us 5 billion [pesos] and give the other companies 3.  If we are all eating, no one will pick a fight,”   said one colonel. 

Top military commanders, as well as personally benefitting from this corruption, were steering contracts to officers and soldiers under investigation and detained in military garrisons for involvement in extrajudicial executions. According to Semana, “this was a system to buy their silence and ensure that they did not implicate higher-level officials in the sadly famous practice of false positives.”

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