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Colombia News Brief for June 17 – June 30, 2020

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Welcome to LAWG’s Colombia News Brief, a compilation of top articles and reports on issues of peace, justice, human rights, and more in Colombia.


Source: David Ospina/Flickr


Black Lives Matter comes to Colombia
Sanoja Bhaumik, The Bogotá Post, June 23, 2020
“Bogotá saw a major Black Lives Matter protest on June 3, when various groups gathered in front of the U.S. Embassy to protest police brutality and the deaths of black people transnationally. One group burned a U.S. flag; others carried signs with slogans such as “ACAB, #BlackLivesMatter,” “Justicia para George Floyd,” and “Anderson No Murió, Anderson Lo Mataron.”

Estos son los líderes asesinados desde la firma del Acuerdo de Paz
Marcela Osorio, El Espectador, 13 de junio de 2020
“Esta es la lista de 442 personas que lideraban procesos comunitarios o defendían los derechos humanos, que fueron asesinadas después del 24 de noviembre de 2016. La información, suministrada por Somos Defensores, está actualizada hasta marzo de 2020”.

Three Years After the Signing of the final Agreement in Colombia: Moving Toward Territorial Transformation
KROC Institute for International Peace Studies, 2020
The KROC Institute for International Peace Studies published a yearly report that details how the 2016 peace accords are being implemented and applied in Colombia. Read the summary in English and the full report in Spanish.


Colombia planned well for the pandemic. The region is reeling.
David Ignatius, The Washington Post, June 22, 2020
“‘This pandemic could have been better managed by all of us if we had better multilateral coordination when the problem first started,’ Duque said in a telephone interview Wednesday from Bogota. Countries in Latin America that resisted ‘draconian measures’ like those taken in Colombia, hoping to protect their economies, have been hit hardest, he said.”

Colombia’s coronavirus aid used to pay back election contributions?
Adriaan Alsema, Colombia Reports, June 18, 2020
“Colombia’s Inspector General said Tuesday he was investigating how  $12.5 million (COP47 billion) in coronavirus aid funds ended up in the pockets of election campaigns sponsors. The granting of government contracts to campaign contributors is common practice in Colombia, allegedly even during a national emergency, Inspector General Fernando Carrillo said indignantly.”

What Colombia’s Record Says About COVID-19 Testing
Luis Guillermo Plata, America’s Quarterly, June 17, 2020
“First and foremost, that means a widespread – but targeted – use of testing capacity. One of the first challenges we faced in dealing with the pandemic was increasing our ability to measure the scale of the virus’ spread. By upgrading regional laboratories, and purchasing machinery capable of extracting the genetic material needed to perform tests, we were able to increase testing from as few as 1,000 per day to 12,000-14,000 in relatively short order.”


Renta básica a exguerrilleros de las Farc, el motor que permitió que dejaran las armas
Laura Dulce Romero, El Espectador, 30 de junio de 2020
“En medio de ese panorama, la discusión para que se apruebe la renta básica, es decir, una asignación monetaria mensual pagada por el Estado, ha tomado una mayor relevancia. En Colombia parece ser un debate nuevo, pero hay ejemplos que podrían dar luces de cómo funcionaría. Uno de ellos está relacionado con el acuerdo de paz y los excombatientes de las Farc.”

US: $10 Million Each for Arrests of 2 Colombian Rebel Chiefs
Associated Press, June 18, 2020
“The United States is offering rewards of up to $10 million each for the arrests of two prominent Colombian rebels who were key figures in the nation’s historic peace process but have since returned to arms. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Department of State offered the prize Thursday for help in bringing Luciano Marín, alias Iván Márquez, and Seuxis Hernández, alias Jesús Santrich, to justice.”

US monitors urge Colombia to accelerate slowed down peace process
Adriaan Alsema, Colombia Reports, June 17, 2020
“The Kroc Institute of the US University of Notre Dame has quantified the level of progress of the implementation of a 2016 peace deal with now-demobilized FARC rebels. In their latest report, the researchers concluded that the implementation has slowed down over the past year as “with many short-term stipulations already completed, implementation shifted in 2019 towards the medium- and long-term  commitments, especially those focused on the territories most affected by the armed conflict.”


Investigan si líder social que murió en Teorama pertenecía al ELN
Semana, 29 de junio de 2020
“El general Olveiro Pérez Mahecha, comandante de la Fuerza de Tarea Vulcano, dijo que le entregaron unas fotografías a la Fiscalía para que investigue si el hombre que aparece es estas es el líder social Salvador Jaimes Durán.”

Colombia’s ELN rebels free six more hostages amid peace talks plea
BBC World, June 15, 2020
“Colombia’s largest rebel group, the National Liberation Army (ELN), has released six hostages, including two police officers and four civilians, officials say. The hostages were handed over to members of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in a rural area near the Venezuelan border on Sunday.”


HRW cuestiona a la Comisión de Excelencia Militar tras caso de menor en Guaviare
Semana, 30 de junio de 2020
“El director de esa ONG, José Miguel Vivanco, condenó la presunta violación de la adolescente indígena por parte de militares y señaló que en noviembre del año pasado, la comisión debía entregar un informe sobre las actuaciones de la fuerza pública.”

Colombian women protest against rising femicide
Alessandro Rampietti, Al Jazeera, June 28, 2020
“Violence against women in Colombia is worsening under coronavirus lockdowns.The killings of a woman and her daughter have led many to take to the streets of the capital, Bogota. But, those murders were just the latest in a long list of crimes.”

Fury in Colombia as soldiers admit rape of 13-year-old indigenous girl
Joe Parkin Daniels, The Guardian, June 26, 2020
“On Thursday, seven soldiers confessed to raping the child from the indigenous Emberá tribe, who went missing from her rural reserve in northern Colombia on Sunday. She was found the next day at a nearby school. News of the horrific crime shocked much of the South American nation, which has long reckoned with violence against indigenous women and girls.”

Armed Groups in Colombia Target Children Amid Pandemic
Lara Loaiza, InSight Crime, June 22, 2020
“Irregular armed groups in Colombia have ramped up their recruiting of poor young people, who find themselves even more vulnerable with schools shut down indefinitely to avoid the spread of the coronavirus.”

Colombia’s social leaders are still being killed during the quarantine
Danelly Estupiñán, Amnesty International, June 22, 2020
“There has been no reduction in the systematic violence we face, despite the pandemic. More than 100 social leaders and human rights defenders have been killed in Colombia so far in 2020, at least 28 of them since the 25 March decree imposing a mandatory quarantine to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”


Colombians Question Deployment of U.S. Security Forces
Thomas Power, NACLA, June 30, 2020
“Colombian soldiers and military brass have been implicated in a string of human rights violations in recent weeks. On May 1, Semana magazine reported that Colombian military illegally used U.S. military aid to spy on journalists and human rights defenders, including U.S. citizens. On June 4, Colombian armed forces carried out forced eradication of illicit crops, and injured six farmers. On June 25, seven soldiers confessed to gang raping a 13-year-old Emberá girl in Northern Colombia.”

UN: Less land in Colombia devoted to growing coca in 2019
Christine Armario, The Washington Post, June 17, 2020
“The amount of land devoted to growing the plant used to make cocaine dropped in Colombia last year as the military embarked on a campaign to pull out thousands of the coca shrubs that have stood as a stubborn thorn in the nation’s history. That’s according to a new report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime released Wednesday that found the total area devoted to growing coca crops dropped 9% in 2019 to 154,000 hectares (380,500 acres).”


Venezuelans returning home after Colombia economic lockdown
Teresa Bo, Al Jazeera, June 28, 2020
“Venezuelans who fled an economic collapse in their country have begun returning home as neighbouring Colombia restricts economic activity to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The decision has left many migrants without money, making it difficult to buy food or pay rent.”

COVID-19’s double dangers for Venezuelan women in Colombia
Marta Martinez, The New Humanitarian, June 19, 2020
“Gabriela and other Venezuelan women who continue to live in Colombia are up against not only a tough economy brought on by COVID-19 restrictions; they are also facing upticks in domestic violence and new risks of sexual exploitation and abuse. Hard times have led some Venezuelans to leave, despite travel restrictions to contain the spread of COVID-19.”