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Colombia News Brief for October 15-21, 2016

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

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Secretary Kerry Speaks With Colombian President Santos 29922997956 2Source: U.S. Department of State

The Politics of Peace

•   Santos merece el Premio Nobel y Uribe el repudio internacional
Juan Carlos Martínez Castro, El Tiempo, 8 de octubre de 2016
“Podrá sonar fuerte pero es la verdad. El Presidente Santos logró después de 4 años de duras negociaciones, acabar con una guerra de más de medio siglo la cual ha dejado miles de muertos, cientos de desplazados y un irrecuperable freno a la economía del país. Y un hecho así de extraordinario debería ser motivo de regocijo y de apoyo popular en una sociedad civilizada.”

•   ¿Tiene salvación el proceso de paz?
Semana, 15 de octubre de 2016
“Los colombianos piden una solución pronta a la crisis desatada por el triunfo del No. SEMANA presenta los tres caminos posibles. No será fácil.”

•   Ambassador: Colombia Strong Enough to Sustain Peace
Rishika Dugyala, United Press International, October 18, 2016
“Colombia’s democracy has remained strong in the aftermath of Colombian voters’ narrow rejection of a peace accord between the government and largest rebel group, the country’s ambassador to the United States said.”

•   Colombia’s Limbo
Matthew Bristow, Bloomberg, October 18, 2016
“In Colombia, only the old can remember the country when it was last at peace. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, have been fighting since 1964 for a Marxist revolution, leading wealthy Colombians to form vigilante groups that outdid the rebels in their savagery.”

•   Colombia Peace Process Could Go ‘From Limbo to Hell’ if New Deal Not Agreed Soon: FARC
Adriaan Alsema, Colombia Reports, October 18, 2016
“Colombia’s largest rebel group, the FARC, warned Monday that a suspended peace process between the group and the government could result in reignited violence if a solution isn’t negotiated soon.”

•   La paz posible
Mario Vargas Llosa, El País, 15 de octubre de 2016
“La victoria del ‘No’ en el referéndum de Colombia no significa que haya que volver a la guerra, sino que es necesario buscar un nuevo acuerdo”

•   Colombia’s Santos to Visit N. Ireland to Study Peace Process
London AFP, October 21, 2016
“Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, will visit Northern Ireland in November to learn about its peace process, the Colombian embassy said on Thursday.”

•   Colombian Rebel Negotiator Warns of Risk of Peace Process Collapse
Latin American Herald Tribune, October 18, 2016
“Ivan Marquez, chief negotiator of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, said he feared the “death” of the peace process in his country during an interview by a Spanish language broadcaster in the United States.”

•   Some Opposition Changes to Colombia Peace Deal ‘Inviable’: President
Reuters, October 21, 2016
“Several modifications to a peace deal with Colombia’s FARC rebels suggested by the country’s opposition are “inviable,” President Juan Manuel Santos said on Thursday, adding he remains committed to salvaging the accord.”

•   “El Gobierno está obligado a renegociar el acuerdo con las FARC”: Ordóñez
El Espectador, 18 de octubre de 2016
“El exprocurador General aseguró que el presidente Juan Manuel Santos debe respetar los resultados del plebiscito.”

•   Chief of UN Mission in Colombia Stresses National Consensus Around Ceasefire
UN Mission in Colombia, 18 de octubre de 2016
“The Special Representative of the Secretary General and Head of the United Nations Mission in Colombia, Jean Arnault, informed the UN Security Council about the recent events in Colombia and implications for the work of the UN Mission.”

•   “No pedimos amnistía, pero sí seguridades judiciales”
Semana, 19 de octubre de 2016
“Así lo manifestó José Jaime Uscátegui, hijo del general Uscátegui, y explicó por qué los familiares de militares presos quieren reunirse con el presidente Santos.”

•   No Way to Negotiate With Narcoterrorists
Alvaro Uribe Velez, Wall Street Journal, October 19, 2016
“All Colombians want peace. Any future deal with FARC, however, must address citizens’ concerns.”

•   Colombia’s Urabeños Seek Inclusion in Peace Process
Mike LaSusa, InSight Crime, October 17, 2016
“One of Colombia’s most powerful criminal organizations is reportedly asking to be included in an ongoing peace process between the government and the country’s main guerrilla group, a decision that may have been influenced by increased pressure from state security forces.”

•   “Manifiesto por la paz” pide defender búsqueda de la verdad en acuerdo con las FARC
El Espectador, 16 de octubre de 2016
“Más de 250 profesores universitarios, antropólogos, economistas, historiadores, estudiantes y organizaciones sociales piden que en lo pactado con la guerrilla las víctimas deben seguir ocupado el lugar central.”

•   Movimientos sociales piden a Santos y a “Timochenko” respetar la justicia transicional
El Espectador, 20 de octubre de 2016
“En la carta abierta que siete organizaciones distintas escribieron señalaron que para ellos el acuerdo en el punto de víctimas permite superar la impunidad y garantiza la verdad y la justicia.”

•   Jóvenes de municipio de Uribe citan a las FARC a vigilia por la paz
El Tiempo, 19 de octubre de 2016
“En Mesetas habrá concentración para exigir la aplicación del acuerdo ya.”

•   Neither at War Nor at Peace, Colombia’s FARC Rebels Watch and Wait
John Otis & Yarí Savannah, TIME, October 17, 2016
“A chastened President Santos is now meeting with opposition politicians who want tougher sanctions against FARC commanders who have been accused of massacres, kidnappings and other crimes. But it could take months for a modified peace accord to emerge. All this has led to a surreal state of affairs for the 5,800 FARC rebels based in jungle and mountain camps throughout Colombia.”

•   FARC canceló reunión con Centro Democrático
El Espectador, 20 de octubre de 2016
“El miércoles en la noche la guerrilla tomó la decisión, luego de anunciarse que el encuentro sería entre Enrique Santiago y los voceros del No.”

•   FARC Concentrating Troops While Colombia Military Moving Into Rebel Territory: UN
Adriaan Alsema, Colombia Reports, October 21, 2016
“Colombia’s FARC guerrilla group is concentrating its approximately 6,600 fighters in coordination with the United Nations while waiting for a resumption of a stranded peace process, according to the UN mission chief.”

•   Former FARC Child Soldiers Face Uncertain Future
Anne Bouleanu, The Bogota Post, October 15, 2016
“Two people who were recruited to the guerilla group at an early age speak to Anne Bouleanu about their experiences.”

•   De FARC estarían saliendo menores a cuenta gotas y sin registro
Javier Alexánder Macías & Ricardo Monsalve Gaviria, El Colombiano, 18 de octubre de 2016
“La llamada la recibió una mañana, justo cuando se preparaba para ayudar en las labores del campo a su familia. Al otro lado de la bocina, las instrucciones del jefe guerrillero fueron muy claras: “estese ‘pilas’, porque si se rompe este proceso, serán llamados nuevamente. Pero quédese quieto y no se ponga a dar papaya por ahí”.”

•   “Es una ironía que los hombres decidan si el enfoque de género se saca de los acuerdos”
Semana, 17 de octubre de 2016
“La abogada Mónica Roa, defensora de los derechos de las mujeres, habló con Semana.com sobre el enfoque de género y la nueva etapa de diálogos entre el Gobierno y los promotores del No.”

•   Colombia’s Peace Requires the Disarmament of Gender-Fear
Leonardo Goi, Democracia Abierta, October 18, 2016
“By October 5, it was a truth publicly acknowledged that Colombia’s opposition had purposely distorted reality to sink the referendum on the peace treaty President Juan Manuel Santos had reached the leftist FARC guerrilla.”

•   “No se nace siendo mujer”: la frase que quiere explicar De la Calle
Semana, 17 de octubre de 2016
“En una enérgica columna, el jefe del equipo negociador con las FARC aclaró el significado del enfoque de género del proceso de paz y un video suyo que ha sido descontextualizado en redes sociales.”

Analysis of the Plebiscite

•   Why Colombia Will Emerge Stronger From the FARC Referendum Defeat
Samuel Ramani, The Huffington Post, October 18, 2016
“Even though the failure of President Juan Manuel Santos’s FARC peace deal is a major setback for peace in Colombia, many Western commentators have painted an overly pessimistic picture of Colombia’s political future.”

•   Plebiscite: Opening Pandora’s Box
Thomas Stevenson, The Bogota Post, October 17, 2016
“Many have asked why the peace deal needed to be put to a public vote. Conflict resolution specialist Thomas Stevenson argues that, while there were some tactical negotiating benefits to the plebiscite, it also entailed a lot of avoidable risk.”

•   How Colombia’s Newspapers Consistently Misinformed the Public on the Armed Conflict
Adriaan Alsema, Colombia Reports, October 18, 2016
“Colombia recently rejected a peace deal with the Marxist rebel group FARC partly because systematic media bias has severely distorted public perception of the country’s armed conflict.”

•   Sobre la baja participación electoral de Colombia
Miguel García Sánchez, Semana, 18 de octubre de 2016
“De cada diez colombianos con un bajo nivel de escolaridad, alejados de los medios de comunicación, desinteresados en política y sin identidad partidista, ocho se abstienen de votar.”

•   Plan Colombia, Permanent War, and the NO Vote
Laura Carlsen, Common Dreams, October 19, 2016
“Plan Colombia and its later incarnations kept U.S. contracts for weapons, espionage and intelligence equipment and military and police training flowing to the most powerful lobbying industries in the nation. Billions of dollars have been poured into Plan Colombia and national security investment that ended up in the pockets of political elite and defense companies.”

ELN Developments

•   Colombian Army Launches Attack on ELN Rebels Ahead of Peace Talks
BBC News, October 18, 2016
“The Colombian army says it has killed a rebel from the National Liberation Army, or ELN, and arrested four others in the northern province of Casanare. The attack was launched 10 days before the beginning of peace talks between the government and the Marxist rebels.”

•   Colombia Keeps Pressure on ELN Rebels Ahead of Peace Talks
Mike LaSusa, InSight Crime, October 19, 2016
“Security forces in Colombia are continuing operations against the country’s second-largest rebel group ahead of planned peace talks, a possible sign that the government intends to keep military pressure on the guerrillas in order to avoid a drawn out negotiating process.”

Reports

•   Weekly Chart: Internally Displaced People in the Americas
Nicki Fleischner, Americas Society Council of the Americas, October 13, 2016
“Amid violence, natural disasters, and development projects, Latin America and the Caribbean’s internally displaced population rose to just under 9 million in 2015, echoing a troubling trend in the rest of the world.”

•   Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the U.S. Foreign Assistance Budget
Max Bearak & Lazaro Gamio, The Washington Post, Oct. 18, 2016
“The massive scale of assistance the United States provides to nations around the world is a reflection of its ubiquitous presence on the world stage, and the sheer size of its economy. The United States provides far more assistance than any other country in the world, and in terms of arms sales, it controls at least half the global market.”

•   Human Rights Committee Considers the Report of Colombia
United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner, October 20, 2016
“The Human Rights Committee today concluded its consideration of the seventh periodic report of Colombia on its implementation of the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”

•   Comunicado Respaldo a OSC Colombianas y Proceso de Paz
Organizaciones de la Sociedad Civil Internacional, 17 de octubre de 2016
“Las organizaciones de la Sociedad Civil Internacional, reiteramos nuestro compromiso y respaldo al trabajo y agenda de las organizaciones de la sociedad civil colombianas, particularmente las victimas del conflicto armado.”

•   Agresiones contra Defensores(as) de Derechos Humanos en Colombia Julio-Septiembre 2016
Programa Somos Defensores, octubre de 2016
“Según el registro realizado por el Sistema de Información sobre Agresiones a Defensores y Defensoras de Derechos Humanos-SIADDHH-del Programa No Gubernamental de Protección  a defensores y defensoras de derechos humanos-Somos Defensores 1,entre julio y septiembre del año 2016, 63 defensores y defensoras de derechos humanos, fueron víctimas de algún tipo  de  agresión que puso en riesgo su vida e integridad y obstaculiza labor legítima y legal de defensa de los derechos humanos en Colombia.”

Human Rights

•   Afro-Latinas Fight For Democracy, Land, and Opportunity
Telesur, October 16, 2016
“The summit last week in Bogota was an effort to address the many challenges that confront one of the most vulnerable populations in the Western hemisphere.”

•   Landmines Have Killed 11,400 in Colombia’s Conflict
Telesur, October 17, 2016
“A total of eight municipalities have been declared free of landmines, while thousands of acres remain targets of efforts to clear explosives.”

•   ‘Adiós, doctor!’ Colombia Mayor Bans Formal Salutations in Bid for Equality
Sibylla Brodzinsky, The Guardian, October 18, 2016
“Municipal workers in Cali must use each other’s actual names in order to eliminate linguistic snobbery in a country of deeply entrenched class distinctions.”

•   Con oposición del gobierno, derecho al agua avanza en el Congreso
El Espectador, 18 de octubre de 2016
“Aunque logró las mayorías en Senado, el Ministro de Ambiente, Luis Gilberto Murillo, afirmó que era una iniciativa inconveniente.”

•   Denuncian asesinato de líder indígena en el Cauca
El Tiempo, 18 de octubre de 2016
“El hombre pertenecía a la guardia indígena y trabajaba en la defensa de los derechos humanos.”

•   Afro Descendants and Indigenous Defend Historic Peace Agreement
Gimena Sanchez-Garzoli, World Policy Blog, October 19, 2016
“Mass demonstrations led by indigenous communities are taking place in Colombia’s capital of Bogotá in defense of the country’s historic peace accord.”

•   Otro atentado en el Cauca contra líder social campesino
El Tiempo, 20 de octubre de 2016
“Sicarios lo buscaron en su casa, en Corinto. Es el segundo líder baleado en menos de una semana.”

 *The Colombia News Brief is a selection of relevant news articles, all of which do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Latin America Working Group.