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Colombia News Brief for October 22-28, 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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Source: Silvia Andrea Moreno

Analysis of the Peace Process

•   Understanding Colombia’s Peace With a Carrot and a Stick
James Rumsey-Merlan, The City Paper Bogota, October 24, 2016
“Three weeks after the peace plebiscite was narrowly defeated at the ballot by Colombians, a new round of negotiations between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla has begun in Havana, Cuba, to reach an agreement before the end of the year.”

•   Between War and Peace: How Can Colombia Move Peace Forward
Lisa Haugaard, Latin America Working Group, October 26, 2016
“It is critical that President Santos and the negotiators listen to those who voted Yes as well as to the No campaign.  In the weeks following the referendum, victims of violence, communities affected by the war, human rights organizations, students, and members of the business community have organized for peace.”

•   The Colombian–FARC Peace Deal: Why It Failed, and How the U.S. Can Support a Responsible Renegotiation
Ana Quintana, The Heritage Foundation, October 24, 2016
“The U.S. and Colombia have a long-standing strategic partnership, and, as a new deal is negotiated, the U.S. will play a critical support role.”

•   Pushing for Peace in Colombia
Ashish Kumar Sen, Atlantic Council, October 24, 2016
“Two ground realities in Colombia—former guerrillas gathered in remote rural cantonments with scarce infrastructure and nationwide elections in the spring of 2018—make it imperative that a peace agreement that is acceptable to all sides is quickly found, according to Kevin Whitaker, the United States’ ambassador to Colombia.”

•   To Achieve Real Peace in Colombia, Go After the FARC’s Money
Jose R. Cardenas, Foreign Policy, October 25, 2016
“One concern of the Colombian people that has not received adequate attention, however, is not just the FARC’s legalization as a political party, but as one that is estimated to have upwards of $10 billion stashed away in foreign banks.”

•   Debunking the Myths About “Gender Ideology” in Colombia
Gimena Sánchez-Garzoli, Washington Office on Latin America, October 25, 2016
“The Accord doesn’t seek to impose any gender ideology. What it does seek, is to protect women’s and LGBTI communities’ human rights, as they have been disproportionately affected by the conflict, and have been victims of specific risks and consequences during the conflict.”

•   From Alabama to Colombia: Pickpocketed Peace
Charles McNair, Paste Magazine, October 26, 2016
“Uribe and his conservative supporters alarmed voters with misleading claims that the peace agreement offered rebels total amnesty and that it would ultimately lead to socialist takeover, a profound fear in Colombia. The nation has warily watched the decline of next-door-neighbor Venezuela under socialist leader Hugo Chávez and his successor, Nicolas Maduro.”

•   La paz sin Uribe
Semana, 26 de octubre de 2016
“Una renegociación sin las propuestas del expresidente parecía imposible para salir de la crisis del plebiscito. Ahora se advierte posible un nuevo acuerdo de paz, pero sin el jefe natural del Centro Democrático.”

•   “El plebiscito no era necesario para legitimar la paz, y menos para deslegitimarla”
Mauricio Martínez, Semana, 26 de octubre de 2016
“El jurista italiano Luigi Ferrajoli, considerado por muchos el Papa del derecho penal, habla de las implicaciones jurídicas del triunfo del No y de cuál podría ser la salida a este limbo.”

•   Why Real Peace in Colombia Matters to the U.S.—and the Rest of the Americas
James Stavridis, TIME, October 27, 2016
“Negotiations in Havana led to the creation of the peace agreement, which would minimize incarceration for FARC members, provide them with guaranteed seats in the parliament, and establish reconciliation and demobilization mechanisms.”

•   The Voices of Resistance Along Colombia’s Lower San Juan and Calima Rivers
Sebastian Bernal, Washington Office on Latin America, October 27, 2016
“Victims and those most affected by the internal conflict have voiced their support for the Peace Accords by participating in massive demonstrations, providing President Juan Manuel Santos with much-needed political backing after the unexpected plebiscite result.”

•   How to Make Peace With the Forest: Development and War in Colombia
Hannah Meszaros Martin, Open Democracy, October 25, 2016
“The Accords, and their proposed reforms, had the potential to open up the debate around the structural issues behind the war, in particular, agrarian reform and economic development.”

•   What Does Peace in Colombia Have to do With the Environment?
Camila Bustos and Marcela Jaramillo, The Guardian, October 24, 2016
“With the conflict finally over, the Colombian government must turn its attention to protecting biodiversity and natural resources.”


Recent Developments of the Peace Process

•   Colombia, Rebels to Negotiate New Peace Pact in Cuba
Juan Forero & Kejal Vyas, Wall Street Journal, October 21, 2016
“A government negotiating team will meet with rebel commanders in Cuba on Saturday to try and draft a new peace agreement that would be palatable to all sides in this increasingly polarized country, the government’s lead negotiator said in an interview.”

•   Colombia Could Become Another Venezuela Without Changes, Former Leader Says
Alfonso Chardy, The Miami Herald, October 23, 2016
“Former Colombian President Álvaro Uribe came to Doral on Sunday to explain to hundreds of Colombian immigrants why he led the opposition that led to voters’ rejection of recent peace accords between the current Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia guerrilla force.”

•   ‘Esperamos que nos puedan perdonar’: FARC a familias de diputados
El Tiempo, 24 de octubre de 2016
“El sábado pasado, familiares viajaron hasta Cuba para definir cómo se realizará el acto.”

•   En Cartagena hay encuentro LGBTI por la paz
El Tiempo, 24 de octubre de 2016
“Reunirá a más de 120 líderes de estas comunidades de Sucre, Córdoba, San Andrés y Bolívar.”

•   Santos niega que esté intentando alguna ‘astucia jurídica’ para desconocer el plebiscito
El Espectador, 25 de octubre de 2016
“De hecho, recordó que el Gobierno fue el primero en aceptar el triunfo del No en el plebiscito y desde entonces trabaja para lograr un nuevo acuerdo con las FARC.”

•   “Me preocupa el deterioro de la cohesión de las FARC”: ministro de Defensa
El Espectador, 25 de octubre de 2016
“Según Luis Carlos Villegas, jefe de la cartera, hay riesgo en la seguridad por demoras en la implementación del proceso de paz con la guerrilla.”

•   Colombia’s FARC Could Break Apart: Defense Minister
Mimi Yagoub, Insight Crime, October 25, 2016
“Colombia’s Defense Minister has voiced serious concerns that the FARC guerrilla group may break apart if the government does not work fast to reach a new peace accord — a politically charged process that looks set to be a slow one.”

•   Negotiators ‘Close’ to Presenting Amended Colombia Peace Deal: FARC
Adriaan Alsema, Colombia Reports, October 26, 2016
“Colombia government and FARC guerrilla negotiators are “close” to reaching agreement on amendments to a peace deal that was rejected by the country’s voters earlier this month, FARC chief Rodrigo Londoño said Wednesday.”

•   Las 297 páginas del acuerdo tienen impunidad total: Álvaro Uribe
El Espectador, 26 de octubre de 2016
“El expresidente se reunirá con la Conferencia Episcopal para pedirle que interceda por los voceros del No y soliciten al gobierno y a las FARC que hagan modificaciones de fondo al acuerdo de paz.”

•   Uribe le pide a la Iglesia que medie para lograr pacto por la paz
El Tiempo, 26 de octubre de 2016
“Líderes del ‘No’ se reunieron con miembros de Conferencia Episcopal. Gobierno busca nuevo encuentro.”

•   Doscientos excombatientes reciben su diploma de reintegración
El Tiempo, 26 de octubre de 2016
“Este miércoles, a las 5 p. m., la Agencia Colombiana para la Reintegración (ACR) entregará los diplomas que certifican a 200 personas que completaron con éxito su proceso de desmovilización.”

•   Corte Suprema de Colombia pide que FARC no sean beneficiados con tribunal independiente
ACORE, 26 de octubre de 2016
“La Corte Suprema de Justicia colombiana envió un documento al presidente Juan Manuel Santos en el que, a pesar de respaldar el modelo de justicia transicional propuesto en el acuerdo con las FARC, hizo algunas sugerencias para mejorar lo pactado en lo que tiene que ver con las penas alternativas que recibirán los subversivos además de la manera en que serán juzgados.”

•   FARC Vows to Verify Fate of 500 Missing Kidnap Victims Amid Negotiations on New Peace Deal
Adriaan Alsema, Colombia Reports, October 27, 2016
“Colombia’s largest rebel group, the FARC, on Wednesday vowed to internally investigate the fate of some 500 people who were kidnapped by the guerrillas but are now unaccounted for.”

•   “Un nuevo acuerdo de paz con las FARC debe estar concluido en noviembre”
Semana, 28 de octubre de 2016
“El presidente Juan Manuel Santos aseguró que esta renegociación debe terminar en semanas y no en meses. El mandatario no descarta otro plebiscito.”

Peace Talks with ELN

•   Colombia’s Other Peace Process: How Dialogue with the ELN Will Differ from the Havana Talks
Sebastian Bernal, Washington Office on Latin America, October 25, 2016
“On September 27, the day after the signing ceremony of the peace accords between the government and FARC, President Juan Manuel Santos announced that if the ELN released all the hostages it held, he was willing to begin formal negotiations.”

•   History of Peace Talks With Colombia’s ELN Guerrillas
Adriaan Alsema, Colombia Reports, October 26, 2016
“Since the group’s first appearance in 1964, Colombia’s government has engaged in peace talks with the ELN seven times, but never succeeded to convince the Marxist rebels to demobilize and disarm.”

•   ELN aplaude designación de Juan Camilo Restrepo como jefe negociador
El Espectador, 24 de octubre de 2016
“A través de Twitter, el exsenador agradeció la designación y aseguró que su compromiso “estará centrado en buscar puntos de acuerdo para la paz”.”

•   Week Ahead of ELN Peace Talks Marred by Violence and Displacement
Adriaan Alsema, Colombia Reports, October 24, 2016
“Ahead of Thursday’s opening of peace talks with Colombia’s second largest rebel group, the ELN has relentlessly continued to carry out attacks and spur displacement.”

•   Colombia’s ELN rebels Balk at Hostage Ultimatum
BBC News, October 25, 2016
“Colombia’s second largest rebel group, the National Liberation Army (ELN), has accused the Colombian government of “torpedoing” peace talks between the two sides due to start on Thursday.”

•   El equipo de negociación con el ELN
Juanita León, La Silla Vacía, 25 de octubre de 2016
“En medio de muchos rumores sobre el equipo negociador del Gobierno con el ELN, cuya mesa pública se instalará este jueves, La Silla confirmó que estará integrado por cuatro hombres y una mujer. Es un equipo de alto perfil, con dos ex ministros, además del jefe negociador Juan Camilo Restrepo, un ex general, un reconocido líder gremial y un psiquiatra, que puede ser de gran utilidad para lidiar con esa guerrilla.”

•   ELN revela lista de delegados que integrarán mesa de diálogos de paz
El Espectador, 26 de octubre de 2016
“El anuncio oficial lo hizo esa guerrilla a través de su cuenta de twitter. Pablo Beltrán será el jefe de la delegación.”

•   Liberar a Odín Sánchez, condición para instalar mesa con ELN
El Tiempo, 26 de octubre de 2016
“La liberación del excongresista Odín Sánchez, quien se encuentra en poder del Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN) desde hace seis meses, se convirtió en el punto clave para definir la instalación de la mesa de negociaciones con el Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN), prevista para este jueves en Quito.”

•   Sociedad civil y víctimas, las claves de la agenda entre Gobierno y ELN
El Espectador, 27 de octubre de 2016
“El objetivo general es “ponerle fin al conflicto armado, erradicar la violencia de la política, ubicando en el centro el tratamiento a la situación de las víctimas, y avanzar hacia la reconciliación nacional”.”

•   Hora cero de los diálogos con el ELN
Alfredo Molano Jimeno, El Espectador, 27 de octubre de 2016
“Este jueves, en Ecuador, el gobierno de Juan Manuel Santos y la guerrilla del ELN empezarán a escribir la historia de un nuevo proceso de paz.”

•   In a Surprise Move, Colombia Govt Postpones Talks with ELN
Telesur, October 27, 2016
“Santos canceled talks with the ELN even though the rebels were complying with the agreed-upon timetable to release a hostage.”

•   Colombia Peace Process Delayed Again After ELN Fail to Release Hostage
Mike LaSusa, Insight Crime, October 27, 2016
“Peace talks between the government of Colombia and the country’s second-largest guerrilla group have been delayed again after the rebels failed to release a high-profile hostage, a sign that the group’s lack of coordination could prove an obstacle to the talks’ progress.”

•   Colombia ELN Hostage Release ‘Under Way’
BBC News, October 28, 2016
“Colombia’s second-biggest rebel group has begun the process of releasing a hostage, a key condition for the start of peace talks with the government, officials say.”

•   Que el Gobierno no nos ponga de malos de la película: ELN
El Espectador, 28 de octubre de 2016
“Pablo Beltrán, jefe negociador de este grupo guerrillero, aseguró que no tenían ningún compromiso de liberar a Odín Sánchez antes de formalizar los diálogos, pero que lo entregarán porque no son ningunos faltones.”

Reports & Letters from Civil Society Actors

•   Colombia: New Report Calls for Continued Efforts to Protect all Children Affected by Conflict
Office of the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, October 24, 2016
“In a new report on the situation of children affected by the armed conflict in Colombia, the UN Secretary-General reiterated his full support for the peace process and encouraged all parties to continue to address the impact of conflict on children.”

•   Voting for Peace: Understanding the Victory of “No”
Eduardo Álvarez-Vanegas, Juan Carlos Garzón-Vergara, José Luis Bernal, Wilson Center, October 20, 2016,
“Electorally speaking, the plebiscite was a poor copy of the second round of the 2014
presidential elections. Those who campaigned in favor of the Havana peace accord were
faced with unresponsive regional political machineries and a lack of incentives for those
who could mobilize “yes” votes to join the campaign.”

•   Voices From the New Countryside: The Challenge and Opportunity of Peace in Rural Colombia
Lutheran World Relief, October, 2016
The focus in the peace negotiations on rural poverty caused by conflict, inequitable land distribution and the lack of state investment in the countryside elevated these issues to the forefront of national debate within Colombian society and among policy makers.

•   Human Rights and Victims’ Organizations Support the Transitional Justice Agreed to in Havana as a Contribution towards the Fight against Impunity
Human Rights and Victims’ Organizations, October 20, 2016
“We believe that the accord that was reached contains the minimum standards that permit advances in overcoming impunity for grave crimes committed directly or indirectly related to the armed conflict in Colombia.”

•   Carta abierta al señor presidente de Colombia Juan Manuel Santos, al senor Rodrigo Londono, jefe de las FARC-EP, al señor Nicolas Rodriguez, jefe del ELN y a la sociedad Colombiana
Organizaciones de Derechos Humanos, 20 de octubre de 2016
“Las organizaciones abajo firmantes, ante el proceso de consultas que se está llevando a cabo para introducir ajustes al Acuerdo Final de Paz, firmado el pasado 26 de septiembre entre el Gobierno y las FARC-EP, expresamos nuestro respaldo al acuerdo de la Habana, particularmente, a lo acordado sobre los Derecho de las Victimas.”

Human Rights, Drugs, and Crimes

•   ¿Quién está atentando contra los defensores de DD. HH. y líderes campesinos?
Semana, 23 de octubre de 2016
“Corinto (Cauca) es uno de los municipios que clama porque el Estado haga presencia y evite que lleguen nuevos grupos armados a la zona. Aumentan los casos de líderes campesinos e indígenas asesinados.”

•   The Invisible Army of Women Fighting Sexual Violence in Colombia
Jean Friedman-Rudovsky, Cosmopolitan, Oct 24, 2016
“In a country where gender-based violence has become normalized and the government hasn’t done nearly enough to help, women are stepping up to support each other.”

•   Canada Mining Companies in Latin America Have Blood on Hands
Telesur, October 24, 2016
“A new report finds that the corporate social responsibility governing Canada’s mining industry brings human rights abuses and death to Latin American communities.”

•   Colombia Ex-President’s Brother Faces Trial over Death Squads
Telesur, October 24, 2016
“Santiago Uribe Velez, the brother of former President Alvaro Uribe, is accused of financing a notorious paramilitary group.”

•   Colombia’s State Officials Pose Primary Threat to Journalists: Report
Brian Levesque, Colombia Reports, October 25, 2016
“Colombia’s state was the leading threat to journalists between 2012 and this year, according to the country’s press freedom foundation.”

•   Polémica entre Gobierno y Fiscalía por aspersiones a ‘narcocultivos’
El Tiempo, 25 de octubre de 2016
“Una controversia se generó en la noche de este martes en la plenaria del Senado entre el fiscal General, Néstor Humberto Martínez, y los ministro de Salud, Alejandro Gaviria, y de Justicia, Jorge Londoño, en torno al uso de aspersiones aéreas para erradicar los cultivos ilícitos.”

•   ‘First’ Seizure of FARC’s Illegal Mining Assets Could Worsen Dissidence
Mimi Yagoub, Insight Crime, October 26, 2016
“Colombia’s Attorney General has announced what appears to be the first ever seizure of mining-related FARC assets, potentially stirring up the already turbulent process of finding a resolution to the FARC peace crisis.”

•   Colombia’s Coca Growers Fear New Peace Accord
Erika Piñeros, IRIN News, October 27, 2016
“In the wake of the shock referendum result earlier this month that derailed the peace agreement between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), city-dwelling Colombians are pressuring the government to salvage the deal. But coca leaf growers in rural areas whose livelihoods are threatened by plans to demobilise FARC are breathing a sigh of relief.”

*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.