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Colombia News Brief for October 29 – November 7, 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: CucombreLibre

Peace Process Developments

•   McGovern, Key House Democrats Send Letter to Secretary of State John Kerry
Office of Congressman Jim McGovern, November 2, 2016
“Today, a select group of Democrats sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, urging him to remain engaged in the Colombian peace process and continue to provide “credible, creative counsel” so that a final agreement may be achieved without delay.”

•   Negotiators Return to Bogota as they Work Toward New Peace Accord
Ginny Bouvier, Colombia Calls, October 31, 2016
“Three weeks after the plebiscite, the shock appears to be wearing off.  In its wake and following intensive consultations that have opened dialogue with previously disaffected sectors (most notably, current President Juan Manuel Santos and his predecessor former President Alvaro Uribe) and consultations with a broad swath of Colombian political and social leaders, a realignment of political forces has been taking shape.”

•   We Must Agree Peace by Christmas or Hope Will End, Says Colombian Leader
John Mulholland & Ed Vulliamy, The Guardian, October 29, 2016
“Juan Manuel Santos says he wants consensus for a deal with the FARC – but is not prepared to risk further delay.”

•   Breakthroughs in Colombia’s Stalled Peace Process
Adriaan Alsema, Colombia Reports, October 30, 2016
“While representatives of Evangelical Christians and FARC rebels announced agreement over gender-specific victim support, former President Alvaro Uribe had “constructive” talks with government peace negotiators.”

•   Gobierno y los del ‘No’ se reunirán este lunes tras avances del sábado
El Tiempo, 30 de octubre de 2016
“Con “coincidencias” en los temas de reforma rural integral y participación en política, este sábado se cumplió una nueva reunión entre el Gobierno y los promotores del ‘No’ para analizar los ajustes necesarios al acuerdo con las FARC.”

•   Can Colombia Rework its FARC Deal Without Jeopardizing Peace?
PBS Newshour, October 31, 2016
“Colombia was on the verge of ending one of the most violent civil wars in Latin America just slightly more than a month ago, when the deal was narrowly rejected by a voter referendum. President Juan Manuel Santos now faces the challenge of re-writing the deal to make it favorable to those who voted against it while still keeping it agreeable to FARC.”

•   Los reparos de los LGBTI sobre las peticiones de los cristianos a las FARC
El Espectador, 31 de octubre de 2016
“A esta población le incomodó, especialmente, que la senadora Viviane Morales y su esposo se hayan reunido con las FARC, saltando los procedimientos ya establecidos para escuchar a todos los sectores, para exponer interpretaciones no consensuadas.”

•   Elegibilidad política de las FARC, ¿inamovible?
El Espectador, Lorena Arboleda Zárate, 31 de octubre de 2016
“El eje central del acuerdo de paz es la participación en política de las FARC, un punto crítico para los voceros del No, que se rehúsan a que los máximos responsables de delitos atroces puedan ser elegidos. Continúa el debate.”

•   Justicia transicional, núcleo de nueva reunión entre Gobierno y promotores del “No”
El Espectador, 31 de octubre de 2016
“Ocho horas duró el fructífero encuentro entre el Centro Democrático (incluido Uribe), Juan Fernando Cristo, Humberto de la Calle, Rafael Pardo, Marta Lucía Ramírez, entre otros. Avanzaron en blindaje jurídico, reparación a víctimas y garantías de no repetición.”

•   “No me voy a poner en una pelea de aruñetazos con el presidente”
Semana, 31 de octubre de 2016
“El senador Álvaro Uribe Vélez insiste en buscar “reformas de fondo” al acuerdo de paz de La Habana. Semana clave para el nuevo acuerdo.”

•   Las peticiones de los movimientos ciudadanos por la paz
El Espectador, 1 de noviembre de 2016
“Representantes de movimientos y organizaciones piden mantener en el nuevo acuerdo temas como la centralidad de víctimas, el sistema de justicia transicional temporal y el enfoque de género.”

•   ‘No le fallaré a la esperanza de paz de los colombianos’: Santos
El Tiempo, 1 de noviembre de 2016
“En el Parlamento Británico dijo que visita confirma que el Reino Unido es aliado de Colombia.”

•   Crean mesa alterna en el proceso de renegociación
Óscar Andrés Sánchez, El Colombiano, 1 de noviembre de 2016
“Los negociadores del Gobierno y los principales representantes del No se dieron cita por segunda vez entre tres días en el Ministerio del Interior, antes de que los primeros regresen a la mesa de La Habana, para trabajar en los puntos más álgidos del anterior acuerdo.”

•   Propuestas de la Corte Suprema frente a la justicia transicional serán estudiadas en La Habana
El Espectador, 1 de noviembre de 2016
“Entre los puntos presentados por la Corte se encuentran la extradición por hechos relacionados con el conflicto y el plazo límite para la aplicación del tribunal especial para la paz.”

•   Uribe y la paz
Jairo Gómez, Semana, 1 de noviembre de 2016
“En el uribismo no hay transparente voluntad de paz; su maniobra es una estrategia electoral abroquelada en el desprestigio ideológico de los acuerdos.”

•   Who Gains from Colombia’s Vote for Permanent War?
Laura Carlsen, Foreign Policy In Focus, Common Dreams, November 1, 2016
“Pretending that everyone wants peace in Colombia ignores the long-term effects of militarism — and the fact that the war benefits many powerful interests, including in Washington.”

•   La vigilia de las FARC
Ana Karietna León Quiroga, La Silla Vacia, 2 de noviembre de 2016
“Más de cien motos, ocho buses y cuatro camiones provenientes de Cúcuta, Pamplona, Venezuela y veredas cercanas la cruzaron desde que el sol apareció ese día con rumbo a La Libertad, lugar en el que las Farc organizó una de sus vigilias por la paz, eventos que hizo en varias regiones del país para demostrar que la gente quiere que se materialicen los acuerdos de paz tal como quedaron firmados y que lo hagan pronto.”

•   Colombia Making ‘Substantial Progress’ With Peace Deal: Santos
Colombia Reports, November 2, 2016
“Colombia is making “substantial progress” in getting its stalled peace deal with Marxist rebels back on track and hopes to have a deal very soon, the country’s President Juan Manuel Santos said on Wednesday.”

•   Peace May Be On Hold, But Colombia’s Rebels Are Eager To Become Civilians
NPR, November 2, 2016
“Ivan Merchan’s body could use a break. During his 30 years fighting for the Marxist guerrilla group known as the FARC, Merchan tells me he has been shot 12 times. His arms and legs are a mass of scar tissue.”

•   El nuevo acuerdo de paz pasará por el Congreso
Semana, 2 de noviembre de 2016
“Desde el Reino Unido, el presidente Juan Manuel Santos insinuó que se inclina a descartar una segunda refrendación.”

•   Colombia’s Santos: No 2nd Vote to Pass Revised FARC Peace Deal
Telesur, November 2, 2016
“The chief proponent of the “No” campaign has been gunning for an overhaul of the peace deal, but it remains unclear what changes will be made.”

•   Waiting for Peace, Colombia Youths Set Up Camp in Main Square
Anastasia Moloney, Reuters, November 2, 2016
“The tatty cluster of tents occupying a corner of Bogota’s central square jars with the parliament’s classical architecture and the colonial cathedral, but the hundreds of young people camped out here say they are not leaving until peace comes to Colombia.”

•   El ‘acuerdo’ de la Comunidad LGBTI con las FARC
Semana, 2 de noviembre de 2016
“En un comunicado conjunto, ambas partes coinciden en que lo pactado en La Habana no abarca ni abarcará la definición de familia.”

•   ‘Tiempo extra’, concede Santos a los del No
Semana, 3 de noviembre de 2016
“Humberto de la Calle y su equipo de negociadores posponen por 16 horas su viaje a La Habana, y el presidente ofrece dos días más a la negociación que se adelanta en Bogotá.”

•   On Newspaper Cartoons in the Colombian Peace Process
Holly Eva Ryan & Laura Copete Trujillo, Open Democracy, November 3, 2016
“The outcome of the referendum in Colombia came as a surprise, but a mapping of newspaper cartoons shows a divergence between the international and domestic framing of the peace process.”

•   Colombia: UN Mission, Government and FARC-EP to Start Joint Ceasefire Monitoring and Verification
UN News Centre, November 6, 2016
“The tripartite Mechanism coordinated by the UN Mission in Colombia, with Colombia’s Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP), will begin to monitor and verify the ceasefire and cessation of hostilities tomorrow, Monday, 7 November.”

•   Colombia Govt-FARC Peace Talks Consider 410 ‘No’ Camp Proposals
Telesur, November 6, 2016
“Former far-right President Alvaro Uribe has put forward dozens of proposals aimed at overhauling the goverment’s landmark peace deal with the FARC.”

ELN Developments

•   ELN Question Elite’s Santos ‘Good,’ Uribe ‘Bad Cop’ Narrative
Telesur, October 29, 2016
“The lead negotiator of the National Liberation Army ELN Pablo Beltran said the right-wing in Colombia seek to divide citizens, and that they want to keep the country at war for their own benefit.”

•   Se aleja posibilidad de que ELN libere a Odín Sánchez
El Espectador, 31 de octubre de 2016
“Al menos, no lo hará antes de que inicie la primera ronda de conversaciones en Quito (Ecuador), según informó esa guerrilla en un comunicado.”

•   Ejército reportó muerte en Nariño de un soldado a manos del ELN
El Colombiano, 31 de octubre de 2016
“El Ejército Nacional denunció que un soldado falleció el domingo producto de la activación de un artefacto explosivo dispuesto por el ELN en la vereda Buenavista del municipio de Barbacoas (Nariño).”

•   Peace Talks With Colombia’s ELN Rebels Not Canceled, But Likely to be Delayed
Adriaan Alsema, Colombia Reports, November 1, 2016
“While Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos is trying to save a peace process with his country’s largest rebel group, the FARC, formal talks with ELN guerrillas are becoming increasingly unlikely.”

•   La enredada mesa de negociación del Gobierno y el ELN
Semana, 1 de noviembre de 2016
“El grupo guerrillero asegura que la mesa no se ha instalado por culpa del Gobierno. Dicen no entender por qué se preocupan por la liberación de Odín Sánchez, si él es una persona “poco grata” en Chocó.”

•   Colombia’s ELN Rebels Vow to Release Hostage Next Week, Breaking Peace Talks Deadlock
Adriaan Alsema, Colombia Reports, November 4, 2016
“Colombia’s last remaining rebel group, the ELN, on Friday said it would release a former congressmen next week after which suspended peace talks with the government can be resumed.” 

Regional and International Cooperation

•   Colombia, Mexico Presidents Discuss Security Cooperation
Mike LaSusa, Insight Crime, October 28, 2016
“The presidents of Colombia and Mexico have promised to deepen cooperation on matters of organized crime and security as both countries continue to struggle with longstanding problems related to criminal groups.”

•   Venezuela Crisis, Colombia Peace Dominate Latin American Summit
Julia Symmes Cobb, Reuters, October 29, 2016
“Venezuela’s fast-escalating political crisis and Colombia’s stuttering peace process dominated the Ibero-American Summit on Saturday, despite an official agenda about youth, entrepreneurship and education.”

•   Security Council Authorizes UN Mission to Verify Ceasefire In Colombia
UN Mission in Colombia, October 31, 2016
“The United Nations Security Council sent a letter to the Secretary General today giving the green light to the UN Mission in Colombia to verify the ceasefire and cessation of hostilities, following a request from the the Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia—People’s Army (FARC-EP).”

•   Colombia Connection: The UK’s discreet role
Frank Gardner, BBC News, November 1, 2016
“Tuesday sees the first ever state visit by a Colombian president to the UK. Nobel Peace Prize laureate, President Juan Manuel Santos is visiting for three days as an official guest of Her Majesty The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.”

•   Britain to Donate $40M to Colombia After Leaders Meet in London
UPI, Andrew V. Pestano, November 2, 2016
“Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Wednesday said Britain will donate about $40 million for security and rebel conflict efforts during a state visit to London.”

•   How the Irish Brought a Peace Deal to Colombia
Peter Geoghegan, Politico EU, November 2, 2016
“Politicians, trade unionists and human rights activists traveled between Belfast and Bogota to assist in peace talks.”

Human Rights and the Environment

•   Opinion: Why Social Inclusion in Colombia is More Important Than Ever
Laura Zambrano & Tatiana Olarte, Devex, October 31, 2016
“Public policy regarding the protection and prevention of discrimination and violence against women and LGBT persons has made striking progress since the Colombian Constitution of 1991.”

•   Despite Cease-Fire, We Keep Dying: Afro-Colombian Activist
Telesur, October 31, 2016
“An activist for the progressive political movement Marcha Patriotica, Hector Marino Carabali from the Cauca province, went to Havana as part of a delegation of victims representing Afro-descendant communities that have been heavily affected by forced displacements, evictions, torture and murders related to the armed conflict.”

•   Buscan justicia en casos de periodistas asesinados en Colombia
Catalina González Navarro, El Espectador, 1 de noviembre de 2016
“Desde la una de la tarde, en la Plaza de Bolívar de Bogotá, se les rendirá un homenaje a los 153 periodistas asesinados en Colombia en los últimos 38 años.”

•   They Fled Colombia’s Violence and Built a City Where Women Call the Shots
Jim Wyss, Miami Herald, November 2, 2016
“Like many others fleeing violence in northern Colombia, Lamadrid ended up in the gritty slum of El Pozón. The neighborhood is on the outskirts of Cartagena — the crown jewel of Colombia’s tourism industry and home to some of its most luxurious hotels — but it’s worlds away.”

•   Fragile Peace: Another Campesino Activist Murdered in Colombia
Telesur, November 2, 2016
“As President Juan Manuel Santos boasted that there haven’t been any deaths since the launch of a bilateral cease-fire, another activist was murdered.”

•   How Decentralizing Political Power Strengthened Colombia Crime Groups
Mimi Yagoub, Insight Crime, November 2, 2016
“A pair of recent reports highlights how Colombia’s government decentralization process over the past 30 years has facilitated the incursion of organized crime into local politics, and how this development has generated ongoing problems.”

•   How Colombia’s Failed Peace Treaty Could Wreak Havoc on Its Diversity-Rich Ecosystems
Megan Alpert, Smithsonian, November 4, 2016
“A potential influx of legal and illegal mining leaves the country’s megadiverse landscapes—and the communities who depend on them—in jeopardy.”

•   Colombian War Victims Struggle to Find Justice. For a While, This Girl Only Wanted Revenge
Jasmine Garsd, PRI, November 4, 2016
“As Colombia negotiates a peace deal that would end 52 years of war, many are wondering how much justice victims can expect?”

•   Colombia Court Orders Top Companies to Return Land Stolen From Displaced Victims
Adriaan Alsema, Colombia Reports, November 3, 2016
“A Colombian court has ordered 19 companies, including the country’s largest bank, to return lands that were stolen in Colombia’s armed conflict and ended up in the hands of private businesses, reported news website Las 2 Orillas Thursday.

*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.