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Colombia News Brief for September 24-30, 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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Peace Accords

•   The Winding, Secret Negotiations That Led to Colombia’s Peace Talks
Jim Wyss, The Miami Herald, September 23, 2016
“As Colombia prepares to sign a historic peace deal with the FARC guerrillas on Monday that will bring an end to the hemisphere’s longest and bloodiest civil conflict, perhaps no one has devoted more years to the agreement than Frank Pearl.”

•   (Video) El conmovedor momento en que Mockus ayuda a una exguerrillera de las FARC a pedir perdón
Semana, 23 de septiembre de 2016
“Fue reclutada a los 15 años, pudo salir a los 21 y emprendió una nueva vida. Sin embargo, necesita reconciliarse con la sociedad. Así lo logró.”

•   Don’t Overlook the Tragic Losses in Colombia’s Brutal War
Lisa Haugaard, The Washington Post, September 25, 2016
“The Sept. 19 front-page article “U.S. intervention helped turn the tide in Colombia” left out much of the human tragedy that accompanied the U.S.-funded military and counternarcotics strategy.”

•   After Years of Stoking Colombia’s Civil War, Washington Is Now Trying to Hijack the Peace Deal
Greg Grandin, The Nation, September 26, 2016
“The US-funded Plan Colombia imposed catastrophic violence on the country, resulting in a mountain of corpses and millions of displaced civilians.”

•   La historia hasta ahora no contada del proceso de paz con las FARC
El Tiempo, 25 de septiembre de 2016
“El libro, titulado ‘La historia secreta del proceso de paz’, será publicado con Intermedio Editores y saldrá a la venta el próximo 3 de octubre.”

•  “Uribe no puede pretender dar cátedra sobre justicia”: José Miguel Vivanco
Semana, 24 de septiembre de 2016
“El director de la División de las Américas de Human Rights Watch critica los beneficios jurídicos que le entrega Santos a las FARC, pero cree que fueron peores los que dio el anterior gobierno al paramilitarismo.”

•  “Apoyo el Sí, aunque en mi caso no habrá justicia”
Cristina Castro, Semana, 24 de septiembre de 2016
“Íngrid Betancourt habla de las FARC, el uribismo, la polarización, la religión, la ideología de género, el referendo de Viviane Morales y el peligro de mezclar todo en este momento. Explica por qué no asiste a la firma.”

•  Colombia leader Juan Manuel Santos: From Hawk to Dove
BBC News, September 26, 2016
“”Today we have reasons for hope, there is one less war on the planet,” Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos recently told the United Nations General Assembly…. But Mr Santos did not always have the optimistic and conciliatory tone he used in his speech at the UN General Assembly.”

•  Card. Parolin, Catholic Aid Agencies Welcome Colombia Peace Accord
Vatican Radio, September 26, 2016
“Catholic agencies from Europe and North America have welcomed the announcement that the Colombian Government and the FARC guerrilla group will sign a peace agreement on Monday 26 September to end over fifty years of conflict.”

•  The Last Armed Conflict in Latin America is Finally Ending
Kelly Chen & Natalie Gallon, CNN, September 26, 2016
“In a symbolic gesture, the pens that will be used to sign the historic peace deal, years in the making, are made from recycled bullets once used in the conflict. An inscription on the side of the pens reads: “Bullets wrote our past. Education, our future.””

•  The Latest: Backers of Colombia’s Uribe Protest Peace Deal
The Associated Press, The New York Times, September 26, 2016
“A few hundred supporters of conservative former President Alvaro Uribe are protesting Colombia’s peace accord. They believe it’s too lenient on guerrilla leaders accused of war crimes.”

•  Colombia FARC Leader Apologises to Victims at Peace Signing
BBC News, September 27, 2016
“The leader of the FARC rebel group has apologised to the victims of Colombia’s armed conflict which ended with Monday’s signing of a peace deal.”

•  Ahora, a cumplir la palabra firmada
Alfredo Molano Jimeno, El Espectador, 26 de septiembre de 2016
“Con un “balígrafo”, una bala convertida en lapicero, el presidente Santos y Rodrigo Londoño estamparon sus firmas en el Acuerdo Final de Paz.”

•  How the World Media Covered Colombia’s Peace Signing
Jared Wade, The City Paper Bogota, September 27, 2016
“Throughout much of the world, the Colombian peace ceremony was given short shrift in the media. It didn’t receive front-page attention from hardly any major newspapers in North America or Europe — let alone Asia and Africa — but the monumental story of Colombia formally ending its war dominated Latin American news.”

•  La fiesta de la paz que no prendió las calles
Juanita León & Juan Esteban Lewin, La Silla Vacia, 27 de septiembre de 2016
“La protocolización de la firma del Acuerdo de paz con las FARC después de 50 años de una confrontación que dejó miles de muertos y una estela de sufrimiento fue una fiesta con un libreto detallado, con una lista de invitados muy bien pensada que refleja el ‘nuevo país’ que se espera surja de un evento tan histórico.”

•  “Señores de las FARC, bienvenidos a la democracia”: 10 frases de Santos en la firma del acuerdo
Sara Kapkin, Pacifista, 26 de septiembre de 2016
En un emotivo discurso, el Presidente resaltó los esfuerzos de las FARC al pedir perdón y agradeció a policías, soldados y sobre todo a las víctimas, a aquellas madres que, dijo, abonaron con sus lágrimas el camino a la paz.

•  “Pedimos perdón a todas las víctimas”: 10 frases de “Timochenko” en su discurso de paz
Staff, Pacifista, 26 de septiembre de 2016
“Recogemos las 10 mejores frases del discurso de “Timochenko” el día de la firma del tratado de paz con el gobierno colombiano.”

•  Santos propone al ELN iniciar fase pública de diálogos la próxima semana
El Espectador, 27 de septiembre de 2016
“El mandatario aseguró que si esa guerrilla libera a todos los secuestrados se podrá avanzar en la negociación, que desde marzo tiene pactada la agenda.”

•  Colombia’s ELN Rebels Ready to Start Peace Talks With Government
Reuters, The Guardian, September 28, 2016
“Colombia’s left wing ELN rebels have said they are ready to start formal peace talks with the government and resolve issues that have so far stymied the negotiations announced in March.”

•  “El Acuerdo tiene cosas amargas, pero es una oportunidad de paz”: Fajardo
Óscar Andrés Sánchez, El Colombiano, 23 de septiembre de 2016
“El exgobernador de Antioquia, Sergio Fajardo, paró sus cátedras en México y se vino a recorrer el país para hacer una campaña relámpago por el Sí al plebiscito.”

•  Firma de la paz, una gran noticia para un mundo convulsionado
Michael Shifter, El Tiempo, 26 de septiembre de 2016
“El acuerdo de paz firmado este lunes entre el Gobierno y las Farc es una de las pocas buenas noticias en un mundo convulsionado. Se trata de un logro histórico para Colombia, que debe ser celebrado y reconocido porque pone fin a un conflicto armado que infligió mucho daño al país durante más de medio siglo.”

•  Colombia Tipped for Nobel Peace Prize After Deal to End War
Reuters, The New York Times, September 29, 2016
“A Colombian peace accord ending a half-century of war is widely tipped for the Nobel Peace Prize next week, returning the award to its roots after a run of wins for organizations including the European Union.”

•  Congresistas de EE. UU. apoyan acuerdos con las FARC
Sergio Gómez Maseri, El Tiempo, 29 de septiembre de 2016
“Un grupo de 63 congresistas estadounidenses, entre ellos siete republicanos, enviarán este viernes una carta al presidente Juan Manuel Santos en la que lo felicitan por alcanzar “un histórico acuerdo de paz con las FARC” y se comprometen a mantener el apoyo de Washington cuando llegue la hora de implementar lo pactado.”

Referendum

•  Por qué votar Sí
Semana, 24 de septiembre de 2016
“Hay ciertos momentos en la vida de las sociedades donde el destino de una nación puede cambiar definitivamente. El próximo domingo 2 de octubre los colombianos tienen esa cita con la historia.”

•  If Colombia is to Realise its Potential, its People Must Vote for Peace
Jonathan Glennie, The Guardian, September 26, 2016
“If Colombians are interested in development – in social progress and more equality, better infrastructure, good quality schools, functioning healthcare for all, more foreign investment and jobs, rising wages; in short, in living up to their country’s potential as one of the world’s great 20th century success stories – then they need to vote for an end to the conflict.”

•  Why Colombia’s Opposition Party Will Vote ‘No’ to the FARC Peace Deal
David Laconangelo, The Christian Science Monitor, September 27, 2016
“A Gallup poll carried out this month found that of Colombians who answered that they would “definitely” cast a ballot in the referendum, about 67 percent said that they vote in favor of the deal, compared to 32 percent who would reject it. And all but one of the many parties holding power in Colombia’s legislature want the public to vote “yes.””

•  Ahead of the Peace Vote, Colombia’s Displaced Slum Dwellers Dream of Home
Anastasia Moloney, Reuters, September 27, 2016
“The ramshackle community of Altos de Florida and others slums dotted across the windswept hills on the outskirts of Bogota stretch to the horizon…. Here, hundreds of thousands of Colombians, who fled their homes to escape a five-decade war, live in mostly informal settlements struggling to scrape a living.”

•  Los cinco sapos del acuerdo de La Habana
Semana, 24 de septiembre de 2016
“Durante la campaña por el Sí o por el No en el plebiscito se ha hablado mucho de los ‘sapos’ que los colombianos tendrán que tragarse como costo del acuerdo con las FARC.”

•  Contrastes de dos plebiscitos
Juan Gabriel Tokatlián, El Tiempo, 25 de septiembre de 2016
“Lo firmado en La Habana constituye un acuerdo más amplio y sustantivo, está avalado por un sector del establecimiento y por el principal actor antisistema.”

•  Y ahora, el pulso por el plebiscito
El Espectador, 28 de septiembre de 2016
“Pasada la euforia de la firma de la paz, el país se sumerge ahora en la recta final del plebiscito de este domingo 2 de octubre, mecanismo decidido por el presidente Juan Manuel Santos para refrendar lo pactado, aceptado por las partes en la mesa de negociaciones de La Habana y avalado por la Corte Constitucional.”

•  Yes or no? After 52-Year War, Colombia’s Peace With the FARC Faces Public Vote
Sibylla Brodzinsky, The Guardian, September 29, 2016
Colombia’s 52-year conflict has left few of its citizens unscathed. In sprawling cities and remote country villages, nearly everyone has experienced killings and kidnaps, bombings and displacement – or knows someone who has.

•  With Colombians Set to Vote on Peace Deal, a Former President Campaigns to Kill It
Chris Kraul, The Los Angeles Times, September 29, 2016
“When they go to the polls Sunday, Colombian voters are expected to endorse the landmark peace agreement signed this week by the government and the country’s most important rebel group.”

Post-Accord Challenges

•  Colombia’s ELN rebels announce unilateral ceasefire ahead of peace with FARC
AFP, Colombia Reports, September 26, 2016
“Colombia’s second-largest rebel force, the leftist National Liberation Army (ELN), called a unilateral ceasefire as Colombians is set for a referendum on a peace with the larger FARC group.”

•  Land Conflicts Feared in Wake of Colombia Peace Accord
Voice of America, September 24, 2016
 “Conflicts over land in Colombia are likely to increase following a peace deal to end half a century of war as once no-go areas in the Andean country open up for business and development projects, land rights experts said.”

•  Political Risk Analysis: What Impact Will Peace Talks Have On Colombia’s Economy?
Nathaniel Parish Flannery, Forbes, September 26, 2016
“Colombia will be presented with new opportunities, but also new challenges. To get a sense of what investors can expect from Colombia’s economy, I reached out to Lloyd Belton, a Latin America analyst at S-RM, a UK-based political risk consultancy.”

•  Victims of Colombia’s Long War Fear Peace Won’t Be Any Better
Joe Parkin Daniels, VICE News, September 27, 2016
“Colombia’s half-century-long civil war has left an estimated 220,000 people dead and displaced 6.9 million — the highest internal displacement in the world, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Chocó, which lies just south of the border with Panama, is one of the regions where the pain has been the most intense.”

•  Opinion: For Colombia, a Flawed Peace is Better Than War
Andrés Martínez-Fernández, Fox News Latino, September 26, 2016
“While generally praised by the international community for his efforts to secure peace for Colombia, President Juan Manuel Santos has been criticized by some for investing virtually all of his energy into securing an agreement, while deprioritizing important challenges such as tax reform, poverty and corruption that have undermined Colombia’s competitiveness and growth.”

•  Colombia’s Peace Can Lead to Inclusive Economic Growth
Jim Yong Kim, The Huffington Post, September 26, 2016
“Peace is within Colombia’s grasp. Bringing an end to an armed conflict that has gripped the country for over 50 years and affected the lives of three generations, is more than just good news for Colombians. An enduring peace will form the solid ground for progress against poverty and for inclusive development, establishing a bulwark against the forces that give rise to violence.”

•  Rebels Could Become Guides, Cheesemakers in Post-War Colombia
Julia Symmes Cobb & Nelson Bocanegra, Reuters, September 27, 2016
“Veterans of Colombia’s FARC guerrilla army could soon be making a living as eco-tourism guides, beef processors or cheese makers under plans by the Marxist group to invest in economic projects once a peace deal takes hold.”

•  Colombia: Historic Peace Deal Must Ensure Justice and an End to Human Rights Abuses
Amnesty International, September 27, 2016
“The success of an historic peace deal between the Colombian government and the country’s largest guerrilla group, which was officially signed today in Cartagena, rests on the Colombian authorities’ ability to ensure truth, justice and reparation for the millions of victims of the more than 50 year-long conflict, said Amnesty International.”

•  Colombia Still Faces Long To-Do List to Make Peace a Reality
The City Paper Bogota, September 27, 2016
“Colombia turned its attention Tuesday toward making the groundbreaking peace deal between the government and the FARC rebel group a reality after it was signed Monday, beginning with kicking off the process of disarming the more than 7,000-strong guerrilla army and securing a “Yes” in the upcoming popular vote on the agreement.”

•  Colombia’s Night Before the Dawn
Steven Cohen, The New Republic, September 28, 2016
“The 297-page peace agreement signed by President Santos and Timochenko on Monday seeks to bring a close to an insurgency that ostensibly began in 1964, when the Colombian Army firebombed a small, independent farming commune in the northern Andes. But many historians maintain that the FARC’s revolution is better understood as a continuation of the internecine bloodletting unleashed by the Conservative and Liberal Parties a decade earlier. La Violencia (The Violence), as the period became known, was itself a continuation of the successive civil wars that raged throughout the first century of the Colombian nation-state’s existence—which, in turn, were a continuation of the discord sowed during Spanish colonization.”

•  Colombia’s Road to Peace Marred by Multiple Obstacles
The Barre Montpelier Times Argus, September 28, 2016
“The contrast couldn’t be more dramatic: As Colombia’s president and the head of its largest guerrilla movement were putting their signatures on a historic peace deal, a 6-year-old boy was killed when he chased a soccer ball into a field and stepped on a land mine left behind during the half-century conflict.”

•  La tarea titánica de cumplir con el punto agrario
Verdad Abierta, 28 de septiembre de 2016
“Lograr una Reforma Rural Integral, como lo promete el primer punto del Acuerdo Final de Paz, tendrá como retos la coherencia en la política agraria, voluntad institucional y cero corrupción. La implementación tendrá que superar el papel. Primera entrega de cinco artículos de análisis sobre los puntos acordados entre el gobierno nacional y la guerrilla de las FARC.”

•  La Policía del posconflicto tendrá una estrategia con enfoque regional
El Tiempo, 27 de septiembre de 2016
“Los nuevos retos que plantea el fin de un conflicto de más de 50 años, sellado ayer oficialmente con la firma del Acuerdo Final de Paz entre el Gobierno y la guerrilla de las FARC, llevaron a la Policía Nacional a replantear su estrategia de seguridad en las ciudades y en el campo.”

•  To Be a Guerrilla, and a Woman, in Colombia
Megan Alpert, The Atlantic, September 28, 2016
“The country’s historic peace deal means thousands of female fighters are giving up their weapons. But what happens then?”

•  Colombia’s 52-Year War Is Ending. Now Comes the Hard Part
Federico Rios Escobar & Nicholas Casey, The New York Times, September 30, 2016
“With the war over, the rebel fighters must now decide how to reintegrate into Colombian society. Some are preparing to run for office. Others simply are planning to head home to towns and villages that some of them have not visited for years, where they will seek a start as farmers or tradespeople.”

•  A FARC Rebel on Life in War-Torn Colombia
Nick Miroff, The Washington Post, September 30, 2016
“Do you know what it’s like to spend 20 years at war? After joining the Colombian rebels at age 14, Yurluey Mendoza will finally be coming out of the jungle.”

•  Challenges Remain for Colombia Following Signing of Historic Peace Deal
Mimi Yagoub, InSight Crime, September 27, 2016
“Colombia has finally signed a peace deal with the oldest insurgency in the Western Hemisphere. But with the country’s criminal economies as strong as ever, the armed conflict is far from over.”

•  UN Official to Monitor Colombia Peace Tribunals Closely
Joshua Goodman, The Washington Post, September 29, 2016
“The top U.N. human rights official said Thursday he will closely watch how special peace tribunals set up under Colombia’s peace accord operate, to ensure people who committed serious war crimes during the long conflict are held accountable.”

•  FARC Guerrilla Leader: Colombia Won’t Model Itself on Venezuela or Cuba
Jim Wyss, The Miami Herald, September 30, 2016
““What we’re proposing is advanced democracy, modern capitalism, not socialism,” said Felix Antonio Muñoz, better known as Pastor Alape, a member of the group’s governing body, Estado Mayor. “What we see in Colombia now is a capitalism that’s deformed and retrograde…If [our critics] want to call that Castro-Chávismo, then so be it,” he said.”

*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.