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Colombia News Brief June 6 to 17, 2016

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Welcome to LAWG’s Colombia News Brief, a compilation of the last two week’s top articles and reports on issues of peace, justice, human rights, and more in Colombia. Throughout the summer months, dependent on the capacity of LAWG, the Colombia News Brief will be sent out either weekly or bi-weekly.

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The Peace Process with the FARC

•   New Agreements Reached While Final Points Are Fine-Tuned in Havana
Virginia M. Bouvier, Colombia Calls, June 17, 2016
“It has been a month of steady progress at the peace table in Havana.  After completing their fiftieth cycle of peace talks on Wed., May 25, 2016, the Colombian government and the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC-EP) announced that they would remain in ‘permanent session with the goal of reaching agreements as soon as possible.’” While a “much awaited bilateral ceasefire has yet to be announced,” work moves ahead on other fronts. For instance, “on June 14, the Senate approved the Legislative Act for Peace, which included the innovative mechanism reached by the parties last month to protect the juridical integrity of a peace accord. This will ensure the government’s ability to sign a peace deal that will not be subsequently changed in Colombia.”

•   Colombia Votes to Incorporate Peace Deal into Constitution
Telesur, June 15, 2016
“Colombian lawmakers approved on Tuesday a legally binding measure that will incorporate the peace deal between the government and FARC guerrillas into the country’s constitution. The constitutional act, which was approved 52-16 will now be submitted to the Constitutional Court where it will voted on for final approval…After the agreement is approved by Congress, the Government will integrate the text into the nation’s constitution, and it will be effective the moment it is signed.”

•   Camino a la consulta popular para la paz
Alfredo Molano Jimeno, El Espectador, 8 de junio de 2016
“El debate sobre la refrendación del acuerdo final de paz entre el gobierno y la guerrilla está al rojo vivo. Las Farc piden que se haga a través de una consulta popular, el Gobierno insiste en que se haga vía plebiscito. Algunos analistas piden al alto tribunal ofrecer un camino entre estas dos formulas”.

•   Colombia’s opposition collecting signatures rejecting FARC peace deal
Adriaan Alsema, Colombia Reports, June 7, 2016
“Colombia’s conservative opposition, led by former President Alvaro Uribe, has begun collecting signatures to protest a pending peace deal with leftist FARC rebels. While such deal would end more than half a century of violence, the opposition — supported by many Colombians — feels the deal being negotiated with the FARC is too soft on guerrilla war crimes.”

•   Santos acusó a Uribe de ofrecer más a las FARC
Semana, 6 de junio de 2016
“Este fin de semana, en una entrevista en el diario ABC de España, al presidente se le requirió por el tema y la respuesta generó molestia en el uribismo. ‘Créame que nada más añoraría yo que el presidente Uribe se sumará al proceso -dijo Santos refiriéndose a la posible reconciliación-… Poseemos todas las cartas, todas las evidencias de que lo que estamos haciendo es exactamente lo que quería hacer el presidente Uribe. Inclusive él fue más allá. Él hizo ofertas que nosotros no hemos hecho’… La respuesta generó la reacción inmediata en el uribismo. El excomisionado de paz Luis Carlos Restrepo envió una comunicación en la que rechazó la insinuación del presidente de la República y explica las tres razones por las que no hubo negociaciones entre el gobierno Uribe y las FARC”.

•   President Santos Warns of Return to War if Peace Agreement is Voted Down
Andreas Michalopoulos, Modern Diplomacy, June 17, 2016
“If the peace agreement that the government of Colombia has negotiated with armed revolutionaries is voted down by the Colombian people, the country would again be plunged into conflict and the guerrillas would engage in urban warfare, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos warned in a session on the peace plan at the World Economic Forum on Latin America.”

•   Ending Colombia’s Guerrilla War, Securing the Peace
Humberto de la Calle, The Wall Street Journal, June 6, 2016
“For decades, successive Colombian governments have sought peace unsuccessfully. President Juan Manuel Santos, after decisively leading military efforts to defeat the guerrillas known as the FARC (for the Spanish name of the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia), is now leading a promising peace process. I am Colombia’s chief negotiator in the talks. The presidential peace initiative comes from strength, not weakness. An honorable agreement that respects the fundamental values of Colombia’s democracy, the rule of law and the nation’s economic system is the only way to put a definitive end to any internal conflict.”

•   El sueldo para los miembros de las Farc y otros mitos sobre el proceso de paz
María Fernanda Moreno, Loqueimporta.co via El Espectador, 7 de junio de 2016
“Por razones ideológicas, por falta de rigor al momento de buscar la información, o por un mal manejo hacia y por parte de los medios de comunicación, los colombianos han construido alrededor de los diálogos en La Habana una serie de mitos que han afectado la imagen del proceso y la búsqueda de la paz. Negociadores del gobierno acudieron a videos cortos compartidos por las redes sociales para desvirtuarlos”.

•   For Colombian guerrillas, peace doesn’t signal end of political struggle
Jim Wyss, Miami Herald, June 16, 2017
“Now, as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the government appear to be closing in on a peace deal that might end the half-century struggle, Calarcá insists his group isn’t giving up its ambitions of taking power. It’s simply trading boots for ballots.”

•   “Farc están preparadas para guerra urbana si se cae proceso”: Santos
Lupe Mouthon, El Heraldo, 17 de junio de 2016
“El presidente Juan Manuel Santos advirtió que de no aprobarse el plebiscito sobre el acuerdo de paz con la guerrilla el país ‘volverá a la guerra’ y aseguró que tiene información que las Farc estarían preparadas para regresar a una ‘guerra urbana que es mucho más demoledora que la guerra rural’. Así lo afirmó durante una sesión del Foro Económico Mundial sobre América Latina”.

•   Colombia’s latest ally in the fight against cocaine: FARC guerrillas
Jim Wyss, Miami Herald, June 10, 2016
“The Colombian government and the country’s largest guerrilla group on Friday agreed to roll out a crop-substitution program aimed at weaning tens of thousands of farmers off of coca — the raw ingredient of cocaine. The Andean nation has spent more than two decades and hundreds of millions of dollars on alternative development and crop substitution programs, but remains the world’s top cocaine producer. This, however, is the first time that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, will be partners in the process. The guerrilla’s chief negotiator, Iván Márquez, called the pilot project, which will begin next month in 10 villages near the town of Briceño, Antioquia, ‘transcendental’ and ‘new…’ The pilot project will be taking place near El Orejón, a community where the army and guerrillas have been working together for months removing landmines.”

Peacebuilding & Post-Accord Challenges

•  Securing Post-Conflict Colombia
Adam Isacson, Washington Office on Latin America, Latin American Studies Association Panel “Major Security Challenges in Colombia in 2016: An Examination of Drugs, Terrorism, and the Peace Process,” May 28, 2016
“[The expected peace accord with the FARC and peace process with the ELN] presents a tremendous window of opportunity for Colombia’s state to undo some of the conditions that have underlain both armed conflict and violent organized crime… The window of opportunity will not stay open for long. Power vacuums fill quickly, especially when control over illegal rents is at stake. Organized crime, recidivist guerrillas, corrupt local politicians, or a combination will stand in the way of road-builders, land-titlers, health and education workers, and others charged with fulfilling the commitments that the government made at the peace table in Havana, and with knitting far-flung regions and their citizens into the national political and economic fabric. These obstacles are why so many analysts predict that Colombia’s immediate post-accord period could see more violence–criminal, not political, violence–than its immediate pre-accord period.2 Time to build a state presence and establish the rule of law will be very brief in zones of historic FARC influence, and the Colombian state’s past record of implementing ambitious nationwide strategies is poor… this paper will identify elements that need more emphasis so that this blueprint, like so many others in the past, doesn’t end up sitting on a shelf in Bogotá.”

•   De víctimas a constructoras de paz
Susana Noguera Montoya, El Espectador, 5 de junio de 2016
“Mujeres que sufrieron la violencia paramilitar en los municipios de María La Baja y El Carmen de Bolívar, en el departamento de Bolívar, lograron que las alcaldías locales incluyeran en sus planes de desarrollo un artículo con el compromiso de suplir sus necesidades específicas y restituir sus derechos”.

•   Turf Wars biggest threat to post-FARC peace in Colombia: UN
Adriaan Alsema, Colombia Reports, June 13, 2016
“Violent clashes between guerrillas and paramilitary successor groups have already occurred inside FARC strongholds where they tax coca cultivators and drug traffickers. These clashes have already displaced many thousands over the past half year along the Pacific coast and in the north of the Antioquia province, both FARC strongholds disputed by the Urabeños…Once the FARC demobilizes and moves out of the territories currently under their control, and that’s a lot, the military will have to swiftly move into these territories and establish state authority before the Urabeños, the ELN or any other of Colombia’s illegal armed groups will.”

The Peace Process with the ELN

•   Arrancar por el tema humanitario: ¿una solución para destrabar la mesa con el ELN?
Maria Flores, Pacifista, 13 de junio de 2016
“Más de dos meses después de que el Gobierno y el ELN anunciaran el inicio de la fase pública de conversaciones, el proceso continúa estancado —aparentemente— por las diferencias entre las partes sobre el tema del secuestro. De momento, se sabe que el Gobierno y el ELN se reunieron el pasado 10 de mayo para intentar encontrar caminos que permitan instalar la mesa en Quito (Ecuador), tal como se tenía previsto. Según declaró ‘Pablo Beltrán’, integrante de la delegación de paz del ELN, en ese encuentro se ‘hizo un amplio intercambio sobre cómo darle una salida negociada a este impasse’ y se debatieron posibles soluciones a varios temas humanitarios, con el fin de ‘aclimatar la paz’. Transcurrido más de un mes desde ese encuentro, nada se sabe públicamente sobre el estado de la negociación. No obstante, distintos sectores de la sociedad civil se han dado a la búsqueda de soluciones”.

U.S. & International Support for Peace

•   US congressmen urge Colombia to seek peace with ELN, deal with ‘paramilitary-like groups’
Adriaan Alsema, Colombia Reports, June 8, 2016
“A group of 51 United States Congressmen urged Colombia’s government and ELN rebels to continue pursuing peace, while calling on the government to adequately address ‘paramilitary-style’ groups that have become an increasing public threat. In a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, the congressmen said that talks with the ELN ‘will play an important role in ensuring a complete end to the armed conflict’ that has been waging in Colombia since 1964.”

•   US Sees Colombian Resolve on Drug War Waning as Peace Looms
Luis Alonso Lugo, Associated Press via ABC News, June 16, 2016
“A senior U.S. official says ally Colombia has been letting down its guard in the war on drugs as it attempts to strike a peace deal with leftist rebels who have long been critical of U.S.-backed eradication efforts. William Brownfield, the State Department’s top anti-narcotics official, said in Senate testimony Thursday that Colombian government has been absorbed by negotiations with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and careful not to do anything to complicate those talks, now in their fourth year. He called a near doubling of cocaine production in Colombia over the past couple years a ‘disturbing fact.’”
 

Human Rights

•   Colombia’s Disappeared: Assessing the Search for Truth
Lisa Haugaard and Virginia M. Bouvier, Latin America Working Group Education Fund and the United States Institute of Peace, June 10, 2016
“Due to the sustained advocacy of victims, resolving the open wound of disappearances became critical to peacemaking efforts between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP) during their negotiations in Havana. On Oct. 17, they reached an agreement on disappearances, with each side making a range of commitments such as providing information on those who vanished and searching for their remains. How well is this delicate deal working out? On April 22, 2016, USIP and the Latin America Working Group Education Fund, a coalition that helps activists inform U.S. policymakers, convened experts to take stock. Each of them stressed the importance of engagement with the victims’ families and called for numerous technical improvements in the efforts to resolve the bitter legacy of Colombia’s disappearances.”

•   Displacement Rising as Colombia’s Conflict Moves into New Phase
Mimi Yagoub, InSight Crime, June 13, 2016
“Monitoring groups say displacement in Colombia is once again rising, a trend likely linked to clashes between armed groups positioning themselves to capitalize on criminal opportunities created by the expected demobilization of the country’s biggest guerrilla force. At least 225,842 people in 961 municipalities were forcibly displaced from their homes during 2015 — a 10 percent increase from the 204,832 victims recorded in 2014, according to a report by the Human Rights and Displacement Consultancy (Consultoría para los Derechos Humanos y el Desplazamiento – CODHES) and the Pluralistic Network for the Construction of Sumak Kawsay Territories (Red Pluriversitaria para la Construcción de Territorios Sumak Kawsay) that was accessed by El Espectador.”

•   Colombia sería el país con más desplazados internos del mundo
Olga Patricia Rendon M., El Colombiano, 14 de junio de 2016
“Contrario a lo que se podría pensar, que por el cese el fuego unilateral y el desescalamiento del conflicto con las Farc el desplazamiento forzado interno ha bajado, la situación es contraria. Según estimaciones de la Consultoría para los Derechos Humanos y el Desplazamiento, Codhes, y la Red Pluriversitaria para la Construcción de Territorios Sumak Kawsay, Colombia ha mantenido la tendencia al alza y hoy sería el país con más desplazados del mundo…Según sus cálculos, logrados mediante un ejercicio de contrastación de fuentes y determinación de tendencias históricas, ‘para el año 2015 se generó el desplazamiento de por lo menos 225.842 personas que llegaron a 961 municipios del país”.

•   En Bogotá se registran cinco casos de maltrato diarios a personas mayores de 60 años
Noticias RCN, June 15, 2016
“Según cifras reveladas por la administración distrital, en la capital hay 902 mil personas mayores de 60 años, de ellas 81.180 han sido víctimas de maltrato, es decir el 9% del total de la población. En consecuencia, la administración distrital anunció acciones para que las personas mayores cumplan este momento vital de manera digna, activa y feliz con una inversión de 738 mil millones de pesos en los próximos cuatro años”.

•   ¿Por qué las víctimas de El Naya no aceptan el perdón del Ejército?
Edinson Bolanos, El Espectador, 15 de junio de 2016
“En junio de 2015 el Ejército aceptó su responsabilidad en la masacre ocurrida en 2001 y pidió disculpas a las víctimas de El Naya. Sin embargo, las familias rechazan ese perdón y exigen un perdón sincero y con verdad por parte del presidente Juan Manuel Santos”.

•   ¿Se debe despenalizar la violencia intrafamiliar?
Semana, 15 de junio de 2016
“Cuando Néstor Humberto Martínez intentó convencer a los magistrados de la Corte Suprema de Justicia sobre la necesidad de descriminalizar la violencia intrafamiliar, su proposición no cayó muy bien en muchos sectores de opinión. No obstante, ante el rechazo que se produjo en muchos sectores, no fueron pocos los expertos que, desde el derecho, defendieron la tesis del candidato a la Fiscalía, que busca evitar que hombres o mujeres que acudan a los golpes para solucionar los problemas familiares terminen en la cárcel”.

•   ONU denuncia plan contra la restitución
Olga Patricia Rendon, El Colombiano, 16 de junio de 2016
“‘Lo que está ocurriendo contra la Ley de restitución de tierras es una campaña de desprestigio’, así calificó Todd Howland, representante de la Oficina del Alto Comisionado de la ONU para los Derechos Humanos en Colombia, los recientes hechos contra los jueces de restitución y campesinos reclamantes de tierras”…. “La preocupación del vocero de la ONU para Colombia es que estas prácticas antirrestitución no son hechos aislados sino que, al parecer, obedecen a una estrategia para estigmatizar y revictimizar a los campesinos que fueron desplazados o despojados”.

Afro-Colombian & Indigenous Rights

•   Representatives of Colombia’s Ethnic Groups to be Welcomed in Havana by Peace Negotiators: A Balanced Analysis
International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights, June 3, 2016
“The International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights celebrates the joint statement #73 published on June 2 by the Colombian government and FARC guerrillas, where they announced that on June 21 and 22 they will welcome in Havana representatives of Colombia’s ethnic groups, ‘with the objective of helping to ensure the ethnic, territorial and differential approach in the implementation of the agreements about the different points of the agenda and in this dimension consolidate the respect and protection of ethnic and cultural diversity’… The opening of this space responds to the requests for participation that have been made by sectors within these groups since negotiations began, including the National Afro-Colombian Council for Peace (CONPA) and the Ethnic Commission for Peace and the Defense of Territorial Rights, coalitions that group hundreds of thousands of Afro-Colombians and indigenous impacted by the armed conflict. In an advocacy campaign based on a rigorous analysis of the Accords, these groups have offered specific proposals to correct omissions regarding an adequate differential ethnic approach… In today’s statement, neither CONPA nor the Ethnic Commission are explicitly named as participants in the delegations that will travel to Cuba. Having closely followed these groups’ work and attesting to their broad legitimacy with grassroots and community organizations, the Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights expresses its hope that the Negotiating Table will guarantee their participation in the delegation.”

•   Representantes de grupos étnicos serán recibidos por Mesa de Negociación: Alcances y Limitaciones Bogotá
Instituto Internacional sobre raza, Igualdad y Derechos Humanos, 3 de junio de 2016
“El Instituto Internacional sobre raza, Igualdad y Derechos Humanos celebra el comunicado conjunto #73 publicado el día 2 de junio entre el gobierno colombiano y las FARC-EP donde anunciaron que recibirán a representantes de los grupos étnicos el 20 y 21 de junio… La apertura de este espacio responde a las solicitudes de participación que sectores de estos grupos han venido realizando desde el inicio de las negociaciones. Especialmente, el Consejo Nacional de Paz Afrocolombiano (CONPA) y la Comisión Étnica para la Paz y la Defensa de los Derechos Territoriales, que son plataformas que agrupan cientos de miles afrocolombianos e indígenas que han sido impactados por el conflicto armado. Con base en un trabajo de incidencia, respaldado por análisis profundos sobre los Acuerdos, han venido ofreciendo propuestas específicas para corregir la omisión que estos tienen de un enfoque diferencial étnico adecuado… En el comunicado del día de hoy, el CONPA y la Comisión Étnica no son nombrados explícitamente como participantes del grupo que asistirá. El Instituto sobre Raza, Igualdad y Derechos Humanos, que ha seguido de cerca su labor y conoce de su amplia legitimidad frente a las comunidades y organizaciones de base, espera que la Mesa de La Habana garantice su participación”.

•   Colombia: UN experts urge protection of Afro-Colombian communities against elevating violence
UN News Centre, June 15, 2016
“Distressed over reports of violence against people of African descent in Colombia, a United Nations expert panel has called on the authorities to take concrete and urgent measures to protect the country’s Afro-Colombian communities.While acknowledging ongoing efforts by the Government, the human rights expert emphasized that much more work is required to address the situation. ‘The Colombian Government must take effective action to guarantee the safety of their communities, undertake full and impartial investigations into the threats and bring all those responsible to justice,’ Mr. Sunga underlined.”

The Paramilitary Threat & Organized Crime

•   Ex-Pablo Escobar enforcer who killed 300 seeks new career as YouTube star
Sybilla Brodzinsky, The Guardian, June 8, 2016
“During his time as Pablo Escobar’s most feared enforcer, the man known as Popeye killed around 300 people, ordered the murder of thousands more, and masterminded some 200 car bombs during the Medellín cartel’s war against its rivals and the Colombian state. Now, after more than two decades in prison, John Jairo Velásquez is attempting to recast himself as a YouTube star. Through his channel Popeye Arrepentido (Remorseful Popeye), Velásquez says he is trying to warn young people away from a life of crime – but his newfound celebrity has caused distress and offence to some relatives of his victims.”

•   Kidnapping, a crime going virtually extinct in Colombia
Adriaan Alsema, Colombia Reports, June 7, 2016
“While leftist guerrilla groups like the FARC and ELN used to be the main culprit of kidnappings in Colombia, this role has now almost entirely been taken over by common criminals, but also they are losing ground. The FARC officially ended kidnapping in 2012. The ELN has so far refused to do so, but has been reduced in size to such an extent that it no longer has the capacity to carry out kidnappings on a large scale. However, small criminal gangs and individuals have continued kidnapping for extortion purposes like they always have albeit to a considerably lesser extent, according to statistics released by the Anti-Kidnapping and Extortion Unit (GAULA) of Colombia’s National Police.”

•   El Epl, a la conquista de la coca del Catatumbo
Verdadabierta.com, June 14, 2016
“Se vino el apaciguamiento de las Farc por las negociaciones de paz en la Habana con el gobierno nacional y el Eln y el Epl empezaron a hacer de las suyas. Los que más han aprovecha este momento son Los ‘Pelusos’ (como ahora identifican al Epl), que iniciaron un proceso de expansión. Este grupo armado ilegal, al que el gobierno no le reconoce estatus de guerrilla y lo cataloga como banda narcotraficante, es el que viene ganando terreno…La situación no es fácil para los pobladores del Catatumbo. Si bien hay un aliciente en los diálogos con las Farc en La Habana y una eventual negociación con el Eln, todo ello podría generar falsas expectativas si el gobierno nacional no apoya las iniciativas regionales de desarrollo que desde allí se impulsan y se contrarrestan con contundencia los nuevos fenómenos criminales que hoy representan ‘Los Pelusos’”.

•   Colombia abate a otro comandante de nivel medio de Los Urabeños
Sean Tjaden, InSight Crime, 15 de junio de 2016
“El anuncio de las autoridades colombianas según el cual otro importante comandante de nivel medio de Los Urabeños [Gonzalo “Moná” Oquendo Urrego] fue abatido durante el fin de semana pasado indica que el gobierno sigue ejerciendo presión sobre el grupo criminal, aunque los altos mandos del mismo han logrado eludir la enorme operación de seguridad contra ellos”.

•   Crime Groups Win in Colombia – Venezuela Border Closure
Mimi Yagoub, InSight Crime, June 16, 2016
“Nearly 10 months ago, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro announced that the country was shutting down its border with Colombia. Since then, former paramilitary groups (also known as ‘bandas criminales’ – BACRIM) in the Colombian department of Norte de Santander have become more powerful than ever, according to an investigation by La Silla Vacia. ‘The new form of income for the BACRIM on the border is the extortion of smugglers,’ the director of Progresar Foundation, Wilfredo Cañizares, told La Silla Vacía. ‘It’s generating exorbitant earnings.’”

Social Protest, Strikes & Occupations

•   This is What Happens When You Ignore Us: Striking Colombians
Nick MacWilliam, Telesur, June 3, 2016
“The agrarian strike which has ignited across Colombia is rooted in the historic marginalization and repression of Indigenous, rural and Afro-Colombian communities and the state’s failure to fulfill promises made after earlier displays of popular mobilization. Much of the country is now at a standstill in what could be merely the first phase of the uprising, widely known as the Minga. It began Monday. By Tuesday several of Colombia’s highways were blocked, restricting access to zones across the country. In some places it was cut off completely. This is not the first time Colombia has mobilized to demand the government meet its social and political obligations, but it is the largest Minga to date. And nobody knows when it will end.”

•   Colombia strike organizers ask for international protection after 3 killed and 200 injured in rural protests
Adriaan Alsema, Colombia Reports, June 7, 2016
“Spokesmen of of a week-long uprising of tens of thousands of small farmers and minorities in Colombia’s countryside called for international protection after three protesters were killed, more than 200 injured and 100 were arrested. According to the Cumbre Agraria, a social organization negotiating improved conditions in the countryside with the government, called in the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights to send observers. The protest leaders say that clashes between riot police and protests that were meant to be peaceful left already three protesters dead, another 202 injured and more than 100 people in jail. The organization asked the IACHR for protection status in an attempt to curb police violence.”
 
•   ACSN Condemns Repression of Protestors, Urges Dialogue
Afro-Colombian Solidarity Network, June 6, 2016
“A week ago a number of national and local organizations in Colombia – among them Afro-descendant organizations, agrarian organizations and Colombia’s National Indigenous Organization (ONIC) – began an historic national strike. The protest is a response to the Colombian government’s failure to honor its commitments to agrarian reform, and a call for the government to protect the rights of indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities. Peaceful protestors have been met with brutal repression. The Escuadrón Móvil Antidisturbios (ESMAD) has used extreme force against these peaceful protesters, which has resulted in the death of three indigenous community members, and the injury of countless others. The government has also refused to engage in serious dialogue with leaders and has instead decided to remove protestors from the main roads in some regions in the country.”

•   Two Hundred Indigenous U’wa Occupy Gas Plant in Colombia
Charlie Satow, Intercontinental Cry, June 14, 2016
“Two hundred Indigenous U’wa men, women, and children have occupied Colombian state oil company Ecopetrol’s Gibraltar I gas plant south of the Colombia-Venezuela border in Norte de Santander department, to demand that the government honour an agreement dating back to May 1, 2014. After waiting two years for the government to follow through on the agreement, which includes full recognition of the U’wa’s ancestral territory and the clean-up of reserves affected by oil spills, the U’wa occupied the gas plant on May 31, 2016.”


*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.

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