Showing posts tagged as "colombia"

Showing posts tagged colombia

18 Jun
Re-election secured, pressure on Santos to speed peace efforts to end Colombia’s 50-year war | Associated Press
The pressure is on President Juan Manuel Santos to accelerate peace efforts after pinning his re-election on 18-month-old negotiations to end Colombia’s half-century conflict.
Santos is promising to devote all his energies to peace. But, unlike in his first four-year term, he could face serious opposition in Congress from adherents of Alvaro Uribe, the hard-line former president viewed by many as the true challenger in Sunday’s runoff.
Santos defeated Uribe’s hand-picked candidate, former finance minister Oscar Zuluaga, winning 53 percent to 47 percent of the ballots cast for candidates. More than 600,000 voters, or 4 percent of those who turned out at polls, cast “blank” ballots as a protest.
FULL ARTICLE (AP)
Photo: Ministerio TIC Colombia/flickr

Re-election secured, pressure on Santos to speed peace efforts to end Colombia’s 50-year war | Associated Press

The pressure is on President Juan Manuel Santos to accelerate peace efforts after pinning his re-election on 18-month-old negotiations to end Colombia’s half-century conflict.

Santos is promising to devote all his energies to peace. But, unlike in his first four-year term, he could face serious opposition in Congress from adherents of Alvaro Uribe, the hard-line former president viewed by many as the true challenger in Sunday’s runoff.

Santos defeated Uribe’s hand-picked candidate, former finance minister Oscar Zuluaga, winning 53 percent to 47 percent of the ballots cast for candidates. More than 600,000 voters, or 4 percent of those who turned out at polls, cast “blank” ballots as a protest.

FULL ARTICLE (AP)

Photo: Ministerio TIC Colombia/flickr

9 Jun
Colombia’s Security Export | Wesley Tomaselli
Mexican, Brazilian and even Chilean students pull up seats in Mr. Carlos Ardila Castro’s classroom in the Escuela Superior de Guerra in Bogotá, Colombia. Lesson for the day? How to stop arms trafficking.
At 46 years old and with 23 years of military and intelligence experience under his belt as an officer in Colombia’s military, Mr. Ardila Castro is now a consultant for the United Nations. Colombia is known for exporting coffee and bananas. But Ardila Castro is a provider of Colombia’s new export to the world: war and security know-how.
“There are a substantial number of people who worked in the (Colombian) armed forces, the police … that got a ‘second life’ when they retired,” said Jorge Restrepo, Director of CERAC, a security and conflict think tank.
Colombian military and police officers are in high demand, according to Restrepo, because Colombians have faced decades of internal conflict. They’re seasoned. And they’ve got U.S. training. In the last 15 years, an estimated $8 billion in U.S. aid has gone to Columbia, in large part to fund a ferocious U.S.-backed security initiative for military and police-related training.
FULL ARTICLE (Ozy)
Photo: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff/flickr

Colombia’s Security Export | Wesley Tomaselli

Mexican, Brazilian and even Chilean students pull up seats in Mr. Carlos Ardila Castro’s classroom in the Escuela Superior de Guerra in Bogotá, Colombia. Lesson for the day? How to stop arms trafficking.

At 46 years old and with 23 years of military and intelligence experience under his belt as an officer in Colombia’s military, Mr. Ardila Castro is now a consultant for the United Nations. Colombia is known for exporting coffee and bananas. But Ardila Castro is a provider of Colombia’s new export to the world: war and security know-how.

“There are a substantial number of people who worked in the (Colombian) armed forces, the police … that got a ‘second life’ when they retired,” said Jorge Restrepo, Director of CERAC, a security and conflict think tank.

Colombian military and police officers are in high demand, according to Restrepo, because Colombians have faced decades of internal conflict. They’re seasoned. And they’ve got U.S. training. In the last 15 years, an estimated $8 billion in U.S. aid has gone to Columbia, in large part to fund a ferocious U.S.-backed security initiative for military and police-related training.

FULL ARTICLE (Ozy)

Photo: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff/flickr

20 May
Colombia: Progress Meets Politics |  Christian Voelkel
Rarely has there been more progress in a single day toward settling a five-decades-old conflict than on 16 May. In the early morning hours, Colombia’s two guerrilla groups, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the smaller National Liberation Army (ELN), announced an “electoral” ceasefire to last from 20 to 28 May. This was followed in the afternoon by the confirmation that Havana-based peace talks between the Colombian government and FARC resulted in a preliminary agreement to “solve the problem of illegal drugs”. Coming just before the sharply contested presidential vote on 25 May, these two developments could have a significant short-term political impact and, one hopes, long-term humanitarian benefits.
FULL POST (crisisgroupblogs.org)

Colombia: Progress Meets Politics |  Christian Voelkel

Rarely has there been more progress in a single day toward settling a five-decades-old conflict than on 16 May. In the early morning hours, Colombia’s two guerrilla groups, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the smaller National Liberation Army (ELN), announced an “electoral” ceasefire to last from 20 to 28 May. This was followed in the afternoon by the confirmation that Havana-based peace talks between the Colombian government and FARC resulted in a preliminary agreement to “solve the problem of illegal drugs”. Coming just before the sharply contested presidential vote on 25 May, these two developments could have a significant short-term political impact and, one hopes, long-term humanitarian benefits.

FULL POST (crisisgroupblogs.org)

3 Apr
Es el tiempo para el ELN | Christian Voelkel
Se les acaba el tiempo
El tiempo se está agotando para el Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN). La probabilidad, cada vez mayor, de que las negociaciones en La Habana pondrán fin al conflicto con las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) cambia por completo el escenario estratégico para el ELN.
Por lo tanto, si esta guerrilla no logra unirse al proceso, la presión militar, que hasta ahora se ha venido concentrando en las FARC, se enfocaría sobre ellos. Y una vez que se negocien por completo los temas en la agenda de La Habana, el ELN se vería presionado a adherirse a los resultados obtenidos con las FARC. Así que entre más tiempo quede al margen, una futura negociación con el ELN se parecerá más a un simple pacto de desmovilización, en lugar de un acuerdo de paz –idea que rechaza el ELN.
COMMENTARIO COMPLETO (Razon Publica)
Photo: Marco Suarez/Wikimedia Commons

Es el tiempo para el ELN | Christian Voelkel

Se les acaba el tiempo

El tiempo se está agotando para el Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN). La probabilidad, cada vez mayor, de que las negociaciones en La Habana pondrán fin al conflicto con las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) cambia por completo el escenario estratégico para el ELN.

Por lo tanto, si esta guerrilla no logra unirse al proceso, la presión militar, que hasta ahora se ha venido concentrando en las FARC, se enfocaría sobre ellos. Y una vez que se negocien por completo los temas en la agenda de La Habana, el ELN se vería presionado a adherirse a los resultados obtenidos con las FARC. Así que entre más tiempo quede al margen, una futura negociación con el ELN se parecerá más a un simple pacto de desmovilización, en lugar de un acuerdo de paz –idea que rechaza el ELN.

COMMENTARIO COMPLETO (Razon Publica)

Photo: Marco Suarez/Wikimedia Commons

20 Mar
Colombia: Santos define la suerte de alcalde de Bogotá en puja por su destitución | AFP
El presidente colombiano, Juan Manuel Santos, deberá definir el futuro del alcalde de Bogotá, el exguerrillero Gustavo Petro, tras una intensa puja legal por su destitución en la que intervino la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH) a favor del mandatario de la ciudad.
En una decisión de potencial riesgo para su campaña de reelección y el proceso de paz que lleva a cabo con los rebeldes de las FARC, Santos tendrá que decidir si da paso a la remoción de Petro, como dispuso la justicia colombiana, o acoge un pedido de la CIDH para suspender la destitución que ordenó un órgano de control en diciembre.
FULL ARTICLE (AFP)
Photo: Semanario Voz/flickr

Colombia: Santos define la suerte de alcalde de Bogotá en puja por su destitución | AFP

El presidente colombiano, Juan Manuel Santos, deberá definir el futuro del alcalde de Bogotá, el exguerrillero Gustavo Petro, tras una intensa puja legal por su destitución en la que intervino la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH) a favor del mandatario de la ciudad.

En una decisión de potencial riesgo para su campaña de reelección y el proceso de paz que lleva a cabo con los rebeldes de las FARC, Santos tendrá que decidir si da paso a la remoción de Petro, como dispuso la justicia colombiana, o acoge un pedido de la CIDH para suspender la destitución que ordenó un órgano de control en diciembre.

FULL ARTICLE (AFP)

Photo: Semanario Voz/flickr

26 Feb
Left in the Cold? The ELN and Colombia’s Peace Talks
Bogotá/Brussels  |   26 Feb 2014
Bringing the National Liberation Army (ELN) into the current round of negotiations is vital for durable peace.
In its latest report, Left in the Cold? The ELN and Colombia’s Peace Talks, the International Crisis Group examines the opportunities for talks between Bogotá and the National Liberation Army (ELN). As the Havana-based peace talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Colombia’s largest guerrilla group, look increasingly promising, pressure is growing to open a separate, but coordinated, negotiation with the ELN. Yet getting there is proving difficult. The ELN thinks the government needs to make an overture or risk ongoing conflict; the government believes the ELN must show flexibility or risk being left out. But delay is in neither’s long-term interest. They should open negotiations soonest.
The report’s major findings and recommendations are:
Although weakened, the ELN is not close to defeat. Stronger involvement in the drug economy and illegal mining has helped it resist military pressure and even begin a tentative recovery.
Postponing negotiations with the ELN until after a deal with FARC has been reached might appear attractive but would not be prudent, as continuation of the conflict would then risk undermining implementation of a possible FARC deal.
Even more than the government, the ELN has an interest in engaging in talks soon. Failure to do so would expose the organisation to escalating military operations, growing pressure to adhere to outcomes reached only with FARC and ever fewer possibilities to negotiate issues beyond the terms of its own demobilisation.
ELN demands for a wide agenda and broad social participation in talks are at odds with the Havana template’s narrow and confidential focus. Nonetheless, common ground exists, and an agenda focusing on transitional justice, political participation and (the ELN’s core grievance) exploitation of natural resources should not be beyond reach.
“How the ELN handles this situation will shape more than its own path. Continuing and potentially intensifying warfare in ELN strongholds would above all be a tragedy for communities that have already suffered decades of violence”, says Christian Voelkel, Crisis Group’s Colombia/Andes Analyst. “And without the second insurgency on board, the government’s stated goal of ending the conflict would remain elusive”.
“While both sides have incentives to move expeditiously to formal negotiations, the way forward will not be easy”, says Javier Ciurlizza, Crisis Group’s Latin America Program Director. “Audacity, creativity and pragmatism are needed from all if the ELN is not to miss what could be its last chance to exit gracefully from armed conflict, and Colombia is to seize its chance of achieving sustainable peace”.
FULL REPORT

Left in the Cold? The ELN and Colombia’s Peace Talks

Bogotá/Brussels  |   26 Feb 2014

Bringing the National Liberation Army (ELN) into the current round of negotiations is vital for durable peace.

In its latest report, Left in the Cold? The ELN and Colombia’s Peace Talks, the International Crisis Group examines the opportunities for talks between Bogotá and the National Liberation Army (ELN). As the Havana-based peace talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Colombia’s largest guerrilla group, look increasingly promising, pressure is growing to open a separate, but coordinated, negotiation with the ELN. Yet getting there is proving difficult. The ELN thinks the government needs to make an overture or risk ongoing conflict; the government believes the ELN must show flexibility or risk being left out. But delay is in neither’s long-term interest. They should open negotiations soonest.

The report’s major findings and recommendations are:

Although weakened, the ELN is not close to defeat. Stronger involvement in the drug economy and illegal mining has helped it resist military pressure and even begin a tentative recovery.

Postponing negotiations with the ELN until after a deal with FARC has been reached might appear attractive but would not be prudent, as continuation of the conflict would then risk undermining implementation of a possible FARC deal.

Even more than the government, the ELN has an interest in engaging in talks soon. Failure to do so would expose the organisation to escalating military operations, growing pressure to adhere to outcomes reached only with FARC and ever fewer possibilities to negotiate issues beyond the terms of its own demobilisation.

ELN demands for a wide agenda and broad social participation in talks are at odds with the Havana template’s narrow and confidential focus. Nonetheless, common ground exists, and an agenda focusing on transitional justice, political participation and (the ELN’s core grievance) exploitation of natural resources should not be beyond reach.

“How the ELN handles this situation will shape more than its own path. Continuing and potentially intensifying warfare in ELN strongholds would above all be a tragedy for communities that have already suffered decades of violence”, says Christian Voelkel, Crisis Group’s Colombia/Andes Analyst. “And without the second insurgency on board, the government’s stated goal of ending the conflict would remain elusive”.

“While both sides have incentives to move expeditiously to formal negotiations, the way forward will not be easy”, says Javier Ciurlizza, Crisis Group’s Latin America Program Director. “Audacity, creativity and pragmatism are needed from all if the ELN is not to miss what could be its last chance to exit gracefully from armed conflict, and Colombia is to seize its chance of achieving sustainable peace”.

FULL REPORT

8 Nov
Check out Crisis Group’s Weekly Update, a summary of everything we have published over the past week.

Check out Crisis Group’s Weekly Update, a summary of everything we have published over the past week.

7 Nov
A Step Forward in Colombia Talks | Latin America Crime & Politics
The Colombian government and negotiators for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) agreed on Wednesday 6 November that FARC would be able to participate in democratic politics once a final peace agreement is ratified. Javier Ciurlizza, Latin America Program Director, discusses the implications of this advance in the negotiations.
Q: What is the significance of the announced agreement between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) on political participation?
This partial agreement provides a much-needed boost for a peace process besieged by public scepticism, spoilers and the uncertain will of the FARC to really move forward. There was fear that talks had stalled after the first breakthrough agreement (on rural development) five months ago. (See Christian Voelkel’s 18 October post.) Political participation is one of the most sensitive and difficult issues for the parties to agree on, so it is remarkable that they have managed to make such progress on the specifics of FARC participation in Colombian democratic politics and on other forms of political participation and guarantees.
FULL ARTICLE (Crisis Group Blogs)
Photo: Reuters

A Step Forward in Colombia Talks | Latin America Crime & Politics

The Colombian government and negotiators for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) agreed on Wednesday 6 November that FARC would be able to participate in democratic politics once a final peace agreement is ratified. Javier Ciurlizza, Latin America Program Director, discusses the implications of this advance in the negotiations.

Q: What is the significance of the announced agreement between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) on political participation?

This partial agreement provides a much-needed boost for a peace process besieged by public scepticism, spoilers and the uncertain will of the FARC to really move forward. There was fear that talks had stalled after the first breakthrough agreement (on rural development) five months ago. (See Christian Voelkel’s 18 October post.) Political participation is one of the most sensitive and difficult issues for the parties to agree on, so it is remarkable that they have managed to make such progress on the specifics of FARC participation in Colombian democratic politics and on other forms of political participation and guarantees.

FULL ARTICLE (Crisis Group Blogs)

Photo: Reuters

Farc rebels and Colombian government reach deal over political participation | Sibylla Brodzinsky
For the first time in their 50-year struggle, Colombia’s leftist Farc rebels have agreed to give up the use of violence to reach their political ends in exchange for full participation in democratic politics – a major breakthrough in peace talks between one of the oldest guerrilla movements in the world and the government of Juan Manuel Santos.
Farc and government negotiators, who have been meeting in Havana for a year, announced the partial agreement on Wednesday on the political participation of the guerrillas, which would take effect only once a broader agreement to end the country’s conflict was reached.
FULL ARTICLE (The Guardian) 
Photo: Marco Andre Lima/Wikimedia Commons

Farc rebels and Colombian government reach deal over political participation | Sibylla Brodzinsky

For the first time in their 50-year struggle, Colombia’s leftist Farc rebels have agreed to give up the use of violence to reach their political ends in exchange for full participation in democratic politics – a major breakthrough in peace talks between one of the oldest guerrilla movements in the world and the government of Juan Manuel Santos.

Farc and government negotiators, who have been meeting in Havana for a year, announced the partial agreement on Wednesday on the political participation of the guerrillas, which would take effect only once a broader agreement to end the country’s conflict was reached.

FULL ARTICLE (The Guardian) 

Photo: Marco Andre Lima/Wikimedia Commons

24 Oct

We’re just wrapping up day 1 of our Global Briefing event. We’ve had fascinating discussions covering topics such as the EU and conflict prevention to tension in the China seas and stability in the Sahel.