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Conflict in Context: Colombia

The Colombian government is currently in talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, FARC) in Havana to negotiate an end to nearly 50 years of civil war. Whether or not a peace agreement is signed in the imminent future, the longstanding impacts of the conflict will remain.

This series will explore the dimensions of the Colombian conflict and the prospects for peace. How will the roots of the violence resurface and in what space? And what are the wider implications for Latin America and Colombia’s relationship with the US?


What role for a truth commission in Colombia?

While a positive step in negotiations between warring parties, what are the limits of uncovering the dark truths of Colombia's conflict? 

Military immunity: Colombia's moment of choice

Will Colombia force its military to face up to its past human rights abuses?  

Colombia: the year of peace?

The unilateral ceasefire signed by the FARC last December is a historic and positive step towards a permanent peace, but questions remain. From openDemocracy.

The body of Colombian women is a battleground

A catalogue of sexual violence has accompanied the armed conflict in Colombia. The peace talks must not brush it under the carpet.

Organized crime, Colombia's peace spoiler?

Now that the main potential impediment to a peace deal–a change in government–is out of the picture, it is time to start tackling other threats, not just to securing the agreement, but also to its implementation.

Uncovering Colombia's systems of macro-criminality

While transitional justice initiatives have traditionally shied away from dismantling the system, Colombia's Justice and Peace Law has taken the first steps towards exposing the political and economic roots of paramilitarism, and the deep state tangled around them. Español.

Drugs and the peace process in Colombia: a moderate radical step

The third point of agreement reached in the Havana negotiations may finally pave the way for the gradual end to the “war on drugs”, and defuse one of the issues – the drug trade – that has most hindered peace in Colombia.

The national security blindspot in Colombia's FOI law

A new transparancy law guarantees Colombian citizens greater access to information on public spending, but corruption in the defence sector and links to organised crime still remain obscured, and matters of 'national security' are exempt altogether.  

Counting the cost of conflict

Casualty recording has redefined efforts to protect civilians in conflict, and provide aid and accountability to victims of violence. But with an absence of political will to respond to conflict, what good are the numbers? 

The shadowy hijacking of Bogota’s democracy

The Santos regime finally (and illegally) removed one of the few honest politicians in Colombiathe democratically elected, socialist Mayor Gustavo Petrofrom office last Thursday, after only two years of a full four-year term of office.

Truth is the legacy we want

An op-ed from six youth activists in countries where official truth seeking initiatives are underway or being demanded reveals commonalities in the search for dignity, truth and acknowledgment of crimes. 

Back to basics for Colombia's rebels

As on-going peace talks in Havana address narco-trafficking amidst Colombia's continued economic growth, remnants of the FARC are more likely to turn to what were once the very seeds of the rebel movements: social banditry. 

EE UU y Colombia: construyendo un modelo exportable de seguridad

El laboratorio del Plan Colombia ha ayudado a EE UU a desarrollar su modelo de "estabilización" para operaciones de contrainsurgencia. Con un potencial acuerdo de paz con las FARC en el horizonte, ¿cuál puede ser el futuro de las sobredimensionadas fuerzas armadas colombianas? English

The US and Colombia: building an exportable model of security

Through the laboratory of Plan Colombia, the US has developed its 'stabalization' model for counter insurgency operations. With a peace agreement with the FARC on the horizon, what is the future for Colombia's overinflated military? Español.

Hacia una paz duradera: Reformando las políticas de drogas en Colombia

Un grupo de expertos ofrecen 11 recomendaciones a los negociadores del gobierno colombiano y las FARC para tratar el tema de la reforma a las políticas de drogas en el marco del actual proceso de paz, con el fin de crear una paz duradera. English

Towards a lasting peace: reforming drug policy in Colombia

A group of experts offer 11 recommendations Colombian and FARC negotiators can use to address and reform drug policy alongside negotiations for a lasting peace. Español

Understanding the Colombia connection

An exclusive clip from the The Colombia Connection, a documentary that explores the history and human costs of US intervention in Colombia and its nearly 50 year old conflict. Video

Los mortales costos del “libre comercio”

Mientras grupos paramilitares luchan por el control de los puertos en Buenaventura, la violencia y desplazamiento internal es un fuerte recuerdo de la fuerza brutal en las manos de grupos paramilitarios en Colombia, y el legado del comercio libre en America Latina. English.

The deadly wages of “free trade”

As armed paramilitary groups battle for control of the ports in Buenaventura, the growing violence and internal displacement is a stark reminder of the brutal hand of paramilitary groups in Colombia and the legacy of free trade in Latin America. Español.

Colombia's peace process: three challenges

As peace talks begin between the FARC and the Colombian government, military victory is still espoused as a final solution by some, while other recall when past negotiations have failed. But there is historical success to learn from too.

The Patriotic March and the struggle for peace in Colombia

A powerful new political movement bringing rural and urban Colombian civil society onto a common platform poses the real possibility for sustainable peacebuilding in Colombia. The reaction of the government to its emergence will be a path-setting moment.

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