It's a crucial time for Colombia with presidential elections slated for this Sunday and ongoing peace talks between the government and FARC guerrillas continuing in Havana, Cuba.
According to the ICRC's head of delegation in Bogotá, Jordi Raich, the country is at a crossroads – poised on the verge of five per cent economic growth, shrinking poverty, and the potential to put an end to half a century of war. The sad paradox, however, is that the peace agreement so many people are hoping for could result in an uptick in violence as criminal gangs move in to fill the void left by the armed opposition. Meanwhile, those hopes for peace are also tempered by fighting that continues unabated on the ground.
As highlighted in a new ICRC report, people are still being murdered and go missing everyday. An estimated 5.4 million remain displaced by the conflict. Sexual assault and threats are commonplace, and the country is littered with landmines and other deadly remnants of war. During a recent visit to Washington DC, where he met officials, legislators, and policy makers to discuss the ICRC's humanitarian concerns, Jordi sat down with Intercross to explain why – despite all of these challenges – he remains optimistic about Colombia's future. Watch the video below and for personal stories of people living in the midst of Colombia's armed conflict, click here.