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23 Oct 2010 description
report Colombia Journal

By Kyle Johnson =B7 October 23, 2010

The current government of Juan Manuel Santos is playing the same game as the previous Colombian government: argue that demobilization is the same as peace and declare that war is the way to achieve peace. Oddly enough, Vice-President Angelino Garzón has said that the doors are open for dialogue only when the guerrillas decide that they are truly interested in peace. This, though, is not a contradiction in positions.

01 Oct 2010 description
report Colombia Journal

By Garry Leech =B7 October 1, 2010The recent death of FARC commander Jorge Briceño, also known as Mono Jojoy, has led many so-called experts to espouse their opinions on the implications of this development for the guerrilla group.

21 Sep 2009 description
report Colombia Journal

By Garry Leech

Marco Tulio Pérez arrived in the remote Afro-Colombian community of Libertad in 2000. One of his first acts was to organize a beauty pageant for local girls between 15 and 18 years of age. But this pageant was to be much more than just another example of a community engaging in one of Colombia's favorite pastimes because Pérez, also known as "el Oso" (the Bear), was the new leader of the right-wing paramilitaries in Libertad.

03 Aug 2009 description
report Colombia Journal

By Gary Leech

The Tercer Milenio Park is located only blocks from Colombia's presidential palace in the center of Bogotá and offers respite from the chaotic city to local residents. But for the past four months, it has also been a refuge from the country's rural violence for more than one thousand displaced persons. In March, displaced people from every corner of Colombia occupied the central Plaza Bolívar to protest the government's failure to combat forced displacement and to address the needs of internal refugees.

19 Jan 2009 description
report Colombia Journal

by Rachel Godfrey Wood

Colombians could be forgiven for waking up in the year 2009 with a slightly larger hangover than the guayabo usually associated with drinking too much aguardiente during the festive season. The country now faces the challenge of moving on from arguably the most momentous year in its modern history.

15 Oct 2008 description
report Colombia Journal

by Mario A. Murillo

More than 12,000 indigenous activists and representatives of other popular and social sectors of southern Colombia have congregated in the "Territory of Peace and Coexistence" in La Maria Piendamó in Cauca and are confronting a massive presence of state security forces who have been ordered to dislodge them.

23 Jun 2008 description
report Colombia Journal

By: Garry Leech

By the end of a meeting held last week by members of Colombia's Polo Democrático Alternativo, it had become increasingly likely that the party was going to split into two separate entities at some point in the not too distant future, according to one party member. Many of the more moderate members, led by former Bogotá mayor Luis Eduardo 'Lucho' Garzón, appear to be leaning towards abandoning the Polo and establishing a new party.

01 Jun 2008 description
report Colombia Journal

by Garry Leech

In a civil conflict such as the one in Colombia, propaganda is an important weapon. It is difficult for journalists and analysts to independently investigate the reality on the ground and so statistics and information are obtained from a variety of sources in order to draw conclusions. However, the mainstream media in the United States is often over-reliant on two sources: Colombian and US government officials. Not surprisingly then, it is the perspectives of the Colombian and US governments that inevitably dominate most news reports.

31 Mar 2008 description
report Colombia Journal

by Garry Leech

It happens time and time again. Following the killing of Colombian peasants, the government immediately blames guerrillas from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the mainstream media in both Colombia and the United States dutifully report the allegations. In most cases, evidence later emerges showing that the Colombian military or its right-wing paramilitary allies were the actual perpetrators of the crime.

03 Mar 2008 description
report Colombia Journal

by James J. Brittain and R. James Sacouman

A few weeks after the Ecuadorian and Venezuelan state called on the Colombian government to respect the need for peace and negotiation with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People's Army (FARC-EP), the administration of President Álvaro Uribe Vélez supported an extensive armed air and land assault against the insurgency movement-not within Colombia's borders, but rather on the sovereign territory of Ecuadorian soil.

22 Oct 2007 description
report Colombia Journal

by Terry Gibbs

Many Colombian women on the political left see their daily participation in community and peasant organizations, social movements, and armed revolutionary groups as intimately bound up with the society they seek to build in Colombia. A lot of these women feel the need to confront inequality and implement a more redistributive political and economic agenda, suggesting that political economy is as important to gender politics as identity.

12 Jul 2007 description
report Colombia Journal

by Garry Leech

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a peasant-based guerrilla army with an estimated 18,000 fighters, has been waging war against the Colombian government for more than 40 years. In recent years, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and US President George W. Bush have both intensified their efforts to defeat the FARC as part of the so-called war on terror. However, despite receiving more than $4.5 billion in US aid over the past six years, the Colombian government has yet to achieve a military victory.

17 May 2007 description
report Colombia Journal

by Garry Leech

It was supposed to be simple, a straightforward process of re-inserting the leaders of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) into Colombian society, thereby allowing them to enter the political arena. The original plan involved paramilitary leaders revealing the locations of mass graves and naming a few dead or jailed "rogue" politicians and military officers who had collaborated with them.

16 Apr 2007 description
report Colombia Journal

By Garry Leech

While some are holding out hope for success in the peace talks currently being conducted between the Uribe administration and the National Liberation Army (ELN), there is virtually no possibility of the current government achieving peace with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). However, there is reason to be cautiously optimistic about the possibilities for achieving peace in the next five years.

08 Jan 2007 description
report Colombia Journal

by Henry Mance

What is often called the Colombian civil war is in reality a regional conflict, heavily implicating at least Venezuela, Ecuador and Peru too. Yet despite this, there has been little in the way of a coordinated regional response. The reasons for this are complex, but much of the responsibility lies with the United States. Its approach to the region is hindering cross-border cooperation, thereby undermining economic and security prospects.

Why should we think of the conflict in regional terms?

11 Dec 2006 description
report Colombia Journal

By Garry Leech

For the most part, the United States has established the terms of the international debate on Colombia's civil conflict. Consequently, the language of war has dominated the discourse, a fact most apparent in Washington's labeling of US intervention in Colombia as a "war on drugs" and more recently a "war on terror." Prior to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against the United States, the European Union and Canada maintained a certain degree of independence with regard to their approaches to Colombia.

18 Sep 2006 description
report Colombia Journal

by Garry Leech

In early July, 64-year-old Segundo Ortiz was displaced from his land along with 1,700 other indigenous Awá in a remote jungle region in southwestern Colombia. He and many others had to walk for as long as two days to escape Colombian army operations in the region, finally seeking refuge in the small towns of Ataquer and Ricaurte. But one month later, tragedy struck the displaced Awá again when five of their leaders were dragged from their beds and shot to death on World Indigenous Day.

17 Jul 2006 description
report Colombia Journal

by Charles Geisler and Niousha Roshani

The collateral damage of war falls disproportionately on civilians, including children and adolescents. Such damage occurs with high levels of impunity and is quickly forgotten. In countries like Colombia, warfare and its displacing effects have continued for three generations. The children of displaced families are not only the victims of crime and violence, but large numbers are regularly recruited by warring factions as child combatants, thus reproducing and prolonging hostilities.

28 Nov 2005 description
report Colombia Journal

by Garry Leech

Colombia's President Alvaro Uribe has officially announced that he will run for a second term. During his first three years in office, the U.S. government and the mainstream media have repeatedly touted the successes achieved by the Colombian leader's Democratic Security and Defense Strategy. But there are several important questions related to these claims that immediately come to mind.