Colombian government, FARC rebels conclude another peace talks round; no deal on land issues.
By Andrea Rodriguez
The Associated Press
Colombia's government and largest guerrilla army closed another round of peace talks Thursday without reaching a much-anticipated deal on agrarian reform, the first of six agenda points for negotiations taking place in Havana. Lead government negotiator Humberto de la Calle said his team and its counterparts from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, will recess as planned and resume negotiations April 2. He expressed optimism that the two sides will be able to wrap up land discussions swiftly and move on to the second item on the agenda.
"The conversations are advancing about as could be expected," de la Calle said. Expectations had been high that an initial agreement was imminent on land issues, which were the root cause of Colombia's five-decade armed conflict. (read more)
Colombia rebels say peace requires social 'justice'
March 20, 2013
Colombia's leftist FARC rebels said Wednesday that an end to Latin America's longest-running armed conflict would only come about as a result of policies providing for social "justice."
The Colombian government has been holding talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in Cuba since November in a bid to end a conflict that began as a peasant revolt against inequality in the 1960s.
"The government should not forget that peace cannot be reduced to an end to the military confrontation or the demobilization of the insurgency. Peace is the fruit of justice," said Jesus Santrich, a rebel delegate to the talks. (read more)
FARC piden reconocimiento del derecho a la tierra de los indígenas.
Por: EFE - Bogotá | 11/03/13
Las Farc acudieron este lunes a una nueva ronda de negociaciones de paz con el Gobierno de Colombia con palabras de homenaje al fallecido presidente de Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, y una nueva batería de propuestas sobre el derecho a la tierra de las comunidades indígenas y afrodescendientes.
A su llegada al Palacio de Convenciones de La Habana, sede permanente del diálogo de paz colombiano, la guerrilla volvió a rendir homenaje a Chávez, al que definió como "presidente de la paz y de la hermandad latino-caribeña".
"La delegación de paz, como el conjunto de las Farc y la familia colombiana, también están de luto, que se convierte en fuerza moral para seguir adelante", señala una declaración leída por el guerrillero Seuxis Paucias Hernández, alias ‘Jesús Santrich’. (leer artículo completo)
Alias 'Jesús Santrich' en la reanudación de los diálogos de paz en La Habana.
Las FARC piden desmilitarozar estado, sociedad y el campo.
Por: AFP - Bogotá | 19/03/13
El gobierno debe avanzar en la "desmilitarización de las zonas rurales, de la sociedad y del Estado, que implique el abandono de la doctrina de la 'seguridad nacional' impuesta por el Pentágono", dijo Iván Márquez, jefe de la delegación guerrillera en el diálogo de paz en La Habana.
Márquez formuló esta propuesta a su llegada al Palacio de las Convenciones de La Habana, sede del diálogo de paz entre la guerrilla y la delegación del gobierno de Juan Manuel Santos, encabezada por el ex vicepresidente Humberto de la Calle, que se abstuvo de hacer declaraciones a la prensa.
Esta demanda de las Farc está contenida en un pliego de "nueve propuestas mínimas de Justicia social territorial y política macroeconómica para la paz", presentado en esta jornada.
Ambas delegaciones, que iniciaron las conversaciones el 19 de noviembre, discuten el problema agrario de Colombia, el primer punto de una agenda de cinco que incluye la participación política, drogas ilícitas, abandono de las armas y reparación a las víctimas.
El lunes, Santos expresó en Bogotá su confianza en alcanzar un acuerdo con las Farc antes de fin de año y firmar la paz con la principal y más antigua fuerza guerrillera del país.
"Es un proceso de paz que tiene al mundo entero pendiente", dijo Santos, y agregó que "por eso somos optimistas de que si seguimos como vamos, vamos a lograr, ojalá, la paz en este país, Dios quiera, antes de finalizar el año, si las cosas se dan como queremos que se den".
Colombie : explosion mortelle attribuée aux FARC avant la reprise des pourparlers de paix.
Le Monde.fr avec AFP
Deux soldats ont été tués et deux enfants grièvement blessés dimanche 10 mars dans l'explosion d'un engin piégé dans le nord-ouest de la Colombie, un attentat attribué à la guérilla des FARC, avant la reprise des pourparlers de paix avec le gouvernement, ont annoncé lundi les autorités locales.
L'explosion s'est produite dans un secteur rural de San Andrés de Cuerquia, une localité d'environ 7 000 habitants située à 560 kilomètres de Bogota, dans la province d'Antioquia. "Les soldats ont perdu la vie après l'activation d'un explosif déclenché à distance par un téléphone portable", a indiqué son maire, Oscar Sepúlveda. Deux enfants, des cousins de 4 et 11 ans, ont également été blessés à la tête, aux jambes et au thorax. Ils ont été transportés dans "un état grave" à l'hôpital de Medellin, la capitale de la province, a-t-il précisé.
L'attentat a été attribué, selon l'élu, à la guérilla d'extrême gauche des Forces armées révolutionnaires de Colombie (FARC), la principale rébellion du pays qui mène actuellement des négociations de paix avec le gouvernement, mais sans cessez-le-feu. "Les autorités ont lancé les poursuites contre ces guérilleros", a affirmé M. Sepulveda.
Cette explosion survient à la veille de la reprise des pourparlers qui se déroulent depuis novembre à La Havane, dans l'espoir de sceller la paix avec la rébellion la plus ancienne d'Amérique latine, dont les effectifs sont estimés à 8 000 combattants. Né il y a près d'un demi-siècle, le conflit colombien, mêlant plusieurs guérillas communistes, des groupes paramilitaires d'extrême droite et des bandes de narcotrafiquants, a fait quelque 600 000 morts, 15 000 disparus et près de 4 millions de déplacés.
BOGOTA, March 7 (UPI) -- Colombia's Judicial Court has convicted a former congressman for his involvement in a paramilitary massacre of 43 civilians in 1988, officials said.
Colombia Reports said Cesar Perez was found guilty Wednesday and is awaiting sentencing. He is expected to receive 25 to 30 years in prison.
An ex-paramilitary leader, Negro Vladimir, accused the former congressman of financing the massacre in Segovia to gain political control of the area, Colombia Reports said.
The massacre came after the leftist Union Patriotica party won elections in Segovia in 1988.
"He [Perez] asked Henry de Jesus Perez and Fidel Castano to remove the leftists from Segovia, a municipality where the majority supported the Union Patriotica, so he could have absolute political control over the region," Vladimir said.
The massacre was not investigated until 2010, Colombia Reports said, and officials captured Perez in July of the same year.
One of the leaders of Colombia’s largest guerrilla group, the FARC, on Sunday said that they are not a drug trafficking organization and though they have entered into peace negotiations with the government, they have not relinquished their desire to “take power” and change Colombian politics.
Rodrigo Granda, considered the FARC's foreign minister, told newspaper El Colombiano that the accusations that the FARC is nothing but a drug trafficking organization "is a shame."
"We are not drug traffickers, we are an organization with clear political policy ideas and for this reason the government is obliged to sit down and talk with us. Colombia would not sit down with a group of drug traffickers, Cuba would not sit as a guarantor with a group of drug traffickers, Venezuela and Chile would not sit down with with a group of drug dealers, I don't think Norway has recieved a group of drug traffickers," said Granda, referring to the four countries who have observed the peace process thus far. (read more)
Human rights advocate killed every 5 days in Colombia: NGO
21 FEBRUARY 2013
In 2012, a human rights advocate in Colombia was reportedly assaulted every 20 hours and assassinated every five days.
The NGO "Somos Defendores" (We are Defenders) released its annual report on human rights advocacy in Colombia last week, and the news was not good.
There was a 49% increase in individual assaults on human rights advocates (HRAs) in 2012 compared to 2011, and of the total number of attacks, 19% resulted in a homicide and 14% in physical assault. While the majority of attacks came in the form of threats, 69 HRAs were murdered and 50 were beaten.
The director of Somos Defensores, Diana Sanchez, said that this was partly due to a flawed government protection strategy.
"The [government] policy focuses on physical protection [for HRAs], but protection goes far beyond the physical, and there also needs to be a focus on prevention and policy measures...[like] the research and monitoring of those actors which are targeting different sectors of society," Sanchez told Colombia Reports.
Sanchez pointed out that many of the HRAs most at risk are in remote and troubled areas, particularly the Colombian department of Nariño, Valle del Cauca, Choco, Cauca and Antioquia.
While Sanchez did state that the government has engaged -- and continues to engage -- in disucssions over how best to tackle the precarious position of HRAs in Colombia, she said that so far it has "failed to provide a political climate which prevents agression towards [human rights] leaders."
HAVANA, Nov 28 (BERNAMA-NNN-XINHUA) -- Colombia's largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), said Tuesday the ongoing peace talks with the government are making good progress.
As the closed-door negotiations in Havana entered the seventh day, FARC senior commander Jesus Santrich told reporters that the two sides had reached a deal last Sunday to support a public forum in December to discuss agrarian development, which is one of the key topics of the talks.
The decision was confirmed by a joint statement of FARC and the government announcing that the United Nations and National University of Colombia would organise a forum together on rural development in Bogota from Dec 17 to 19. On Nov 19, the two sides began negotiations on land reform in a bid to end the half-century-long conflict between the leftist rebels and state forces.
Among other issues on the five-point agenda are victim compensation, laying down arms, aiding the rebels and drug trafficking that had served as a financial source for FARC's struggle.
Colombia: Bomb blast kills 2, injures more than 30 infosurhoy 02 November 2012
BOGOTÁ, Colombia – A bomb exploded near a town square in southwestern Colombia packed with dozens of children celebrating Halloween, killing two suspects and injuring more than 30, officials said on Nov. 1. Among those wounded in Pradera in the attack blamed on the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) were 14 children, including 7- and 11-year-old boys who were taken to the hospital in critical condition with head injuries. The attack comes as the Colombian government and the FARC are engaged in peace talks aimed at ending their nearly five-decade conflict, which has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. (read more)
FARC ready for peace, top Colombia rebel says Blade France24 16 September 2012
Leftist FARC rebels are determined to reach a deal when they meet with Colombian officials in Norway next month to negotiate an end their decades-long insurgency, a senior commander said. Ricardo Tellez, often described as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia's "minister of foreign affairs," is one of five rebel negotiators seeking to reach a peace deal with the government of President Juan Manuel Santos. In an exclusive interview, Tellez said that "what we believe is that the war has to be put to an end." (read more)
Colombia has been a very unstable country since its independence, 20 July 1810. Tensions in Colombia have arisen because of the polarization between political parties, its large income distribution inequality and its long history of violence. Since 1980 violence has increased, the drug cartels have corrupted law enforcement, and the Communist FARC rebels have taken over whole areas of the country.
In Latin America after independence, latifundios (caudillos) owned huge estates. This land distribution inequality led to a large landless peasant class. Colombia has never had a government that supported the redistribution of land. The most consistent feature of the political system was the revolving door rule of just two parties, the Liberal and Conservative parties, both opposed to radical land reform. The struggle between the parties was often quite violent.
From 1946 to 1964 the period of La Violencia made Colombia one of the most violent countries in the world. It was a feudal conflict, expressed as a conflict between the political parties, but rooted in competition for power between Colombia’s leading families. On April 9, 1948 the leader of the liberal party Jorge Eliécer Gaitán was shot in the center of Bogotá. He was a populist who before joining the liberals had organized his own political party. His assassination outraged the population and massive riots broke out, called Bogotázo.
During the ensuing civil war between the conservative and liberal parties, 200,000 people were killed. The most destructive period was from 1948-53 when 50,000 people died. From the mid 1950’s to the mid 1960’s, the war took the form of “Mafia” violence, as marauding groups sought economic gain. In protest against the abuse of power from the Conservatives, Liberals abstained from a presidential election. This gave an excuse for president Ospina, who was a Conservative, to close congress and declare a state of siege. Conservatives burned the buildings of two of the most respected Liberal newspapers, El Tiempo and El Espectador. Liberals formed guerrilla units as a way to defend themselves. A coup d’état led by Gustavo Rojas Pinilla, commander of the armed forces, took power. Rojas Pinilla was considered to have a mild, brief authoritarian regime.
From 1958 to 1974, the National Front was created, a period of alternating rule of the Conservative and Liberal parties. The peace of this period created the political space for a transition to democracy in Colombia. Popularly elected bodies were equally divided as well as the cabinet and the judicial branch.
However, there was no room for other political parties, and in the 1970’s, a left wing Marxist guerrilla movement started. The National Front system ended with Conservative President Pastrana. Fraud in the ensuing elections spawned a guerrilla movement called M-19. Former president Rojas Pinilla established an opposition party, ANAPO, which gave rise as a splinter radical group that allied with M-19. They became well known for snatching the sword of Simon Bolivar from his statue and seizing the palace of Justice. However, M-19 dissolved quickly to participate in politics.
In 1966, the FARC, or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia was created with a Marxist-Leninist program. Other smaller groups were also organized, including the ELN, which was inspired by its leader, Fidel Castro, and the EPL, Ejército Popular de Liberación, which espoused Maoism. In the 1980’s, FARC’s leadership broke with the Soviet communist party and FARC became independent, with its own Marxist-Leninist military and political doctrines. The FARC is currently the most powerful guerilla movement in Colombia.
Since the 1980’s the FARC has made alliances with narco-traffickers and it moved directly to the cultivation of coca, marijuana and opium. FARC grew from 3,600 insurgents in 1968 to 20,000 by 2000.
In the 1990’s, Colombia was disintegrating. One source of danger came from the narco-trafficking cartels that made enormous profits from the export of cocaine, principally to the United States. Especially well known was Pablo Escobar, who owned an entire town, but was shot in 1993. Smaller cartels were created in Cali that were less visible, just as profitable, and more difficult to trace.
Drug cartels undermined the authority of the government in several ways.
They employed violence and intimidation with impunity. When the government tried to pass an official decision to extradite traffickers for trial in the United States, their cartel hit men assassinated judges, prosecutors, law enforcement agents, and political figures. They blew up an Avianca airliner because they thought it was carrying police informants. Four out of six presidential candidates in the election process where shot to death. They also won public support by sponsoring soccer teams, building playgrounds, and supporting charities. Pablo Escobar even owned a preschool in Medellin. With their enormous wealth they corrupted the Colombian judicial system and police. Pablo Escobar’s prison cell was designed by him and was more luxurious than many private villas. From it he continued to run his criminal empire.
Members of the M-19 kidnapped family members of drug cartel leaders, who unleashed a campaign of more assassinations. Also nouveau riche drug traffickers purchased rural estates and joined the landed oligarchy against agrarian rebels like the FARC.
Paramilitaries organized themselves as self-defense groups against both the communist guerrillas and the drug traffickers. Their argument was that if the government could not protect its citizens, they would. With a vague right-wing ideology, they offered their services to landlords, wealthy businessmen and even drug traffickers. Evidence showed that paramilitary units had close ties to the Colombian armed forces.
Serious human rights abuses have been committed by paramilitaries, especially by the paramilitary coalition known as the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia, AUC). The AUC regularly commits massacres, killings, forced displacement, rape, and extortion, and creates a threatening atmosphere in the communities they control. They target human rights defenders, trade unionists, victims of the paramilitaries who are seeking justice, and community members who do not follow their orders.
Conflicts between drug cartels, guerrillas and paramilitaries have inflicted frightful violence in Colombia. By 1995, homicide rates in Colombia averaged 95 per 100,000 citizens, the highest in Latin America.
Assaults, kidnappings and assassinations between 1985 and 1995 forced more than half a million people to leave their rural homes and resettle in the country’s major cities. By 2011, one out of every 55 Colombians has been forced to migrate because of violence.
Colombia is one of the most heavily land mine-affected countries in the world. Land mines claimed at least 8,081 victims between 1990 and October of 2011. Casualties have increased since 2002. Most have been planted by government forces in their war against the FARC. “A landmine is a perfect soldier: It doesn’t eat, it doesn’t ask for vacation, it doesn’t need to rest and it is active for 30 years,” said Lt. Colonel Mauricio Moreno, commander of the School of Military Engineers.
On March 12, 1997 the Inter American Court of Human Rights ruled that there have been systematic crimes against humanity against members of a political party, “Unión Patriótica” or Patriotic Union perpetrated by the Colombian government. In 1985 the Patriotic Union was established as a result of the peace negotiations between the FARC and the government of the former President Belisario Betancourt. Since its beginnings, its members have been victims of persecution, extrajudicial executions, disappearances, unfounded criminal prosecution, assaults and threats. In their court case, the petitioners said that the goal of this persecution is an attempt to eliminate their party. Agents from the state have participated in at least 1,163 murders of members of the Unión Patriótica, who were executed extra-judicially between 1985 and 1993.
Colombia’s state, criminal, and revolutionary terrorism targets moderates, and includes kidnapping and attacking the civilian population.
Genocide Watch concludes that extreme polarization in Colombian politics, the rise of the paramilitary “self defense forces”, emergence of violent drug –trafficking cartels, and the continuing battle against communist FARC guerillas as well as corruption within the government place Colombia at stage 6, Preparation for politicide.
Genocide Watch makes the following recommendations:
The US needs to review its PLAN COLOMBIA aid to Colombia, and in addition to supplying arms and training to Colombia’s police and Army, provide funding for education and health services.
Prevent corruption during elections by encouraging creation of a powerful Election Commission with numerous poll monitors, both domestic and international.
Assign more DEA agents to monitor investigation, capture, arrests, trials, and imprisonment of drug traffickers from start to finish.
Provide funding for 24/7 security protection for moderate leaders and direct security assistance to human rights leaders.
Assets of cartel leaders should be seized under a Colombian version of the RICO law, and visas for international travel denied to them and their families.
Recruit and train a new group of uncorrupted, highly trained police to physically protect civil society leaders, and moderate leaders, such as activists, judges, and political leaders.
Finance a major mine-clearance program to clear antipersonnel mines.
Cooperate fully with the Inter American Court of Human Rights in lawsuits against traffickers, paramilitaries, and government officials responsible for killing, kidnapping, or assaulting Colombians.
2008 - 10 enero: Las Farc dejan en libertad a la exparlamentaria Consuelo González de Perdomo y a la excandidata a vicepresidente de Colombia Claras Rojas, secuestradas en 2001 y 2002.
- 27 de febrero: Los excongresistas Gloria Polanco de Lozada, Luis Eladio Pérez Bonilla, Orlando Beltrán Cuéllar y Jorge Eduardo Gechem Turbay son liberados tras permanecer casi siete años secuestrados.
2009 - 1 de febrero: La guerrilla libera a cuatro rehenes: los policías Walter José Lozano Guarnizo, Juan Fernando Galicia Uribe y Alexis Torres Zapata, y el soldado William Giovanni Domínguez Castro.
- 3 de febrero: Liberan al exgobernador del departamento de Meta, Alan Jara.
- 5 de febrero: Liberan el ex diputado regional Sigifredo López.
- 17 de marzo: Las FARC liberan al ingeniero sueco Roland Larsson, último extranjero que mantenían cautivo.
2010 - 28 de marzo.- Liberan al soldado Josué Daniel Calvo.
- 30 de marzo.- Liberan al sargento Pablo Emilio Moncayo, después de más de 12 años secuestrado. Dos días después, los rebeldes entregan los restos mortales del policía Julián Ernesto Guevara, muerto en cautiverio.
2011 - 9-16 de febrero.- Los guerrilleros entregan a seis rehenes en una misión humanitaria coordinada por el Comité Internacional de la Cruz Roja (CICR) y la exsenadora Piedad Córdoba. Los liberados son los concejales Marcos Baquero y Armando Acuña, el infante de marina Henry López, los policías Carlos Alberto Ocampo y Guillermo Solórzano, y el cabo del Ejército Salín Antonio Sanmiguel.
The FARC has 40% of women fighting in Colombia
Chronology of liberations from the FARC:
-January 10th: The FARC set free the ex parliamentary, Consuelo Gonzales de Perdomo and the ex candidate to the vice presidency of Colombia Clara Rojas, kidnapped in 2001 and 2002.
-February 27th: the ex congress representatives Gloria Polando de Lozada, Luis Eladio Perez Bonilla, Orlando Beltran Cuellar and Jorge Eduardo Gechem Turbay where Liberates after staying almost seven years kidnapped.
-February 1st: The guerrilla sets free four hostages: the police man José Lozano Guarnizo, Juan Fernando Galicia Uribe and Alexis Torres Zapata, and the soldier William Giovanni Domínguez Castro.
-February 3rd: The guerilla sets free the ex governor of the Meta Department, Alan Jara.
-February 5th: They set free the ex regional deputy Sigifredo López.
-March 17th: The FARC set free the Swedish engineer, Roland Larsson, the last foreigner that they had captive.
-March 28th: They set free the soldier Josué Daniel Calvo.
-March 30th: They set free the sergeant Pablo Emilio Moncayo, after more than 12 years kidnapped. Two days after, the rebels give out the pieces of bodies of the police man Julián Ernesto Guevara, who died captive.
-February 9th-16th: The rebels turn in six hostages en a humanitarian mission coordinated by the International Red Cross committee (CICR) and the exsenator Piedad Córdoba. They are councilors Marcos Baquero and Armando Acuña and Armando Acuña, the marine Henry López, the police man Carlos Alberto Ocampo and Guillermo Solórzano, and the cabo of the sergeant army Salín Antonio Sanmiguel.
Gobierno Nacional condena utilización de minas antipersonal que dejan tres víctimas en Antioquia Por Programa Presidencial para la accion integral contra minas antipersonal 11 de abril del 2012
En el periodo 1990 a marzo 31 de 2012, se registraron un total de 9.786 víctimas por Minas Antipersonal (MAP) y Municiones Sin Explotar (Muse). De éstas, el 38% (3.695) son civiles y el 62% (6.091) miembros de la Fuerza Pública. En cuanto a menores de edad 951 resultaron afectados, 742 heridos y 209 murieron.
Los departamentos de Cauca, Nariño, Valle del Cauca, Putumayo, Antioquia y Caquetá registran el mayor número de niños, niñas y adolescentes víctimas de este flagelo, según cifras del Sistema de Gestión de Información sobre Actividades relativas a Minas Antipersonal (Imsma, por sus siglas en inglés) del Paicma. Esta problemática mantiene a Colombia, después de Afganistán, como el segundo país con mayor número de nuevas víctimas en el mundo (Lea más).