Colombia Update

New Developments Unfolding in Colombia - Peace Process Impacted

The international reports coming out of Colombia in recent days, reflect the most current on-the-ground information from our Global Associate in Bogota, Lissette Mateus Roa

Although the situation is volatile and things are changing almost daily, Lissette remains committed to finding solutions to the violence in her country through peace initiatives like the ESPERE methodology. She also remains cautiously optimistic about the peace process, despite the recent set-backs.

The set-backs that are most noteworthy, include the FARC staging numerous attacks around the country once the negotiated ceasefires were abandoned. These included almost daily attacks on oil pipelines and others to the electrical grid. Lissette commented directly on this:


[quote]After the (abandoned ceasefire) we have had different FARC attacks around Colombia. Most of them against police and the oil industry–they have caused the biggest environmental disaster in the last 10 years, because they blew up a pipeline causing the spilling of more than 400,000 gallons of crude oil into nearby rivers, streams and mangroves. It's very sad ... last week there were 2 bombings in Bogota where one person died, but those bombs were set by the ELN."[/quote]

- Lissette Matueus Roa


More on the recent roadblocks to the overall peace negotiations and the agreements already in place can be found in this excellent editorial at the Economist. From the piece:


[quote]It was never going to be easy. Three times since the 1980s Colombian governments have tried but failed to broker peace with the guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Even so, the latest talks seemed set to succeed in ending a conflict that has dogged Latin America's third-most-populous country."[/quote]


As we said, Lissette remains cautiously optimistic and each new day in Colombia brings updates to the situation. Just yesterday, a new announcement was made by FARC which could lead to a new ceasefire beginning later this month. Lissette points to the many people in her country working everyday towards peace. She sent along this video featuring a project that her husband's organization sponsored. Not unlike our partnership with Lissette in finding ways to bridge the differences in communities trying to overcome the scars of the civil conflict in Colombia, this video shows how ex-guerrillas are on the path to forging a new peace by taking part in a unique reintegration course.