Tomorrow I finish my Especializacion en Resolucion de Conflictos, a course pretty much the equivalent of an MA which has found me pouring over material about Colombia, inspiring me to continue writing, recording interviews and striving forward with projects here.
But, that said, while I am excited for 2014 and what a new year brings and the presidential elections here, I am also worried. We have been studying the roles and influences and political chicanery of the guerrillas and paramilitaries or neo-paramilitaries if you like.
Personally, I don’t think too much has changed in the last few years and given that I have been interviewing experts in the field for my radio show, I have become more concerned. How is it that we can be governed by a President who is pushing for peace when we really don’t know how it is going to be implemented? This is something that needs to have been put into play ten years ago. Incidentally on next week’s Colombia Calling show I am discussing such themes as this and that of child soldiers in Colombia with the engaging and informed Paula Delgado Kling of Talking About Colombia.
I just think that there has been no concession provided on how to resolve the continuing problem of land ownership, in particular in the north around the Caribbean coast. This territory is completely run by the newly emerged criminal gangs (Bacrim) and there appears to be no solution to choking the strength of this mafia.
So, while we sit here pretty in Bogota, it’s worth remembering that there’s a great big country out there where the reality is very different to that of urban Colombia. Talk of problems in regions such as Uraba has been pushed aside apparently forgetting that members of the Comunidad de Paz have disappeared and that “landless” campaigners have been killed in Cordoba. Troubling times indeed if all that we are going to see and hear next year is a presidential campaign built on a sequence of empty promises of peace and how to “end the conflict” in Colombia. Food for thought.