Colombia: Thought-Provoking, Inspiring and Worrying

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.

parako by djlu

Parako by DjLu. Spotted in Chapinero.

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.

Graffiti DjLu

Gun by DjLu, spotted on the Avenida de Caracas

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.


solo muere quien se olvida

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.

The Face

The Face

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.




About Richard

Anglo-Canadian resident in Colombia. Journalist, Writer, Hotelier, Expedition Guide
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2 Responses to Colombia: Thought-Provoking, Inspiring and Worrying

  1. Just curious, what led you to pursue an MA in Conflict Resolution? I would be interested to read about your plans of how you plan to use the degree in Colombia. Is there a market for “Corporate” corporate resolutions, or in what other areas is there demand for the degree in Colombia? Or are you just trying to supplement your journalism with a different base of knowledge?

    On a separate note, above you state, “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?”

    I don’t know, but after 40 years of war does anyone really even know how Peace could be implemented? Did Northern Ireland know how Peace would be implemented? If Israel and Palestine ever come to a Peace agreement, how the heck would they implement it?

    * Maybe a better question would be: “How would any President implement Peace, without first understanding what the other side wants?”

    Without knowing that how can anyone in their right mind come up with a plan to implement Peace.
    That would be like writing a business plan for a product / service without even understanding the customer need that the business is trying to satisfy.

    Personally, I think that an exploration / conversation between both sides about what Peace means, as is going on now (even after the Pastrana debacle), is a correct FIRST step to take. After all, has Santos ever said that he will sign a deal at any COST? I don’t thinks so.

    And what other option is there? I guess another option could have been to keep the war going for another 40 years, or continue the “seek and destroy” option as Uribe intended his successor to do.

    Personally I prefer that a Peace exploration is taking place. And if it does not work, nobody is saying that the country can’t go back to the “seek and destroy” option.

    Finally, if the moment of “implementation” does ever come, of course some planning can and must be made. But if we are really honest about it, there will also come a moment where both sides will have to have faith in the process and trust that the other side will honor their side of the agreement. So, in the end is “implementation” simply just a game of “plan for the worst, hope for the best”?

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