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Conflict

The challenges of bringing development to the remote areas of Colombia

Erwin de Nys's picture
Also available in: Español


In 2017-18 we visited the Meta department in Colombia on multiple occasions. Located right where Colombia’s Llanos Orientales (Eastern Plains) disappear south into the vastness of the Amazon rainforest, this area of the size of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg combined is a magical spot in the world’s second most biodiverse country.
 
Meta is not a poor region - it boasts some of the nation’s largest oil reserves. Highly fertile soil and multiple thermal floors have created a boom in agribusiness in recent years, while its geographic proximity to Colombia’s capital has more recently led to a thriving tourism industry.
 
Despite having made significant progress on many fronts, this region still faces critical challenges. On our last visit, we had the opportunity to chat for hours with several small-scale farmers from south-western Meta – a sub-region where economic development has been seriously damaged by the cultivation of coca leaf, the raw material used to produce cocaine.
 

Looking at Colombia through the peace lens

Marcelo Jorge Fabre's picture
Also available in: Español



The International Day of Peace is celebrated on September 21st.  After more than 50 years of civil war, we finally have a national Peace Day to celebrate in Colombia, too.
 

Colombia’s time has come

Gerardo Corrochano's picture
Also available in: Español

(istock/Daniel Ernst)

In 2016, Colombia has the opportunity to make history. After more than three years of negotiations, the country is very close to achieving an “Agreement to terminate the conflict and build stable, lasting peace,” which will put an end to the internal armed and social conflict which has lasted for over 50 years, the longest in Latin America.
 

A new path away from violence: the story of Raul

Jessica Gallegos's picture
Also available in: Español

Raul is short, skinny and has an enormous smile. Looking at him, it was hard to believe that this fifteen-year-old had long been feared in his community as a gang leader and had been the author of horrible crimes in Colonia Santa Marta in El Salvador.

Latin America: violence threatens a decade of progress

Hasan Tuluy's picture

También disponible en español

Behind Latin America’s economic boom is hidden a wave of crime and violence, hurting all citizens, particularly the poorest, who have no way of protecting themselves.

Citizen insecurity has a variety of complex causes, ranging from organized crime, to outdated, ineffective justice and law enforcement systems, to domestic violence, which affects one in three women worldwide.

A laboratory for peace in a small Colombian village

Isabelle Schaefer's picture

También disponible en español

The Montes de María, between the departments of Sucre and Bolivar in the north of Colombia, has been the stage for violent conflict for a long time. In this region, people can't trust their neighbors, poverty is common and opportunities scarce.

In 2004 , the program “Paz y Desarrollo” (Peace and Development) of the Colombian government, co-financed by the World Bank, began to support civil society initiatives to achieve local development and build peace.

Colombia: Building a Future without Violence with Juanes and Mi Sangre

Gloria M. Grandolini's picture

También disponible en español

money under the mattress

“A microphone, a guitar and a spray can; these are their weapons.” These could be the lyrics of a song by the wildly popular Juanes, but the singer-songwriter was actually referring to the work of his foundation, Mi Sangre, which campaigns for a Colombia free from violence for young people.

The Foundation’s programs offer Colombian youth, many of whom are victims of violence in the country -- 4,000 minors died in 2003-2006-- the chance to practice the art of singing, painting and composing to exorcize the threat of violence on the streets, in their neighborhoods, homes and schools. 

Business: A welcomed new partner in citizen security

Maninder Gill's picture

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In stark contrast to a few years back, Latin Americans are deeply worried these days with a rising wave of crime and violence that is causing a huge loss of life and resources –and making people rethink the role of public and private sectors in fighting this scourge.

In debates across public fora and on social media platforms Latin Americans are more tolerant of the idea of private-public partnerships to fight crime.

Back from the brink: visiting Medellin 20 years later

Felipe Jaramillo's picture

También disponible en español

Medellin

Rewind 20 years. Medellin, Colombia, is the murder capital of the world, with over 300 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants.

Pablo Escobar and his drug trafficking cronies are the heroes of the comunas -- the hillside low-income barrios that oversee the skyscrapers of the modern downtown. Shootings, kidnappings and rampant lawlessness are the stuff of daily headlines. Teenage boys in the comunas want to be Escobar henchmen, quick with the gun and fast with the girls. And after Escobar was killed in a graphic shootout with police in 1994, they dream of becoming paramilitary ‘rambos’, inspired by the violent squads that plagued the countryside since the mid-1990s.