The peace pursuit

Iván Trujillo
The Peace Pursuit
Iván was the best student in all of his studies since school to college, now he is working on the Colombia’s embassy in Washington, with a BA in political sciences, now is one of the youngest person working for a foreign affairs office in his country. Now and after 3 years working beyond the borders of his country is time to ask him something about the Colombian peace process.

230117_10152245366300627_1897364452_nAnd the first question could not have been other that why after 50 years the peace does not come to the Colombian people a question that concerned all the Colombian population, but as Ivan said peace did not come until nowadays because: “The conflict had not reached a point where the parties have objective reasons to find a solution of a negotiated peace with each other, in the case of government and the FARC.”

In spite of have already passed some presidents but the current has something that the people trust, things like:“The government has acted with absolute prudence and thoroughness in each approach, conversation and peace negotiations with the FARC.” At majority of documents and interviews people just heard about the FARC like if this was the only armed group in Colombia or if only finishing with this group the peace could come but its more than that:“Peace is not to end an armed group. Peace, rather than defeating the enemy in a conflict is to build the guarantees that in the future there are no enemies in conflict.’’ a very interesting point of view in compare with the idea of the former president Alvaro Uribe Velez who thought that the direct confrontation acts against FARC will be the way but he did not regarded that “military victory occurs when you can change the enemies’ will of fight and their attitude of want to have in war things, things that they should have in politics’’

A good part of the Colombian population are skeptical about the success of the peace progress, is pretty hard to not take in account that is not going to be easy get a natural transition between violence and peace, many generations grew with this conflict in their life but like all the process, needs time because: “peace will be a collective learning for all of us. It’s not something that you are prepared; it is something you crave because you have not experienced before. Depends on ourselves discover that answer.”

all the conflicts around the world always have a winer and a loser but not only on the battlefield can win or lose, are many external actors and not all are agree with the end of the conflict: the gun dealers, the drug dealers, in this case in particular the drugs traffic are one of the most important issue becoming in “the main fuel of the conflict” but also can appear internal factors like conflict of interest among the political parties of the country high levels of corruption but “its a risk in all peace process”

At the end like always in a conversation between Colombian people can feel a strange atmosphere of hope, thinking that some day “the peace will come for us and for our children”

Juan manuel Trujillo

Is it possible that there was a drug free Colombia?

On Thursday the seventeenth round of talks will be held with the FARC, which has as main objective to get a “no cocaine Colombia”. The chief negotiator of the Colombian government in Cuba, Humberto de la Calle, quotes the following sentence “We want a field without coke. We want our farmers to leave behind  these crops because the only thing left in these regions is violence, poverty and marginalization. We also want to put on the table the topic of processing and marketing  drugs, because is the fuel that creates conflict and crime in our country”.


Humberto de la Calle

The Government’s aim is definitely to end marijuana plantations and laboratories  specialized in the creation of illegal substances such as cocaine. Colombia is one of the major operators and exporters of these substances to the outside, and besides, this business has an important role in the economy of inside the country. The main areas where it is grown and created this kind of substances is within the country where the crime rate is higher and illiteracy is something normal for the population. According to what De la Calle says, thinking of a country at peace without conflict leads people to attack the issue of drugs and illicit fields. “There would be no end of this real conflict without attacking  this phenomenon,” and added that “we want to find new ways to strengthen public health programs and drug production and consume.” One of the members of the delegation of the goverment, Maria Paulina Riveros, also expressed her dissatisfaction with this situation and this vicious circle that will not allow the country to progress and says that all it does is to sink more and more the public image of Colombia. “We want to get deep and improve programs of crop substitution in accordance with what has been agreed at the point of comprehensive agricultural development. (…) We wouldnt  make the whole task of comprehensive agricultural development without a solution to the problem of illicit drugs, ” she said.


Campo de marihuana en Colombia


Cocaína incautada en Colombia

Achieving an agreement will be important not only for the country itself, as it ensures the government, but will also be extremely important in the international area. The government ensures that they are going to the meeting with good intentions and that they are  willing to sit down and to talk about it until they get a solution that benefits the country and the people. The main goal, aside from ending the trafficking of illegal substances and illegal plantations, is to end the conflict and violence that constantly generates this market. Of course, this would be a step for the authorities to end with the terrorism of the FARC in the territory.  The government delegation will be in the city of  Barranquilla this afternoon before traveling to Havana to meet with  some important employers and to plan their stategy.

Public opinion on the negotiations between Colombian government and FARC

After many years of fights and violence, the negotiations between the government of Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) finally started. The peace discussions, taking place in La Havana, Cuba, started the 18th of October 2012. This is the fourth attempt to conclude peace since the early 1960s.

The FARC is a Marxist-Leninist movement, born 50 years ago with the goal to change Colombia. The rebels considered Colombia as a very unfair country: in fact, there were a lot of inequalities between the different classes. The FARC started to act in a peaceful way, but soon they turned into a terrorist movement: murders, kidnappings, bomb attacks etc. All the country was suffering because of these fights, and too many innocent people were killed (police, lawyers, senators, journalists). The most important action of the FARC is “intercambio humanitario”: this means that many kidnappings were made to guarantee the liberation of members of the FARC, earlier captured by the government. The government denies negotiating with terrorists; many people are still in custody after 10 years.

At the beginning, the public opinion was enthusiastic about the idea of the end of violence. People thought that this could help the economy and the international image of the country. They also hoped that justice could be improved to guarantee citizens’ life. They talk about the possibility of social cohesion and about a progressive equality between classes. The government ensured that the past mistakes would not be repeated again.

Recently, the BBC realized a new interview to the Colombians, and their opinion radically changed. In fact, the two parts reached a partial agreement, solving just a point out of five.

The population is skeptical about this “fake peace”, because the FARC continues to realize armed attacks and to kill people. So far it sees no results.

The main problem is that the two parts can’t reach a final agreement and the discussion is still in progress. This is why the FARC realized other attacks. For example, on July 2013 the FARC organized an attack against the police station of El Charco, putting a bomb in a dog. Fortunately, there were no deaths but just two wounded. Another attack was made the 15th of October with a car bomb: 9 people were hurt.


Graphic based on information obtained from El País

With these recent facts, people lost hope in this peaceful treaty and think that it will all finish in nothing. Moreover, the President was supposed to continue Uribe’s politic towards the FARC, but with time his actions shows that he seems incompetent to fight the rebels’ power. He even admits that the peace process will not be accomplished by November 2013.

The measures that the government is taking to deal with the FARC are not getting any result. It should look for other ways to reach peace before this will all end in another armed solution.

VI Summit of the Americas.

Cartagena de Indias become last weekend (14 and 15 April), in the main entrance during the Sixth Summit which were invited the governors of thirty-four countries included Barack Obama, all the governors from the continent confirmed assistance except Cuba and Ecuador´s Rafael Correa, who refused to go in order to protest the absence of Cuba. Finally Hugo Chávez despite being willing to travel to Cartagena finally missed the Summit for attending his radiotherapy in Cuba.

They arranged tight security, fourteen thousand policeman and soldiers guarded the city, which also joined Cruz Roja and Defense Civil personnel, thus having full control of airspace and the entire bay that surrounds the city. The Army was also prepared with thirty six radioactivity detectors and six ant explosives robots; all that material belongs to the security system.

Despite of this strong security system, three low intensity explosives made detonation. Two of the in Bogotá, closely  the Colombian prosecutors and the U.S Embassy, and one more bomb in Cartagena, the place where Barack Obama arrived the same day of the detonation for participate in the Summit, without damage or causalities reported.

During the opening of the Summit, the attendees had the opportunity to hear the Colombian anthem sung by Shakira.

This Summit is held in order to improve economic welfare and security of the American continent people, with the slogan “Connecting the Americas, partners for prosperity”. Where they talked about issues related with security projects, technology access, integration and interconnection, environment and poverty reduction. Reducing inequalities and violence that punishes Latin America, where they try to find to find solutions to integrate also a continent that does not offer same opportunities for all.

Obama in Americas Summit

The U.S president, Barack Obama asked in Cartagena overcomes “the diplomacy of Cold War” referring to the dispute with Cuba who threatened of overshadow the Americas Summit. So Obama said, “sometimes it seems that some of the conversations are lost in time, going back to the early 50´s, talking about the diplomacy of Cold War, and that´s not the world we live nowadays, I hope we can recognize the enormous opportunity we have and take advantage, and I know that the entrepreneurs we have here they understand it, they´ll understand that they are in a new world where we have to think with or own ideas”. The lack of agreement on a possible invitation to Cuba to participate in upcoming events prevented the adoption of a final consensus statement to end the Summit. Specifically, it has been the United States who vetoed the proposal, and showed their opposed as the island (Cuba) does not make democratic reforms that Washington demands, supported mainly by Latin American leaders.

Jose Manuel Santos, president of Colombia, and Obama gathered at the end of the Summit  of the Americas to discuss various aspects of bilateral relations and also set the date for the implementation of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA), signed in 2006 and was in suspense until the end of last year, when it was approved by Congress in Washington.

Isabel Rivero, Olga Conde, Victoria Gerbaudo, Estefanía Sánchez.

Arrested a Colombian drug dealer

Elkin Alberto Pinto Piñeros captured

An important drug dealer arrest weakens the drug trafficking trade in Colombia

The Colombian policemen captured the leader of an international drug trafficking net, Elkin Alberto Pinto Piñeros, last 29th of February in order to be extradited to Italy where he has a 20-years condemn.

Elkin Alberto Pinto was arrested in a supermarket of Kennedy, a village near to Bogotá, the Colombian capital. International issues office researchers of the General Fiscally headed the mission against the drug dealer.

According to the national police office of Cundinamarca, a Colombian region, the Interpol, that stands for International Criminal Police Organization, was another organism which had ordered an arrest warrant through a red notice so, his detention was mandatory.

This international warrant for search and arrest was emitted in order to extradite Elkin Alberto Pinto to Italy. There he must serve a 20-years condemn for drug trafficking crimes. Pinto was the main leader of a drug trafficking organization which carried out big cocaine amounts sendings. The drug dealer carried out missions which consisted in transport cocaine from Colombia to Italy via Spain.

In order to achieve its goals, the 37-years Colombian drug dealer was associated to an Italian drug dealer who was captured in 2007. They both coordinated the drug transports by maritime ways in Italy to Rome, Napoli and Bari.

The Elkin Alberto Pinto detention means a new coup to drug trafficking in Colombia but this is not the end of a war that seems haven’t got an end. The struggle against drug in Colombia is an issue which has become an international problem.

Colombia is still the first drug provider in United States (at least a 95,5% of the cocaine in U.S. has been cultivated in Colombia) According to a research published by the State Department of the United States government, although the achieved progress in drug fight matter, Colombia constitutes one of the biggest cocaine providers of the whole world.

The Justice Department carries out a program in charge of shape this report. In order to obtain the necessary data, they get samples of confiscated drug. The same report informs us of the disappearance of more than 135,000 hectares of cocaine crops last year. Although this positive information, Colombian drug dealers are still very actives. They continue producing heroin and marihuana to sell in the national market or in the nearest regions markets.

The U.S. body, the Justice Department, notes some progress against drug dealers and the improvement of the Colombian institutionalism. However, at the same time, they confirm the strengthening of some kind of criminal groups which have adapted to the circumstances in different ways. Alliances between criminal gangs and guerrilla fronts have take place for example.

According to the State Department, almost 120 defendant with drug trafficking were extradited to United States and the cocaine crops were reduced in 2011 in a 14 per cent with regard the year before. The same report recognizes the progress in this matter during the Juan Manuel Santos mandate is notable but this advancement is still vulnerable to decline.

Novedades en el problema FARC

La FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) cuenta con un miembro menos entre sus filas, todo gracias al ejército de Colombia, que ha abatido a uno de sus miembros más importantes y cabecillas en combate. El “caído en combate” se llamaba Luis Fernando Méndez López, alias ‘Didier’, y ocupaba la posición de cuarto cabecilla del frente 21 de la FARC. En esa guerrilla, también ostentaba el puesto de miembro del anillo de seguridad del líder, Guillermo León Sáenz, alias ‘Alfonso Cano’.

Méndez López cayó en combate durante el transcurso de los enfrentamientos de la Sexta Brigada del Ejército y subversivos de las FARC en el área del Cañón de las Hermosas, situadas hacia el centro-oeste de Colombia.

Poco han tardado en alzarse voces respecto a esta noticia. El comandante de la Quinta División del Ejército, general Juan Pablo Rodríguez, ha declarado definiendo este hecho como “de gran importancia”, pues al ser “Didier” uno de los bucles principales de la FARC (recordemos formaba parte del Bloque Central de la FARC y de los anillos de seguridad de “Alonso Cano”) la organización se encuentra ahora un poco más débil. Además de Menéndez  López también han fallecido dos rebeldes no identificados.

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