Colombia

Respecting Labor Rights Must Be Part of Building a Lasting Peace in Colombia

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With unions from the Americas and Europe, the AFL-CIO is participating in the 6th Congress of the Central Union of Workers (CUT) Colombia, the country’s largest labor federation, from Sept. 23–26. The congress takes place as Colombia moves forward with a negotiation and peace-building process to end a 50-year conflict that has killed more than 170,000 civilians. The armed conflict has been used by the government for decades to systematically deny basic labor and human rights. More than 3,000 trade unionists were murdered by paramilitary, government and armed guerilla forces for exercising fundamental labor rights since 1987. In spite of strong recent economic growth, Colombia continues to have the third highest social inequality in Latin America after the much poorer countries of Haiti and Honduras. Any sustainable solution to this long-term crisis must include respect for workers’ rights and shared prosperity. 

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Women’s Voices and the Colombian Peace Process: We Must Sweep away the Culture of War

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Three Colombian women
— Olga Amparo Sánchez (Casa de la Mujer), Magda Alberto (Mujeres por la Paz), and Danny Ramírez (Conferencia Nacional de Organizaciones Afro-colombianas)—recently talked about the inclusion of women in the peace talks in Havana. At an event sponsored by the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), the Latin America Working Group Education Fund, and the Colombia Human Rights Committee, the panelists also discussed the contributions women can make to help with the country’s healing process.

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Colombia: On to the Future or Back to the Past? Extrajudicial Executions and Peace Talks

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Two crucial events just happened in Colombia. One gives hope for the future. The other sheds light upon the dark recesses of the recent past.

On June 10, 2014, the Santos Administration announced that it has been advancing in preliminary peace discussions with the ELN guerrillas, the last major guerrilla group after the FARC. The FARC and the Colombian government have reached the halfway mark in their negotiations. Now, this announcement that the ELN and the government will negotiate brings a real peace that much closer.

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2014 Colombian Presidential Elections: Cliffhanger for Peace?

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Santos y ZuluagaCREDIT: Carlos Ortega / EL TIEMPOIn most democratic countries, elections, presidential elections in particular, are usually of great importance. After all, a country is deciding its fate for the next four years or so. However, based on the low voter turnout, it seems that most Colombians feel this year’s elections are as pointless as carrying water to the sea. An astonishing 60% of Colombia’s 33 million eligible voters did not exercise their constitutional rights during the first round of presidential elections that took place on May 25. The low turnout during the first round of the presidential elections comes at the heels of a
similar showing of 63% of eligible voters abstaining or casting blank or null votes earlier this year during the March congressional elections.

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The United States, the Colombian Elections and Peace

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This blog originally appeared in El Espectador. Click here to read the original posting in Spanish. 

U.S. policymakers perceive the U.S. relationship with Colombia as a strong partnership that endures despite transitions in power. But that does not mean there are no private preferences.

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