Blog Posts

How Can the United States Help Colombia Achieve Peace? A How-To from the Latin America Working Group


The Colombian government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas are advancing steadily in negotiations in a peace process that could bring an end to 50 years of brutal conflict. They have already reached agreement on three of six “chapters” of a final accord, on rural development, political participation, and drug policy, and are now advancing in discussions on the victims’ rights chapter.  

The governments of Norway and Cuba are acting as “guarantors” of the peace process, with Venezuela and Chile playing supportive roles. While the United States government is not playing an official role in sponsoring the peace talks, the United States can play a vitally important role in supporting the negotiations now and in supporting peace accord implementation in the critical years to come.
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Respecting Labor Rights Must Be Part of Building a Lasting Peace in Colombia


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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We are Made for Peace, not for War: Peace Proposals from Victims of Colombia's Armed Conflict, Clara Rojas


A delegation of victims of Colombia’s internal armed conflict were brought to the United States in July 2014 by the Latin America Working Group Education Fund (LAWGEF) and the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) to discuss the rights of victims and their proposals for achieving a just and lasting peace. Their stirring words come just before the discussion on victims’ rights opened in August 2014 at the negotiating table in Havana, Cuba.  The delegation consisted of Luis Fernando Arias, president of the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC), José Antequera Guzmán, co-founder of Sons and Daughters of Memory and Against Impunity and son of slain political activist José Antequera, and Clara Rojas, newly-elected representative in Colombia’s National Congress, who had been kidnapped and held captive for years by the FARC guerrillas. At an event sponsored by our organizations and the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), the panelists discussed their peace proposals for the ongoing peace talks in Havana.

As part of a three-part series, we bring to you the third installment featuring Clara Rojas. Click here for part I featuring Luis Fernando Arias and here for part II featuring José Antequera Guzmán. This is what Clara had to say: 

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We are Made for Peace, not for War: Peace Proposals from Victims of Colombia's Armed Conflict, José Antequera Guzmán


A delegation of victims of Colombia’s internal armed conflict were brought to the United States in July 2014 by the Latin America Working Group Education Fund (LAWGEF) and the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) to discuss the rights of victims and their proposals for achieving a just and lasting peace. Their stirring words come just before the discussion on victims’ rights opened in August 2014 at the negotiating table in Havana, Cuba.  The delegation consisted of Luis Fernando Arias, president of the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC), José Antequera Guzmán, co-founder of Sons and Daughters of Memory and Against Impunity and son of slain political activist José Antequera, and Clara Rojas, newly-elected representative in Colombia’s National Congress, who had been kidnapped and held captive for years by the FARC guerrillas. At an event sponsored by our organizations and the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), the panelists discussed their peace proposals for the ongoing peace talks in Havana.

As part of a three-part series, we bring to you the second installment featuring José Antequera Guzmán. Click here for part I featuring Luis Fernando Arias, and here part III featuring Clara Rojas. This is what José had to say:

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We are Made for Peace, not for War: Peace Proposals from Victims of Colombia's Armed Conflict, Luis Fernando Arias


A delegation of victims of Colombia’s internal armed conflict were brought to the United States in July 2014 by the Latin America Working Group Education Fund (LAWGEF) and the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) to discuss the rights of victims and their proposals for achieving a just and lasting peace. Their stirring words come just before the discussion on victims’ rights opened in August 2014 at the negotiating table in Havana, Cuba. The delegation consisted of Luis Fernando Arias, president of the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC), José Antequera Guzmán, co-founder of Sons and Daughters of Memory and Against Impunity and son of slain political activist José Antequera, and Clara Rojas, newly-elected representative in Colombia’s National Congress, who had been kidnapped and held captive for years by the FARC guerrillas. At an event sponsored by our organizations and the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), the panelists discussed their peace proposals for the ongoing peace talks in Havana.

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Show Them You Stand by Colombia's Victims of Violence!

Victimas
There is a long road ahead, but peace in Colombia finally seems in reach. The peace process between the FARC guerrillas and the Colombian government is advancing, even when acts of violence have threatened to bring it to a screeching halt.  Negotiations reached a watershed moment when the negotiators hosted a delegation of victims two weeks ago. Having been excluded from direct participation at the negotiating table up to this point, this historic delegation, featuring victims of all armed actors, brought a united message that the time for peace is now.

As members of the international community, we can help ensure this peace process continues by joining Colombia’s victims of violence in their quest for truth, justice, meaningful reparations, and guarantees that the brutal crimes of the past will not be repeated.  Let’s show the negotiators that we are watching and stand with the victims!
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Syria, Sudan, and Colombia? The Human Cost of War


What do Colombia, Syria, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo have in common? Believe it or not, Colombia only ranks behind Syria in the number of internally displaced people, with over 5.7 million fleeing their homes due to conflict. That striking number is just one example of just how costly the last five decades of internal conflict has been to Colombia’s civilian population.

What are the human costs of a war that has seen so many victims from all armed actors, including guerillas, paramilitaries, and members of the Colombian army? Check out our new infographic, The Human Costs of the Colombian Conflict.
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