Ending a civil war: Colombia cracks the code?

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THE WORLD is mired in insurgencies, with the rise of ISIS in the Middle East, the persistence of Russian-backed rebels in Ukraine, and the continuing attacks of Boko Haram and Al Shabab in Africa. But at least one seemingly intractable guerrilla war — Latin America’s longest — may be coming to an end. Colombia is poised to reach a negotiated end after 50 years of fighting against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the Marxist-Leninist insurgent group known by the acronym FARC. Laudable on their own terms, these talks also shed light on the social changes and negotiating strategies it might take to end other civil wars around the world.

Twenty months of negotiations in Cuba have yielded fruit: provisional agreements by rebels to give up the cultivation of drugs, in exchange for land reform and the opportunity for FARC to convert into a nonviolent political party. One crucial innovation was the unprecedented move to invite five delegations of FARC’s victims to the negotiation table, where they had a chance to confront the militants about their crimes. These interactions help promote truth and reconciliation, and Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos’ negotiating team should be commended for incorporating them into the peace process. “At the beginning of the negotiations, [FARC representatives] said they were victims, and that there were no victims created by them,” recalled Luis Carlos Villegas, Colombia’s ambassador to the United States. “Now they have changed. They sat face to face with people who said, ‘You kidnapped my daughter,’ ‘You killed my mother,’ and then had a conversation.” FARC members must acknowledge the harm they inflicted. And when victims feel a sense of closure and accountability, they can more easily accept the painful compromises — such as reduced sentences or even amnesty for FARC members — that are necessary to end the conflict.

Such talks aren’t always possible. The Colombian guerrillas likely wouldn’t be at the negotiating table if not for the relentless military campaign of former Colombian president Alvaro Uribe, whose father was killed by FARC. When Uribe took power in 2002, FARC was believed to have more than 20,000 rural fighters. Today, its ranks have dwindled to fewer than 8,000. FARC is willing to end the war because it’s losing.

Also helpful is Colombia’s recent economic growth. The country now attracts some of the world’s highest levels of foreign direct investment. Government spending on education and universal health care has boosted the quality of life. It’s a government radically different than the one FARC was founded to overthrow half a century ago.

Lastly, the United States deserves some credit. A multibillion-dollar US aid package known as Plan Colombia helped the Colombian government combat organized crime and drug lords tied to FARC. In fact, Colombia has been so successful that it is training other countries, including Mexico, in these areas. In a world full of war-torn countries with governments on the verge of failure, Colombia may at last have found the magic recipe to bring about peace.

Source: The Boston Globe -Editorial 9/18/2014

Annette Taddeo, on the Ed Show discuss the new make-up of the American electorate.

Republicans are going to have to deal with the new reality: yesterday’s election came down to demographics. State Sen. Nina Turner (D-OH), and Annette Taddeo, a former candidate for U.S. Congress (D-FL), discuss the new make-up of the American electorate.

Today Taddeo (Colombian), is considered a rising Hispanic figure in Florida politics, she is a prolific fundraiser and she is a regular guest for Hispanic radio & TV shows. Annette continues to serve her community and her country through her leadership in numerous organizations where she is actively involved. She currently serves on the National Board of the Non-Partisan Women’s Campaign Forum and is on the Advisory Board of Hands on Miami.

Source: Ed Show @EdShow – @Annette_Taddeo, AnnetteTaddeo.com

Obama, 44th President of the United States

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“That is why Elections matter”: Obama re-elected!

In a First time Historical and Second time Miraculous Election

FARC, The Pantomime Villians Of Oslo?

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Colombia´s FARC guerrillas this morning opened talks with President Santos´s government to end their five decade war against the state.
Márquez complete with his Simón Bolívar t-shirt. Photo AP
Iván Márquez, head of the FARC delegation, delivered a highly political speech in which he appeared to rip up the agenda for discussion, arguing that peace would not be achieved only through the ´silencing of guns´ but by remodeling the Colombian economy to reflect the rebels´ Communist views.

This was a speech that could have been given in Caguán, and has left we who were hopeful for a successful conclusion to the discussions more than a little less optimistic than before.

Márquez has been deprived of the limelight of international media for years and took his chance today to deliver the rhetoric you sensed he had been preparing for days and nights under the tarpaulin of his jungle hideout.

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Do we really trust Colombia’s politicians and guerrillas to deliver peace?

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Any peace talks between the government and rebel group FARC must involve civilians since neither government nor FARC can count on much credibility among the Colombian people.

The fact that virtually nobody has confidence in the goodwill of the FARC is common knowledge. The rebel group has caused too much pain and suffering to count on the support of many.

Having said that, Colombia’s political class can count on almost the same amount of popular support because of the chronic corruption, nepotism and its tendency to use the electorate for personal interest or economic gain.
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Dare we dream of peace in Colombia?

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Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos confirmed Monday evening that his government has entered into exploratory talks with the FARC to negotiate an end to 50 years of conflict.

Earlier in the day Venezuelan television channel Telesur reported that that both sides had signed an agreement to advance official peace negotiations scheduled for 5 October, in Oslo; details Santos refused to confirm.

The president has received support from across the political spectrum and in the country’s media. Ex-president Alvaro Uribe, however has denounced his successor as a traitor and an appeaser.

After ex-President Pastrana’s failed attempt to secure peace over a decade ago, and following a recent upsurge in FARC activity, there are also parts of Colombian society sceptical of Santos’ ability to end the continent’s longest-running civil war.

Dare we dream of a Colombia in peace?

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Colombia’s supreme court threatens free speech

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Colombians worry their free speech is under threat following the move by the Supreme Court to charge journalist Cecilia Orozco Tascón with slander.

Two articles highly critical of the court, written by Orozco, the director of a news television channel Noticias Uno, and Semana columnist María Jimena Duzán, were adjudged by the court to have crossed the boundaries of press freedom. Through a communique issued by the penal committee on Thursday, the country learnt that court will not allow ‘injurious’ and ‘slanderous’ comment against the institution.

Although no charges have been raised against Duzán, Orozco appears likely to face trial as Chief Prosecutor, Alejandro Odoñez confirmed she has a case to answer.

For years politicians have tried unsuccessfully to quiet the journalist’s voice in Colombia. Is the Supreme Court now succeeding where they failed? Is this the beginning of the end for press liberty in Colombia?
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