Dear Action on Colombia Reader:
This is a time of tremendous hope and concern in Colombia. On June 17 Colombians will go to the polls to elect the next President of Colombia. The choice is a stark one: Ivan Duque is a protégé of former President Alvaro Uribe Velez, while Gustavo Petro is a former mayor of Bogota and former member of the M-19 guerrillas, though not involved directly in armed activities. Alvaro Uribe as President instituted a program of so-called “democratic security”, which brought about a security apparatus which included collaboration of Colombian Army and Police forces with paramilitary forces in many parts of the country, with neighborhood watch persons providing information to the government about local community leaders’ and human rights workers who opposed repressive government actions, and the “false positives” Army murders of kidnapped youths. Duque opposes the full implementation of the Peace Agreement between the FARC guerrillas and the Colombian government and has promised, if elected, to seek changes in parts of the Agreement, especially those provisions allowing demobilized FARC guerrillas to participate in politics and be a part of the transitional justice system created by the Santos Administration.
Gustavo Petro fully supports the Peace Agreement and has called for measures to protect the environment and to investigate the corruption of Colombian government relationships with multinational businesses. As Mayor of Bogota, Petro carried forward plans for a subway, for which the Santos Government ultimately refused to release funds.
Colombia Support Network sent a delegation to Colombia in November of 2017, the activities of which are discussed in detail in our new Newsletter. We hope they will provide you with a sense of the issues confronting the country at this time and how these issues are being addressed or neglected.
The CSN Newsletter articles can also be read online: