Greetings from Colombia! Much of the week was spent with no keyboard or internet access at all, in cars and on boats. Here's the only post I've put up this week—a bunch of photos and a brief overview of our trip.
It's been a worthwhile visit, though, and I expect to have a report drafted within a week or two.
Day 7 in Colombia
Good morning from Bogotá. It’s day seven of our visit, and we’ve finished the field-work portion of the trip. Nothing left but two days of meetings here with experts, activists, government and UN personnel.
We spent Saturday through Tuesday in Colombia’s Pacific coast region, in the city of Buenaventura and then way up the Naya River, which serves as the border between Valle del Cauca and Cauca departments. This is a huge corridor for drug trafficking. The FARC’s exit from these areas has led to a proliferation of armed groups and organized crime. They are not fighting each other very frequently right now—something seems to be maintaining the peace—and many measures of violence are down for the moment.
There is absolutely no peace, however, if you are a community leader. If you’re active in your local Community Action Board, Afro-Colombian Community Council, coca substitution program, indigenous reserve, labor union, or other structure, you have seen a sharp increase in death threats. The national wave of social-leader murders has not spared this area. Four leaders along the Naya river were disappeared by an unidentified armed group in April and May.
And that's all I've got for now—it's an hour until our next meeting here. I'll resume regular posting to my site on Sunday or Monday. Cheers.
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