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Gwen Burnyeat's Colombia Blog

Colombia: what does peace mean in Comuna 13?

Published on: Thu Jan 26, 2017
Author: Gwen Burnyeat
Colombia: what does peace mean in Comuna 13?

24 January. With the new year in Colombia came a new sentence from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, holding the state responsible for human rights violations committed in the context of ‘Operation Orion’. In this Operation, the army, together with the ‘Cacique Nutibarra’ bloc of the AUC paramilitary organisation, stormed the marginalised slum neighbourhood ‘Comuna 13’ in Medellín, Colombia’s second-largest city. The operation took place over four days in October 2002, under Álvaro Uribe…

Peace on the Street in Trafalgar Square

Published on: Fri Oct 28, 2016
Author: Gwen Burnyeat
Peace on the Street in Trafalgar Square

At the foot of the steps of the National Gallery, in between a fire-juggler and a levitating Yoda, surrounded by pigeons and passers by, a hundred Colombians in winter jackets folded yellow, red and blue squares into origami butterflies, and wrote messages about peace onto white paper doves. There was a huge scroll of paper spread out on the ground, painted like a Colombian flag, and they were sticking the origami butterflies and white doves onto it. Other people stood around talking, drinking cups…

Colombia: an ending and a beginning

Published on: Wed Sep 28, 2016
Author: Gwen Burnyeat
Colombia: an ending and a beginning

From the Llanos del Yarí -- a special series for LAB  from the FARC’s Tenth Conference. Read Parts One and Two here and here. Against the backdrop of a dramatic iron grey sky, with occasional flashes of lightning and rolls of thunder, FARC’s chief negotiator Iván Márquez read out the Political Declaration of the 10th National Guerrilla Conference, the concluding statement after seven days of debates, marking the decision of the FARC to transition into politics. “War is over!” he began. “We will…

Colombia: Throwing open the doors

Published on: Mon Sep 26, 2016
Author: Gwen Burnyeat
Colombia: Throwing open the doors

From the Llanos del Yarí -- a special series for LAB  from the FARC’s Tenth Conference. Read Part One here. Part Three will report on the Political Declaration of the Tenth National Guerrilla Conference. All photos by Gwen Burnyeat. As I paid for my morning coffee, I remarked to the restaurant owner, “You have some of the toughest hours of all around here”. He replied, “Yes, so far we’ve been going from 5 in the morning to 4 in the morning, with just one hour’s sleep a night”. The restaurant,…

Colombia: building the first bridge

Published on: Wed Sep 14, 2016
Author: Gwen Burnyeat
Colombia: building the first bridge

From the Llanos del Yarí -- a special series for LAB. Part two will be a report from the FARC’s Tenth Conference. The Colombian Middle Classes and FARC: The First Bridge  We arrived after several hours on unpaved road at a gloomy town which was little more than a mud-track through road with wooden houses clustered around it, and a billiard hall with rancheras that boomed late into the night. A border town of sorts. There were no police there; we had left them far behind. Beyond this point, we…

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