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Colombia and Ecuador

 13 November 2013 Colombia and Ecuador Dear LAB supporter and friend, Our latest newsletter concentrates on the social conflicts in two Andean countries, Colombia and Ecuador. As peace talks in Havana between the Colombian government and the FARC guerrillas enter a second year, former LAB editor Professor Jenny Pearce analyses the prospects for significant progress before next year’s presidential elections (Read more). The talks are an initiative of the current Colombian president, Juan Manuel Santos, one of whose fiercest critics is the former president Alvaro Uribe. LAB editor Nick Caistor reports on a visit Uribe recently made to London, and his position with regard to those he calls ‘narco-terrorists’. (Read more). A video of the protests over the former president’s appearance in London can be viewed here. Other articles look at the continuing violence and threats in Colombia that underline the need for a comprehensive peace settlement.  An article by the British-based group ABColombia outlines the challenges facing one community in the Chocó department as they try to reclaim land stolen from them in the years of violence (Read more). The effect of the violence on individuals is the focus of a recent interview with Colombian journalist Claudia Julieta Duque, considered one of the ten most threatened reporters in the world. (Read more). Finally, a reminder of the riches of Colombia’s past, in our review of the winter exhibition at London’s British Museum, Beyond El Dorado (Read more). In Ecuador meanwhile, the battle to win compensation from the Chevron oil company for environmental damage in the Amazon region continues. In her blog, Bianca Jagger reviews the efforts made over more than 20 years to get the multinational company to comply with court rulings (Read more) while an article from concerned lawyers published in Earthrights International looks at how the legal system in the United States is increasingly skewed in favour of big corporations rather than individuals (Read more). Earlier this year, President Correa declared that the so-called ‘Yasuni initiative’ aimed at persuading foreign government to pay to avoid oil exploration in part of the country’s Amazon region had failed because of a lack of international support. Ecologist Carla Shaw looks at the disastrous consequences for the indigenous groups and the environment if oil exploration and drilling go ahead (Read more). The latest articles in the Latin America Inside Out (LAIO) Blog: Nayana Fernandez looks at the government’s double standards in its treatment of violence (Read more) Mike Gatehouse looks at the four mythos peddled by mining companies in Central America (Read more) Brazil: Surprise victory on the Tapajos river (Read more) Brazil: Surprise victory on the Tapajos river in photos (Read more) Chile: A Cartoon History (Read more) Dominican Republic: Threat to Dominicans of Haitian descent (Read more) Other news Brazil: Dieback in the Amazon forest (Read more) Uruguay: Saying ‘no’ to open pit mining (Read more)


LAB welcomes a number of new partners: Coalition of Latin Americans in the UK, Environmental Network for Central America (ENCA), Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA), and Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign. Their profiles can be accessed here. Any organisation wishing to become a LAB partner can do so (it’s free) by completing a profile questionnaire (in English, Spanish, Portuguese or French) here.

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