Category Archives: Colombia

We must honour lost land defenders by fighting the system which killed them

Two more defenders in Latin America have lost their lives challenging their country’s economic growth model which prizes profit at all cost

As the Guardian and Global Witness revealed that almost four environmental defenders were murdered every week in 2017, War on Want learned of two more killings through our Latin American partner organisations.

On 24 January, Márcio “Marcinho” Matos, involved in the fight for rights of landless peasants in Bahia in north-east Brazil, was shot in front of his son. Three days later, Temístocles “don Temis” Machado, a prominent figure in the struggle of Afro-Colombian communities across the Colombian Pacific, was murdered in his home in the Isla de Paz community.

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Source: gad

Colombia extradites 'Pablo Escobar of Ecuador' to US

Washington Edison Prado is accused of shipping hundreds of tonnes of cocaine to US

A suspected drug chief known as the “Pablo Escobar of Ecuador” was extradited to the US on Saturday, Colombia’s chief prosecutor’s office has announced.

Washington Edison Prado tried unsuccessfully to prevent extradition by claiming membership of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) a status that would have made him eligible for a type of amnesty under a peace deal.

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Source: gad

Colombia: no guns, no drugs, no atrocities, no rape, no murder. Just bananas…

Colombia’s farmers can hope again after bloody decades of civil war – but they’re not relying on politicians to help them

Don José Manuel Suarez has seen some things. Father of seven and grandfather of 15, his 80 years have been spent farming a patch of land that has also been a battleground in the longest civil war in modern history. At an outdoor meeting of a co-operative of banana farmers in Ciénaga, near the northern Caribbean coast of Colombia, Don José Manuel sits in one shady corner of a clearing, patiently waiting his turn to speak. The other men and women are his old friends and neighbours. The question I’ve asked them is this: what have been the worst of times, and what the best?

In the hot morning sun, among the creaking plants hung with clenched hands of green bananas, the answers to the first part of that question have come thick and fast.

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Source: gad

David Ospina relishes Wembley calling and memories of hero Higuita

Arsenal’s ‘cup keeper’ recalls the joy in Medellín when René Higuita unleashed his scorpion kick against England and is keen to impress at a special venue for Colombian goalkeepers

It is fair to say that Colombian goalkeepers have form when it comes to making an impression at Wembley Stadium. None, naturally, could be any larger than life than René Higuita, the extrovert formerly known as El Loco – the Madman – whose extravagant flourish during a friendly game against England in 1995 became the stuff of legend. When Jamie Redknapp scooped a relatively tame ball towards goal, Higuita flipped acrobatically, flinging his legs behind him to clear with a mid-air scorpion flick. Just for the kick of the trick.

Back home in Medellín, a seven-year-old David Ospina watched the broadcast and felt a surge of pride that his compatriot, a local hero of goalkeeping, pulled off something so audacious. Of course, he was inspired by what he observed on the television. “We were delighted,” he recalls. “We talked about it a lot. It was great he did it at Wembley, too. For us Colombians Higuita is a really important figure. He did so much for the national team and the country. I have always had great respect for him, and it’s nice that he is remembered here for something special.”

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Source: gad

Colombia and Brazil clamp down on borders as Venezuela crisis spurs exodus

Venezuela’s neighbors plan to dispatch more security personnel while Brazil prepares to relocate thousands of refugees to country’s interior

Venezuela’s neighbours are tightening their borders, alarmed by the exodus of hundreds of thousands of desperate refugees fleeing hunger, hyperinflation and a spiralling political crisis.

Brazil and Colombia are sending extra troops to patrol frontier regions where Venezuelans have arrived in record numbers over recent months.

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Source: gad

The magical realism of Santa Cruz del Islote – photo essay

Santa Cruz del Islote is a magical place. A population of up to 1,200 live on an island the size of two football fields in the middle of the Caribbean, making it one of the most densely populated islands on the planet

Santa Cruz del Islote could have come from a book by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It is magical realism: eighteen families live in 97 houses, there is a school, a restaurant that functions as a port, and a small square with a cross in the middle gives the island – located across from the Gulf of Morrosquillo in the department of Bolívar in Colombia – its name.

The economy is based on fishing and services including cleaning, cooking, tourism guides, which locals provide to the luxurious hotels in neighbouring islands. There is a strong community spirit here – a family who needs help can count on the support of its neighbours.

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Source: gad

Battle for the mother land: indigenous people of Colombia fighting for their lands

The 50-year civil war is over but, in the Cauca Valley, indigenous communities are on frontline of fight against drug gangs, riot police and deforestation

In pictures: Colombia’s land battles shatter the peace in Cauca Valley

A green-and-red flag flies over a cluster of bamboo and tarpaulin tents on the frontline of an increasingly deadly struggle for land and the environment in Colombia’s Cauca Valley.

It is the banner for what indigenous activists are calling the “liberation of Mother Earth”, a movement to reclaim ancestral land from sugar plantations, farms and tourist resorts that has gained momentum in the vacuum left by last year’s peace accord between the government and the leftwing guerrillas who once dominated the region – ending, in turn, the world’s longest-running civil war.

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Source: gad