Stories written by Constanza Vieira
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Future of Peace Talks in Colombian Voters’ Hands

Colombians will basically decide Sunday whether to continue the five decade counterinsurgency war or persevere in the attempt to negotiate a political solution to the conflict, in order to allow the children being born this year to experience what their parents have never known: a country at peace.

One-Third of Colombia’s Newly-Elected Senators Have Paramilitary Ties

In July 2004, when paramilitary leader Salvatore Mancuso was demobilising, he admitted to the Colombian parliament that the illegal extreme rightwing forces controlled 35 percent of the seats. Ten years later the situation is very similar: one-third of the new senate, where congressional power mainly resides, is allegedly linked to the paramilitaries.

Zero Garbage Plan Tied to Fate of Ousted Bogotá Mayor

The ousted left-wing mayor of the Colombian capital, Gustavo Petro, is a casualty of the battle over the introduction of a Zero Garbage programme, which had included thousands of informal recyclers in the waste disposal business.

Las Pavas Extracts a Miracle from God

The rural community of Las Pavas in northern Colombia received this year’s National Peace Prize Wednesday in recognition of its peaceful struggle for land that is claimed by an oil palm company, in a case that became an international symbol of the conflict over land in this country.

Major New Andes Tunnel Turns Back on Volcano

A new system of tunnels at the Alto de La Línea mountain pass in Colombia’s central Cordillera mountain range will open up a key logistics route for this country and neighbouring Venezuela. But it could be overcome by disaster if the Machín volcano erupts.

Nationwide Protests Rage against Colombia’s Economic Policies

A strike declared nearly two weeks ago in Colombia by farmers and joined later by truck drivers, health workers, miners and students spread to include protests in the cities before mushrooming into a general strike Thursday, demanding changes in the government’s economic policies.

Crisis in Colombia’s Peace Talks ‘Temporary’

Colombia’s FARC guerrillas announced Friday a “pause” in the peace talks in Havana, which formally opened a year ago. But analysts say it is only a temporary glitch.

Q&A: “When the String of the Inequality Gap Snaps, You Have Political Crisis”

"There is no development without peace. It should be understood that, for there to be development in a country, there must be an internal peace process,” says Kanayo Nwanze, president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

Tapping Rural Culture for Development Potential

“I was a hunter. I killed many animals,” said Rosalino Ortiz, a representative of Mashiramo, a campesino organisation that monitors biodiversity in Colombia’s Massif range in the southern department of Huila.

Colombian Town Says ‘No’ to Gold Mine

People in a farming town in central Colombia voted overwhelmingly against global corporation AngloGold Ashanti’s La Colosa gold mine.

Santos Says Colombia Doesn’t Need U.N. Human Rights Office

The Colombian army killed Marta Díaz’s son Douglas in 2006, dressed him in combat fatigues and reported him as a FARC guerrilla killed in a shootout. Díaz searched for him everywhere, in prisons, hospitals and morgues, until she finally managed to track down his remains in 2008.

Documenting Invasive Species on Colombia’s Plains

Along the unpaved road between the town of Orocué and the Wisirare private reserve in the eastern Colombian department of Casanare, biologist Juliana Cárdenas asks the driver to stop the bus so she can collect a specimen of West Indian foxtail, a kind of grass growing along the road.

When the Train Passes, But Never Arrives

José "Goyo" Hernández has never been given a mask to keep him from breathing in the coal dust blowing off the 13 trains that pass daily through this village in the municipality of Zona Bananera in the northern Colombian department of Magdalena, during his 12-hour shift at the railway crossing.

Key Land Reform Accord in Colombia’s Peace Talks

Colombian government and guerrilla delegates have announced an agreement on the question of land reform – an important step in the peace talks that began six months ago in Havana.

Displaced by Gold Mining in Colombia

"I was displaced here by mining a month ago. Illegal miners forced me out of my municipality. No, don't write down where I'm from, let alone my name," said a 40-year-old black man frightened for his safety. IPS agreed to say only that he is from Colombia’s southern Pacific coast region.

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