"I give something, you give something," an Emberá indigenous craftswoman displaying her beautiful handiwork on a sidewalk in the Colombian capital told this reporter, saying she would pose for a photo in exchange for selling a pair of earrings.
Human rights groups and small farmers' associations will keep close watch in Colombia to make sure the new Victims' and Land Restitution Law, signed by President Juan Manuel Santos Friday, is effectively implemented.
The Victims and Land Restitution Law, signed Friday by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, "is an important message for reconciliation in the country," said lawmaker Guillermo Rivera, one of the sponsors of the law.
The Colombian government has been extolling a bill on Victims and Land Restitution which is being debated in Congress and is receiving extensive media coverage. But the demands of the victims themselves, forcibly displaced campesinos, are falling on deaf ears.
The announcement of progress towards making synthetic vaccines against 517 infectious diseases, and the award of an international prize for his work have stirred up lively controversy around Colombian pathologist Manuel Elkin Patarroyo, a malaria vaccine pioneer.
"Wholesale land titling" Colombia's Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Juan Camilo Restrepo announced Tuesday, adding that titles would no longer only be handed over to individuals who file land claims, but to entire groups of people in specific rural areas.
"We want to shout out to the world, and no one will be able to keep us silent: forced displacement is still happening in Colombia, which is why we are asking for solidarity. We aren't terrorists, we aren't criminals; we are farmers whose dignity and rights have been stolen from us."
Social mobilisation against gold-mining is growing in Colombia, which is now one of the world's biggest per capita polluters of mercury, used in artisanal mining, according to the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO).
Food prices are set to rise in Colombia, due to the combined effects of soaring international prices and local crop losses after nine months of devastating rains. The government expects food prices to rise three percent in February, while independent analysts forecast an increase twice as high.
"It sounds nice, but it’ll be tough to implement"; "the most important thing is to translate into reality": These statements by rural women leaders in Colombia sum up the reaction of activists to the government’s decision to revive and refinance a special fund for projects in the countryside led by women.
"When we women speak out, without showing fear, we pay a high price: living with that fear," says one peace activist in Colombia. "The threats will not stop us from working for peace and social justice," says another.
During the eight years that Álvaro Uribe governed Colombia, annual economic growth averaged 4.3 percent. Nevertheless, President Juan Manuel Santos, who was sworn in on Saturday, has taken over a country with the highest unemployment rate in Latin America.
Colombian President Álvaro Uribe ends his second consecutive term Saturday with 75 percent approval ratings and strong international support reflected by his designation this week as vice chair of a United Nations-appointed international panel to investigate Israel's attack on a flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza in May.
"There are alarming links between increased reports of extrajudicial executions of civilians by the Colombian army and units that receive U.S. military financing," John Lindsay-Poland, lead author of a two-year study on the question, told IPS.
In Colombia, western medicine has nearly succeeded in pushing midwives -- "parteras" or "comadronas," as they are known in Spanish -- out of existence. But some tenacious practitioners are pushing for a law to formalise the role of midwife as a health worker.