Fabio Andres Diaz

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Demonstrators march during a protest against corruption, President Juan Manuel Santos and the government's peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), in Medellin, Colombia April 1, 2017. REUTERS/Fredy Builes

Civil unrest seems to be the order of the day – and the coming weeks – in Latin America. The sprawling Odebrecht bribery scandal that started in Brazil is now complicating life in many neighbouring nations.

In Colombia, recent reports reveal that the Brazilian construction company has been bribing the country’s public officials since 2010. With the 2018 presidential campaign heating up, the revelation is spurring dissatisfaction with President Juan Manuel Santos and imperilling the country’s fledgling peace process.

On April 1, up to 16,000 Colombians took to the streets to decry corruption and express ongoing dissatisfaction with the peace accords signed with the FARC guerrillas.…  Seguir leyendo »

Weapons are seen at a camp of the 51st Front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in Cordillera Oriental, Colombia, August 16, 2016. Picture taken August 16, 2016. REUTERS/John Vizcaino - RTX2N6W0

In Colombia, the November 2016 agreement between the FARC guerillas and the Colombian government has brought the promise of peace for the country and compelled a significant reduction in FARC-related violence.

But the road ahead remains daunting. The FARC agreement has not implied a reduction in the military actions of other groups, such as the EPL, the ELN or right-wing warlords (known in Colombia as paramilitaries). At least 80 human rights activists were assassinated in 2016, and some sources report more than 125.

Tensions are particularly flaring around delays in implementing the accords – that is, actually putting into action the decisions written down on paper.…  Seguir leyendo »

When, after four years of negotiations between the Colombian government and FARC guerrillas, the September 26 peace agreement was rejected by plebiscite, many feared that the promise of peace was lost for good.

But the government has eked out a second, renegotiated accord that was passed by the Senate in a marathon 13-hour session on November 29th.

Now the country appears poised to finally end its 52-year civil war – if political spoilers allow.

President Juan Manuel Santos’ September agreement with the FARC was derailed by a successful disinformation campaign that accused him of surrendering Colombia to the guerrillas and turning it into a communist country.…  Seguir leyendo »