Features in issue 2449

San Jose de Apartado

by PN staff

How do communities respond to long-term violence? For 54 of them it has been to establish "peace communities" which involve literally thousands of people. However, communities that refuse to bear arms in the conflict are unpopular with every side and frequently experience direct violence as a result.

Rebirth of solidarity

by Sean Donohue

US military involvement in Colombia's internal affairs - as epitomised by Plan Colombia - has been a constant feature since the 1960s, while support for "ordinary" Colombians caught up in the brutal civil war has come from specialist solidarity groups from around the world. Sean Donohue takes a look at how activist groups in the US are now building new and diverse solidarity networks that are calling for an unequivocal end to US military involvement in Colombia.

Hawks and Hueys: the substance of Plan Colombia

by Eduardo Marino

After reading and reviewing Russell Crandall's recent book - Driven By Drugs - Eduardo Marino asks "Will helicopters strafing and defoliating South America win the drugs war in North America"

An obstacle to "progress"


"The spiritual leaders of the Curripacos and Puinaves in the Colombian Amazon, or of the Sions and Kofanes of the Orinoco, carry out rituals of protection when their people are about to quietly leave their riverside or jungle homes. They invoke magic to render bullets harmless against their people and have paths close behind them, keeping them out of reach of their enemies. With sacred plants, they induce visions or dreams that reveal new threats to them. These protections and spells have worked for centuries. They formed part of the culture of resistance to colonisation, plunder, submission to conquistadors, missionaries, plantation-owners, loggers, emerald-collectors, the hunters for hides, miners, oil companies, multinationals and diverse looters. But the magnitude and intensity of the violence in Colombia in the last two decades seems to have demolished thesevenerable methods of defence." - Blanche Petrich (Ojarasaca 45, January 2001)

"We will not stay quiet"

by Jerónimo Pérez

In 1996, as a result of a government counter-insurgency campaign combined with paramilitary activity, thousands of people were displaced from the Cacarica river basin. In responsethey formed CAVIDA - the Community of Self-Determination, Life and Dignity - and began to fight for their land and fortheir return. Community member Jerónimo Pérez reflects on CAVIDA's guiding principles and their refusal to take up arms in, or support, the conflict.

It is easier to begin an armed struggle than to end one

by Howard Clark

Earlier this year Howard Clark interviewed former ELN guerrilla Pastor Jaramillo for Peace News. He talks about the challenges and frequently dire consequences of "reinsertion" into civilian life and suggest a prognosis for the future of peace talks.