What Peace? Where is the Rule of Law?

No justice – no peace

Talking About Colombia



Colombian artist Doris Salcedo lights thousands of candles in Bogotá’s Plaza de Bolivar as a memorial for those killed by FARC. Doris Salcedo, Acción de Duelo, 2007 / Photograph: nobara hayakawa

I am not an optimist, sadly. I wish this was not the case.

Whatever happens on October 2nd, when Colombians vote on a referendum on the result of an accord between the FARC and the Colombian government, Colombia will not –suddenly– be “at peace.”

Even with this accord, the core of the problem remains — state-building. Peace cannot be achieved without the rule of law, and the authorities of the Colombian government do not have the capacity to penetrate and maintain presence in the most isolated regions of the country. There are an ample number of illegal groups aching to occupy what was traditionally FARC territory in the departments of Putumayo, Chocó, Cauca, Nariño, and beyond.

A headteacher at a school, built…

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