Tag Archives: Latin America

Colombian Civic Leader Offers a Grassroots Strategy for Peace


An article from the United States Institute of Peace

Nine months into new efforts by Colombia’s administration to achieve “total peace” with remaining armed groups following decades of civil war, that process should make room for the nation’s thousands of grassroots and community organizations to strengthen peace locally when the fighting stops, says a prominent civic leader from one of the country’s most violent regions. Stabilizing Colombia, where migration toward the United States and other countries soared last year, will require steady support from U.S. and international partners, said Maria Eugenia Mosquera Riascos, who helps lead a Colombian network of 140 civic and community organizations working to end violence.

President Gustavo Petro vows to expand Colombia’s implementation of a six-year-old peace accord with what was the country’s largest rebel group, and his administration has begun pursuing accords with other armed groups. Yet “the government cannot make peace alone,” thus a major initiative is needed from civil society, Mosquera Riascos said in an interview. Mosquera Riascos traveled from her home in Colombia’s economically impoverished and violent Pacific coastal region to Washington this month; she met U.S. officials and peacebuilding practitioners focused on Latin America after having last year received USIP’s Women Building Peace Award.

Mosquera Riascos’ struggle for peace carries resonance well beyond Colombia’s borders. Helping Colombia achieve lasting peace is integral to reducing the mass migrations across Latin America that are fueled notably by violent conflicts, poverty, and environmental damage, and to shrinking drug trafficking that exploits Colombia’s instability. U.S. officials counted more than 125,000 Colombians among those stopped at the U.S. southern border in 2022, up from about 6,000 the prior year.

In 2016, “after the peace accord was signed” with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), “the world got the impression that Colombia was now at peace,” Mosquera Riascos said through an interpreter. “But we can’t speak about a ‘post-conflict’ Colombia because the conflicts continue.”

Implementation of the accord has lagged for years, she noted. Modest improvements in rural governance, plus development programs and land distribution to rural populations, were meant to stabilize impoverished rural communities by helping people, including former guerrillas, pursue nonviolent ways to earn adequate incomes. But those changes came slowly and were never fully resourced.

“After the [2016] accord, we expected that state institutions would come and fill the voids” of governance across the rural regions where FARC had ruled, Mosquera Riascos said. Instead, “many different armed groups have filled those voids,” fighting for territory and control over illicit commerce that FARC once ran. Land distribution has operated in reverse in areas where those with arms or money have seized holdings from small farmers. The battles for rural control have included a surge in deforestation, violence and impoverishment in Colombia’s Amazon and Pacific coastal regions.

Colombia’s Violence: A Grassroots View

Mosquera Riascos helps lead a network called Communities Building Peace in Colombia (or CONPAZCOL) from her home region on the Pacific coast. In rural areas, Colombia’s main armed groups — the National Liberation Army rebel group (or ELN), the paramilitary Gulf Clan (also known as Gaitanistas) and dissident factions of the former FARC — are fighting to control lucrative smuggling routes for cocaine or illicitly extracted minerals or other natural resources, Mosquera Riascos said.

In the region around her home city of Buenaventura, these armed groups “have locked down entire communities along the rivers — many of them Indigenous people — preventing them from going out to fish or farm.” The combatants have forced some communities to leave the region altogether, she said. Violence in Buenaventura includes urban gangs that seek to profit from cocaine or other contraband that can be smuggled through its seaport, one of Colombia’s busiest.

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Questions related to this article:

What is happening in Colombia, Is peace possible?

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The Pacific region is a center of Colombia’s Black population, descendants of the country’s former African slaves, and of the poverty that makes Colombia “one of the most unequal countries in the world,” according to the World Bank. Armed groups threaten or kill civilians, many of them Afro-Colombians, whose land or compliance they want, Mosquera Riascos said. Gunmen seize people “who simply disappear,” she said.

The new government of President Petro “offers a lot of hope that we can now make better progress” on peace, Mosquera Riascos said. A signal of that hope, she said, is that Vice President Francia Marquez is an environmental and human rights activist — and the first Afro-Colombian to hold such a senior office. Afro-Colombians heavily supported this government’s election last year, Mosquera Riascos noted. Along with the Pacific region they are receiving heightened attention that she hopes will extend to support for the efforts of grassroots peacebuilders.

Seeking Better Strategies for Peace

To advance peace, the government will need broad support from both Colombia’s grass roots and its international partners, Mosquera Riascos emphasized. A top priority in coming months needs to be a national process of dialogues among Colombia’s thousands of community-level civil society organizations, she said. Groups working to build peace, justice, rule of law, economic development and the rights of marginalized ethnic groups, women, LGBTQ communities and victims of the war’s violence all need “to unify and synergize our proposals for working with this government,” she said. “We need to be able to say to the administration, ‘we are the civil society, and this is our proposal to support your program and build a real peace.’ That can help make progress toward peace sustainable.”

Petro has promised to pursue a “total peace” by seeking negotiated agreements with armed groups nationwide. A recent government estimate counted four major organizations and 23 urban gangs with more than 17,600 members, including more than 7,000 active combatants. The Petro administration quickly opened peace talks with the largest remaining rebel group, the National Liberation Army, and offered a new year’s truce with the paramilitary Gulf Clan, which pursues drug trafficking and operates as the de facto government in swaths of Colombia. The government halted that truce after 11 weeks because of what it said were the group’s continued attacks on police.

Mosquera Riascos voices support for the government’s overarching goal but stresses that too broad or unfocused an effort risks failure. She seeks a calibrated strategy across Colombia’s widely varied landscape of conflicts, many of them localized. In Washington, she met nongovernment organizations and U.S. officials focused on Colombia, urging a strategy that focuses first on localities where the conditions are most ripe for progress, with state capacities reinforcing civil society and local peacebuilders — an approach she calls “comprehensive peace.”

Why put local peacebuilders at the fore in this process? Mosquera Riascos gave examples of how such activists can use their local roots to build the customized initiatives required to advance peace in their localities — and can do so at lower cost than outsiders. One such effort, the Casas de Madre, has built six community-based dialogue centers across the country that host representatives of disparate groups that are key to local peacemaking, and who otherwise have no safe and organized place to meet. Local dialogue projects are vital not simply to lay foundations for peace but also to offer hope of better options to youth who are readily recruited by combatant groups, Mosquera Riascos said.

USIP has similarly found over decades that community-level dialogues are cost-effective tools for building peace. A series of dialogues in areas of Colombia previously ruled by the FARC rebels helped strengthen governance in areas that faced rising insecurity and other challenges amid a relative power vacuum following the 2016 peace accord. Courageous, creative local civic and government leaders are pursuing such projects, which can reinforce the conditions for peace and strengthen the country’s social fabric and trust in government.

While Colombia requires leadership from its grass roots to stabilize from the longest civil war in the western hemisphere, that process will require broad, sustained support from the United States and other international partners, Mosquera Riascos said. For one thing, Colombia’s government already “cannot afford the [financial] costs of the commitments in the 2016 peace accord,” she noted.

President Petro’s reception in Washington last month, when he met President Joe Biden, “was extremely important to us,” Mosquera Riascos said, “and we need the strong diplomatic support for the peace program to continue.” The presidents “discussed the ways to build peace and also to protect the environment” — twin efforts that need to advance in tandem, she said.

International organizations should bolster their focus on human rights in Colombia, particularly on continued threats and assassinations targeting civic leaders like herself who stand up to armed groups and powerful interests. International recognition of frontline peacebuilders, such as the USIP award she received last year, provides an “umbrella” of protection for those at risk, Mosquera Riascos said, and facilitates financial and moral support for their work. Especially, she added, Colombia’s partners should sustain their support for the country’s energetic peacebuilding efforts by women. Women struggled for years to achieve an unprecedented level of recognition and influence in Colombia’s peacemaking that has made the process a model for other countries in conflict.

Brazil President Lula’s speech to the G7


A publication by the Government of Brazil

(Editor’s note; News media in the US and Europe headlined the decisions of the G7 countries (US, UK, Canada, France, Italy, Germany and Japan) in their recent meeting in Hiroshima that supported Ukraine president Zelensky and that attacked the “economic coercion.” of China and Russia. They fail to mention the following alternative vision presented at the meeting by Brazilian President Lula.)

In the official photo, the President of Brazil was placed between the Presidents of the Comores and Vietnam, while the President of the United States was placed between the Presidents of Canada and France

Hiroshima is a propitious setting for a reflection on the catastrophic consequences of all types of conflict. This reflection is urgent and necessary. Today, the risk of nuclear war is at its highest level since the height of the Cold War.

In 1945, the UN was founded to prevent a new World War. However, the multilateral mechanisms for conflict prevention and resolution no longer work.

The world is no longer the same. Traditional wars continue to break out, and we see worrying setbacks in the nuclear non-proliferation regime, which necessarily will have to include the dimension of disarmament.

Nuclear weapons are not a source of security, but an instrument of mass destruction that denies our own humanity and threatens the continuity of life on Earth.

As long as nuclear weapons exist, there will always be the possibility of their use.

For this reason, Brazil was actively engaged in the negotiations of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which we hope to be able to ratify soon.

In line with the United Nations Charter, we strongly condemn the use of force as a means of dispute settlement. We condemn the violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

At the same time, as fighting continues, the human suffering, loss of life and destruction of homes increase.

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Questions related to this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

Latin America, has it taken the lead in the struggle for a culture of peace?

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I have repeated to exhaustion that it is necessary to talk about peace. No solution will last unless it is based on dialogue. We need to work to open room for negotiations.

At the same time, we cannot lose sight of the fact that the challenges to peace and security currently plaguing the world go far beyond Europe.

Israelis and Palestinians, Armenians and Azerbaijanis, Kosovars and Serbs need peace. Yemenis, Syrians, Libyans and Sudanese all deserve to live in peace. These conflicts should receive the same degree of international attention.

In Haiti, we need to act quickly to alleviate the suffering of a population torn apart by tragedy. The scourge to which the Haitian people is subject is the result of decades of indifference to the country’s real needs. For years, Brazil has been saying that Haiti’s problem is not just one of security, but, above all, one of development.

The gap between these challenges and the global governance we have continues to grow. The lack of a reform of the Security Council is the unavoidable component of the problem.

The Council is more paralyzed than ever. Permanent members continue the long tradition of waging unauthorized wars, whether in pursuit of territorial expansion or in pursuit of regime change.

Even without being able to prevent or resolve conflicts through the Council, some countries insist on expanding its agenda more and more, bringing in new themes that should be dealt with in other bodies of the UN system.

The result is that today we have a Council that does not deal with the old problems, nor the current ones, much less the future ones.

Brazil has lived in peace with its neighbors for over 150 years. We made Latin America a region without nuclear weapons. We are also proud of having built, together with African neighbors, a zone of peace and nuclear non-proliferation in the South Atlantic.

We are witnessing the emergence of a multipolar order that, if well received and nurtured, can benefit all.

The multipolarity that Brazil seeks is based on the primacy of International Law and the promotion of multilateralism.

Re-enacting the Cold War would be foolish.

Dividing the world into East and West or North and South would be as anachronistic as it is innocuous.

It is necessary to break with the logic of exclusive alliances and false clashes of civilizations.

It is urgent to reinforce the idea that cooperation, respecting differences, is the right path to follow.

Thank you very much.

Mexico: Guanajuato as the epicenter of the culture of peace


An article from Gobierno del Estado de Guanajuato ( translation by CPNN)

For the State Government it is a pride to announce that the city of León will host the First Ibero-American Meeting of Voices for Peace and the First Ibero-American Meeting of Journalism for Peace, to take place from June 1 to 3 at the Cultural Forum.

This was stated at a press conference by the State Government Secretary, Jesús Oviedo Herrera; “Promoting the Culture of Peace will always be a priority; it is a task of great importance where society and government must work together,” he added.

The General Coordinator of State Social Communication, Alan Sahir Márquez Becerra, stressed that Guanajuato will become the epicenter of the culture of peace in Mexico and Latin America.

In organizing these events, the Government of the State of Guanajuato joins efforts with the Civil Association Somos Iberoamérica Periodismo por la Paz -SOIPAZ-, with the purpose of bringing together global leaders and journalists from around the world to deliver their messages for peace, he added. .

The President of Somos Iberoamérica Periodismo por la Paz, Jorge Robledo Vega, thanked the State Government for its hosting and for its commitment to promoting the culture of peace.

Achieving world peace is a prevailing necessity in the face of the intolerance and violence that are multiplying in all corners of the planet, he pointed out.

He explained that the program of activities expects the participation of voices such as: Shirin Ebadi, Activist for human rights and democracy and the first Muslim woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and from Colombia Andrés Pastrana, former president of Colombia with a doctorate from the Center for International Affairs of Harvard University.

In addition, Alberto Pelaez, journalist, novelist, columnist, speaker, correspondent for 20 wars, as well as the Mexican journalist Pablo Latapí, will participate.

The General Director of Tv4, Juan Aguilera Cid, highlighted the importance of the issue of peace as one of the guiding principles of the State Government with the presence of leaders and journalists for peace.

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(Click here for the original Spanish version of the article)

Questions related to this article:

Journalism in Latin America: Is it turning towards a culture of peace?

Is there progress towards a culture of peace in Mexico?

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For TV 4 it is a pleasure to receive and support this initiative that combines the passion of communication with journalism and emphasizes our social responsibility, he added.

In these events, analysis tables and workshops will be including Journalism for peace, investigative journalism, documentary journalism and digital journalism.

From Spain: Ana Barrero, Journalist and Director of the Culture of Peace Foundation in Madrid and President of the Spanish Association for Peace Research (AIPAZ) will participate in the workshops and analysis tables. From Chile will be Gonzalo E. Cáceres, Co-Founder of Deutsche Welle TV in Germany.

From Mexico: Luis Miguel González, Editorial Director of the newspaper El Economista, Daniel Moreno, Director and founder of the digital portal Animal Político, Francisco García Davish, Director and founder of the information agency QUADRATÍN. Also directors of Código Magenta as well as journalists from local, national and international media will be present.

Eréndira Saldaña Quintero, President of the Voces por la Paz Organizing Committee, commented that the program also includes a cycle of conferences in a TED-type format with topics related to peace, journalism, inclusion and human development.

Likewise the First Ibero-American Meeting of Journalism for Peace will be the setting for the delivery of the Grandeza de Mexico award, to journalists from Guanajuato, whose careers have transcended borders.

Today we extend the invitation to all representatives of the media, committed communicators, opinion leaders and journalists to join us in these two days of work, aware that in our words we have the power of peace, the power of the culture of peace, he said.

To promote the culture of peace, we must work with the new generations, therefore, it is essential to include the youth of Ibero-America. For this the meeting will include the space “A thousand young people for peace/” It will be addressed by Roberto Martínez, author of three bestselling books, content creator and host of the Creativo podcast with over 11 million followers on social media.

The meeting will mark the entity of Guanajuato as a pioneer in the meeting of Ibero-American personalities in favor of peace Through this meeting, global leaders and journalists of the world will showcase unity for Peace.

The complete program of activities can be consulted through the web portal https://www.soipaz.org and the soipazoficial social networks, all events will be free.

Antonio de Jesús Navarro Padilla, General Director of the Institute for the Development and Care of Youth of the State of Guanajuato, stressed that young people of Guanajuato and other entities that attend this Ibero-American Meeting will be a fundamental part of the meeting and each one will be able to become an ambassador of peace, bearing positive messages.

“From Guanajuato, for Mexico and Ibero-America, we will seek to plant in the collective consciousness the importance of promoting a culture of peace, with examples of great young talents honoring our State and our country,” he added.

Finally, the Secretary of Government on behalf of the Governor of the State, Diego Sinhue Rodríguez Vallejo, reiterated that it is an honor for Guanajuato to host these events that will become an ideal setting for the exchange of experiences, information and actions promoting peace.

Brazil signs in Buenos Aires declaration to combat hate speech on the internet


An article from the government of Brazil (translation by CPNN)

Alongside representatives of other Mercosur countries, the Minister of Human Rights and Citizenship, Silvio Almeida, signed this Friday (May 12), the “Declaration for a Culture of Peace and Democracy and for Combating Expressions and Hate Speech”. The document, written during the plenary of the 41st Meeting of High Authorities on Human Rights of Mercosur (RAADH), in Buenos Aires, shows the position of the bloc’s countries on this issue.

Minister Silvio Almeida represented Brazil during the RAADH meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Photo: Isabel Carvalho – Ascom/MDHC)

During the discussions at the Plenary of High Authorities, the minister took a strong position against the use ;of hate speech. “Fascists have no political opinion they have hatred. As the state, we have the duty to fight any and all hate speech and to act without borders against fascists and Nazis”, he said. 

The text of the declaration condemns the circulation of hate speech and expressions of racism, xenophobia and all forms of oppression. It also condemns manifestations posted on social networks and media that intentionally attack people and groups in vulnerable situations and those historically discriminated against. 

The senior authorities addressed, during the plenary session, the theme of Human Rights and the exercise of Citizenship. The Brazilian delegation reiterated the country’s commitment to policies for the protection and promotion of the elderly, highlighting the urgency of the need for specific human rights policies for this population, including inclusion processes. In addition, data on the aging of the population in Brazil and in the region were presented, highlighting that the elderly still suffer violations of rights and age discrimination.

(Click here for the original Portuguese version of this article)

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Question related to this article:
Are we making progress against racism and hate speech?

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Work group 
The declaration also agreed on the creation of a working group (GT) to create a series of guidelines to be used internally by the signatory countries. The guidelines aim to guarantee the protection and promotion of the human rights of the people who inhabit their territories through prevention and treatment actions to face all other forms of discrimination, as well as to promote all types of subsequent accountability.

“Latin America has a history of political instability and attacks on sovereignty and disrespect for human rights. It is important that we take a stand in defense of democracy and institutional stability, combating all kinds of threats”, said the minister. 

Brazil’s participation in the event marks the country’s return to discussions on the human rights agenda in Latin America, after four years of absence.


The 41st RAADH took place throughout the week and, at the end, the authorities presented in the plenary a compilation of information from the thematic meetings with the suggestions they consider important to be adopted by all the countries of the Mercosur bloc.
Among the topics discussed by Brazil are issues related to children and adolescents, women’s rights, people with disabilities, the elderly, education and culture, communication, social participation, memory, truth and justice, and social equality. 


The place chosen to host the Plenary of High Authorities on Human Rights had a special symbolism. It was held at the Sitio de Memoria ESMA, a former torture and extermination center that today serves as a memorial site for the atrocities committed against the victims of the last military coup in Argentina (1976 to 1983). The holding of the 41st RAADH in such an emblematic place was highlighted by the participants of the event and was included in the Final Act of the Plenary.

In addition to Minister Silvio Almeida, representing Brazil, the Plenary was attended by Horacio Pietragalla, Secretary of Human Rights of Argentina; Silvia Patiño Santacruz, Deputy Minister of Justice of Paraguay; Tomas Ignacio Pascual Ricke, Director of Human Rights at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile; and Carlos Alberto Chocano Burga, Ambassador of Peru to Argentina.


The Meeting of High Authorities on Human Rights of Mercosur (RAADH) takes place every six months and is responsible for reflecting on and dictating the bloc’s human rights agenda. 

The 42nd edition of the event will take place next semester in Brazil, when the country will exercise the Pro Tempore presidency of Mercosur and will host the bloc’s discussions.

Cuba urges to make culture a Development Goal


An article by Alina Ramos Martin from Prensa Latina

Unesco’s proposal to turn culture into an objective of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was one of the most heard demands at the Havana Convention Palace.

Culture ministers and high-ranking officials from the member countries of the Group of 77 plus Cuba, who attended the meeting, reiterated the initiative launched last year at the World Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, held last September in Mexico.

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(Click here for a Spanish version of the article)

Questions related to this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

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The Havana event coincided in the transcendental value demonstrated by culture in the face of the challenges of Covid-19 and how it helped as a source of resilience and solidarity to face the isolation during the pandemic.

In this regard, the Venezuelan Minister of Culture, Ernesto Villegas, endorsed the statements made at the meeting and called for the promotion of respect for diversity and national cultures.

On the need to promote culture as an essential global public good, China’s Vice Minister of Culture Li Qun highlighted his government’s global civilization initiative in defense of the traditions, heritage and history of all peoples.

Colombia’s Vice Minister of Development and Heritage, Adriana Molano, urged the promotion of more inclusive alliances based on culture, through diverse solutions that make it possible to face current challenges.

She highlighted her country’s experience in resolving the armed conflict through a culture of peace, which is making it possible to transform imaginaries and society and fight against all forms of inequity.

Hilmar Farid, Minister of Education and Culture of Indonesia, said that the excessive commercialization of culture has had serious negative consequences on respect for the various artistic expressions, their creators and national traditions.

Meanwhile, Anarella Vélez of Honduras explained what her government is doing to confront the hegemonic attempts of big capital and the right wing and to develop culture so that it can be consolidated as a cornerstone of its policy of good living.

Lula demarcates six indigenous territories in Brazil, the first in five years


An article fromIstoé (translation by CPNN)

President Lula signed, this Friday (April 28), decrees demarcating six new territories for indigenous peoples, the first since 2018 and one of them in a vast territory in the Amazon, during a meeting with representatives of indigenous peoples in Brasília.

These new reserves, which guarantee indigenous people the exclusive use of natural resources while preserving their traditional way of life, are considered by scientists as one of the main barriers against deforestation in the Amazon, whose control is one of the government’s priority objectives.

Video from Terra Livre Camp

“It is a somewhat lengthy process, it has to go through many hands, but we are going to work hard so that it can demarcate the largest possible number of Indigenous Lands”, said the president.

Lula made the announcement on the occasion of the closing of the 19th edition of the “Terra Livre” camp, an annual meeting that brought together thousands of indigenous people from all over the country in Brasília this week.

“It was like lifting a weight off our shoulders, like music to our ears,” Claudia Tomás, 44, from the Baré ethnic group, whose lands were included in the demarcations, told AFP.

No new indigenous lands were demarcated during the mandate of Jair Bolsonaro (2019-2022), who had promised, before coming to power, “not to give any centimeter” to the original peoples.

Tehe Pataxó, a 29-year-old girl with her face painted in red and black lines, said she was relieved by the conquest for the native peoples: “It was four years suffering with militiamen in our Pataxó territory in the south of Bahia, where indigenous people were murdered”.

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(Click here for the original Portuguese version of this article.)

Question for this article

Indigenous peoples, Are they the true guardians of nature?

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During Bolsonaro’s tenure, average annual deforestation increased by 75% compared to the previous decade.

The last approval had been on April 26, 2018, under the presidency of Michel Temer (2016-2018), referring to the Baía do Guató indigenous land, an area of 20,000 hectares in Mato Grosso.

Two of the six new approved reserves are located in the Amazon, including the largest, called Unieuxi, intended for 249 indigenous Maku and Tukano peoples, on more than 550,000 hectares in the Amazon.

Two other reserves are located in the northeast of the country, one in the south and the other in the center-west.

Lula signed the decrees alongside prominent indigenous leaders, such as the iconic chief Raoni Metuktire, who thanked him and placed a traditional headdress of blue and red feathers on the president’s head.

“In four years we will do more (for the indigenous peoples) than in the eight years we have already governed the country (2003-2010)”, promised the president.

– New territories –

According to the last census, in 2010, approximately 800,000 indigenous people live in Brazil, the majority in reserves, which occupy 13.75% of the territory.

“When they say that you occupy 14% of the territory, and you think that’s a lot, you need to know that, before the Portuguese, you occupied 100% of that territory”, completed Lula.

It is anticipated that new demarcations will be approved soon.

Last month, the Minister of Indigenous Peoples, Sonia Guajajara, announced that 14 territories (including the six approved this Friday) were ready to be legalized, totaling around 900,000 hectares.

“We are going to write a new history, for the good of all humanity, of our planet”, said the minister this Friday, shortly before the signing of the decrees.

FARC dissident group says to start peace talks with Colombian government in May


An article by Julia Symmes Cobb published by Reuters

Dissident FARC rebels who rejected a landmark peace agreement in 2016 said on Sunday (April 16) they are ready to set up a dialogue with the government on May 16 to begin peace talks to bring their group, the Estado Mayor Central (EMC), out of the armed conflict.

Nestor Gregorio Vera Fernandez, alias Ivan Mordisco, head of the Central General Staff of the FARC dissidents, attends a meeting with peasant communities in Yari, Colombia April 16, 2023. REUTERS/Mario Quintero

Leftist President Gustavo Petro – a former member of the urban guerrilla group M-19 – pledged to end six decades of an armed conflict that has left more than 450,000 dead by signing peace or surrender agreements with rebels and criminal gangs, in addition to fully implementing the pact with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

The EMC is one of two breakaway factions of the FARC and is made up of former leaders and fighters who did not accept the peace deal, which allowed in 2016 the reincorporation into civilian life of 13,000 people who formed a political party and received 10 seats in Congress.

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Questions related to this article:

What is happening in Colombia, Is peace possible?

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“We announce before the whole world that our delegates to the dialogue table with the Colombian state, headed by the national government, are already ready for May 16 of this year,” Ángela Izquierdo, spokeswoman for the armed group, told journalists.

There were no immediate comments from government officials.

Attorney General Francisco Barbosa suspended arrest warrants against more than 20 EMC members in early March, which facilitated the start of peace talks to be held in the Llano del Yari, on the border between the departments of Meta and Caqueta, in the south of the country.

The group, made up of 3,530 people – 2,180 combatants and 1,350 auxiliaries – has maintained a bilateral ceasefire with the Colombian government since the beginning of the year.

The other dissident FARC faction is the Segunda Marquetalia, which in August 2019 returned to the armed struggle, claiming that the state failed to comply with the peace agreement.

Petro’s government reestablished peace talks with the rebels of the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the two parties seek to advance towards a bilateral ceasefire agreement in a third round of talks to begin soon in Cuba.

Brazil: Lula creates working group to combat violence in schools


An article from Migalhas (translation by CPNN)

President Lula has signed a decree creating an inter-ministerial working group, with the aim of implementing policies to prevent and confront violence in schools.

The decree was published in the DOU, this Thursday, 6. The measure was created after the massacre at a day care center in Blumenau/SC, where four children died.

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(Click here for the original article in Portuguese.)

Question related to this article:
What is the relation between peace and education?

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The working group will be coordinated by the Ministry of Education and involves seven additional ministries and two secretariats. With an initial duration of 90 days, the group must propose various measures, including the eventual publication of decrees and bills to combat these crimes. One focus could be internet regulation mechanisms, where hate groups that encourage this type of attack proliferate.

Other measures

The Minister of Justice and Public Security, Flávio Dino, announced the release of R$ 150 million to expand school patrols across the country, amid the wave of attacks on schools and day care centers.

Another measure is to intensify the monitoring of threats and planning on the internet for attacks on schools. According to Flávio Dino, 50 federal police officers will exclusively monitor this type of crime, from a center at Diop – Integrated Operations Division, linked to Senasp – National Secretariat for Public Security of the ministry, with direct support from the state police . Until now, there were 10 police officers involved in this work.

Culture of peace

The Minister of Justice also defended the involvement of the media and private entities and civil society in a major national mobilization in favor of a culture of peace, which includes, for example, the adoption of protocols in cases like this, to avoid a excessive exposure of the perpetrators of this type of attack, who seek precisely the spotlight.

Here is the decree in full.

Azueï: the union of Dominicans and Haitians through art


An article by María Luisa López in Acento

For a group of Dominicans and Haitians to come together to create art may seem unusual, given the complex relationship between the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

However, in August 2015, a small group of people decided to come together to create a project that would promote a culture of peace and thus guarantee a space for dialogue through art and culture between the two peoples.

Here is the wall painted on the border by graffiti artists from the Azueï movement. Photo: Josué Azor

The meeting took place on the shores of the lake that separates Haiti from the Dominican Republic: Azueï. From there arose the name of this movement between local artists and from the neighboring country with which they also seek to undo prejudices, value the wealth of the island’s heritage and the proximity of both cultures.

“We decided to create a movement to have another way of doing things with each other. To strengthen the culture between the two nations, create joint works and through this common creation we are discovering each other”, Rachèle Magloire, president of the Azueï association in Haiti, told ACENTO.

In this regard, the filmmaker also narrates her own experience: “I particularly never had a Dominican friend. That never even occurred to me. The dynamics of collaboration and solidarity between the two countries had been completely broken. Now I even speak a little Spanish and I have Dominican friends.”

Younès Karroum, a founding member of the movement, explains that Azueï is multidisciplinary, since it is made up of musicians, graffiti artists, filmmakers and social activists.

When asked about the complexity that uniting citizens of both nations can entail, due to the cultural differences of each one, Karroum highlights artistry and trust.

“The keys to how to generate trust do not lie in the discourse, but in how to work in the arts; to find, first, a common language to be able to build whatever. For that, you have to identify the other as someone with whom I can share, I can work, and this is built through practice and the dynamics of creation… ”, he says.

To this he adds that, many times, the complex thing is to put aside the national reading that one can have when going from one country to another.

“In other words, when we have these meetings, these moments, I take off this contextual reading cap that I can have from my country and I take the gaze of the other and try to have another vision. Open your mind. And this works in Azueï. Azueï artists have developed this new identity that “we are Azueï”. And the discourse of the artists themselves has evolved a lot in these seven years because we already assume things from the other that we did not assume before ”, she specifies.

(Click here for the original version in Spanish.)

(Continued in right column)

Question related to this article:

Solidarity across national borders, What are some good examples?

Do the arts create a basis for a culture of peace?

(Continued from left column)

An island united by art

Both Magloire and Karroum agree that art is the most suitable way to unite both peoples, and they assure that the key that has worked for them is to do it from a constructive position.

They define art as a key tool to change mentalities, both Dominicans and Haitians, and the perception they have of each other.

“Because I think that, in the end, there have been voluntary policies to paint a neighbor in a way for political interests and this with many resources, in the Dominican Republic in particular. This has generated the establishment of a mentality towards the other based only on these criteria, not based on day-to-day reality. In the Dominican Republic there is a lot of interaction with Haitians. There are many examples of solidarity. There are many organizations working on the issue, there are many cases of positive relationship”, indicates Karroum.
On his side, Magloire also puts the issue of discrimination in context and assures that it not only occurs towards Haitians, but also towards Dominicans.

“We also see discrimination against Haitians because our artists were imprisoned or mistreated. We have some who live here. But we also discovered discrimination against Dominicans. Racism is not only against Haitians. There is deep racism here (on the island), which is not talked about,” he indicates.

Activities in the country

These days, Azueï is immersed in a tour of the Dominican Republic that has included demonstrations, workshops, rehearsals, recording of documentaries and music sessions.

“The activities began in February with a residency at Xiomara Fortuna’s Campeche ecological ranch with the graffiti artists from the Azueï team, and representatives of Haitian and Dominican cultural organizations that we have financed within the QuisqueyArt project to encourage exchanges beyond us. Other organizations are invited to undertake these cultural exchanges. Because in the Dominican there is a need for cultural projects with Haiti, and just as in Haiti this connection is needed”, Karroum points out.

He explains that their residence, carried out as a dynamic of conflict transformation through the arts, worked on the concept for a mural on the border between Dajabón and Juana Méndez.

Among the activities of the tour in the country they also included a conversation
with the entire team of the movement in El Portal Cultural, in the Colonial City.
In the same place on Friday, they will have a session with all the Azueï musicians for those who want to go and play with them.

And to close the tour they will perform a concert at the Cultural Center of Spain, in the Colonial City, at 8:00 p.m., in which they will play all the songs from their album Artybonito.

Mexico: 175 organizations and groups convene a National Peace Conference


An article from Artículo 9 (Licencia Creative Commons Atribución-NoComercial 2.5)

Mexico City March 15, 2023.- Counteracting the different types of violence that the country is experiencing, 175 organizations and groups are convening a National Peace Conference. We believe that fighting against the causes of violence is a shared responsibility: as long as it continues to be believed that it should only be the task of the government, there will be no peace. It is urgent to stop the violence, all of it, at all levels of our lives.

We see with concern that, despite all the attacks that accumulate day by day, we do not yet have a national consensus to build a culture of peace from all possible fronts. Instead, we observe that the various forms of violence are being used more and more to deepen the differences that are separating us. If we do nothing, the year 2024 could be even worse.

That is why we have decided to convene a National Peace Conference, bringing together all the voices and all the groups that have experienced violence firsthand, as well as those of us who have dedicated a fundamental part of our lives to building a culture of peace.

We want to talk to each other, listen to each other, understand each other, support each other. We want to imagine and build all possible safeguards to face violence and find all the paths to peace.

(Click here for the original article in Spanish.)

Questions related to this article:

Is there progress towards a culture of peace in Mexico?

The Conference will take place at the Museum of Memory and Tolerance in Mexico City on March 22, 23 and 24, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

We will listen to and share the proposals of people and groups that have experienced violence and those who are threatened by different forms of violence. The first day we will talk about femicides, forced disappearance, violence against girls, boys and adolescents, indigenous peoples, day laborers, migrants and defenders of the territory. The second day, of the groups that live under different modalities of threat, such as journalists, patients without medication, the LGTBQ+ community, academics and students, sex workers, domestic workers, delivery men, as well as people in social reintegration, homeless and consumers. of drugs. During the third day we will listen to the organizations that have worked in defense of these groups and in the construction of peace.

The Peace Conference will also be broadcast on March 22, 23 and 24 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. live on Facebook Live at @NosotrxsMX and on YouTube at Nosotrxs Movimiento.

More information and list of convening organizations here

We would love for you to join the number of convening organizations! If you are interested in joining your organization, please fill out the following form.

Promoting Organizations

Acción Ciudadana Frente a la Pobreza 
Artículo 19
Fondo Semillas
Fundación Friedrich Ebert
IBERO- Ciudad de México
Incide Social
RENACE San Luis Potosí
Revista Proceso
World Justice Project