Tag Archives: Latin America

Colombia: Government plans to provide 100,000 young peace managers with economic benefits

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION . .

An article by Maria Alejandra Uribe in W Radio

In the middle of the presentation of the Youth Employability Program, President Gustavo Petro announced that the Government has been working on a project to take away from delinquents and criminal organizations the young people who work in them and who can become peace managers .


Gustavo Petro, President of Colombia. / Photo Guillermo Legaria/Getty Images

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

Questions related to this article:

What is happening in Colombia, Is peace possible?

Youth initiatives for a culture of peace, How can we ensure they get the attention and funding they deserve?

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“We are preparing, with the experience we have had, a large-scale program, that is why we are talking about peace managers, we want to act with excluded youth in the areas with the highest levels of violence in Colombia such as Urabá, poor neighborhoods in Cartagena, from Montería Barranquilla, Chocó where people are hungry”, said the President.

To this the Head of State added, “we plan to achieve a program that covers 100,000 young people in those areas. It will be linked to education and based on the fact that a young person must receive an income that allows them to live with dignity, a salary that can compete with that offered by multi-crime organizations. The credit can be seen as an instrument to promote studies and work.

It is expected that the rules of the game will be established in the coming days so that this great ‘peace army’ can begin to act in the most vulnerable areas of the country and achieve total peace.

(Editor’s note: This proposal is based on a program of 10,000 peace managers that was implemented in Bogota when Petro was mayor of the city. An evaluation of that program is available in Spanish.)

Jamaica: Partnering with youth to break cycles of violence

. TOLERANCE & SOLIDARITY .

An article by Neville Charlton* from The Gleaner
 
Data shows that youth, especially males between the ages of 16 and 24, are disproportionately impacted by violent crimes, while women and girls are the main victims of sexual violence. There are a plethora of interconnected determinants of crime and violence among the youth population spanning social, economic, political, and cultural factors.


Neville Charlton 

Youth Inspiring Positive Change (YIPC) has identified that violence in Jamaican schools continues to have a significant impact on the educational performance and socio-emotional health of youth and propagates a dominant negative narrative around young people. Gang violence, political conflict, police brutality, and domestic violence in the wider society are often reproduced in the school environment.

In Jamaica, our youth are partners and protectors and need better capacities and training in order to continue acting as human rights defenders, peacebuilders, activists, and community mobilisers. Young people can contribute to the civic space in unique ways, with resilience, creativity, and determination to work for peace despite various risks and threats to their life.

With that data in mind, YIPC has grown an army of over 1,500 young volunteers and peacebuilders islandwide who use their experience as a platform to work with various non-governmental organisations (NGO) and youth groups across Jamaica. YIPC has worked with youth over the last decade by providing leadership, peace and advocacy, training, mentorship as well as job opportunities.
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It is important to understand the realities of our youth if we want to effectively reach them and break the cycle of violence. Our ambassadors have indicated that they are looking for a way to be employed, opportunities to network, safe spaces to meaningfully engage in development and they want to be heard and to be seen.

Life skills training for youth helps improve critical thinking, problem solving, and cooperative learning skills, along with developing respect and empathy and conflict management skills. These help young people to become responsible citizens and agents of positive change.

In Jamaica, conflict is at the centre of human life; it is inevitable and inherent in the experience of living. It is also true that each one of us has different ways of dealing with it. I have experienced this as a young peace activist in Jamaica. As agents of change, our way of dealing with conflict must always be positive. We see each problem as an opportunity to generate change.

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Question related to this article:
 
Youth initiatives for a culture of peace, How can we ensure they get the attention and funding they deserve?

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When youth receive the necessary training, support, and mentorship to become agents of change, personal growth and development follow. This has become evident through YIPC’s peace tours, training programmes and peace ambassador networks across numerous high schools such as Meadowbrook High, Clarendon College, St Hugh’s and various communities such as Tivoli Gardens, Trench Town and Arnett Gardens.

INVALUABLE EFFORTS

Recognition is an important motivating factor for youth mobilisation. Awards programmes, such as YIPC’s annual Positive Awards, recognise the invaluable efforts of members and volunteers who go above and beyond to become agents of change at the community and national level.

Partnership is critical to breaking the ongoing cycle of violence and to supporting youth NGOs in their community development efforts. The award of a grant from the UNDP Multi Country Office in Jamaica to bolster the YIPC’s peace ambassador programme is an example of partnerships that can make a difference. Furthermore, YIPC’s participation in the design of a youth-centred call to action from the UNDP Ready Set Great Youth Summit on Crime and Violence is indicative of the kind of youth inclusivity that is welcomed by young people. Two of the calls to action that are most appropriate for supporting youth contributions to national safety and security interventions are:

1. More structured and consistent support from stakeholders in government, private sector and civil society to aid youth groups and organisations with human, technical and financial resources to support community projects that address crime prevention, with emphasis on citizen security and safety, thus contributing to a more peaceful Caribbean society.

2. Expansion of youth programmes that offer real opportunities for mentoring and skill development.

Achieving peaceful, just, and inclusive societies is not rocket science. We need to ensure that young people are allowed to be young, to share their voices and opinions even when they are different. Young people should be allowed to be free to enjoy their fundamental rights. Most importantly, young people should be protected, included, and involved meaningfully to ensure that our power is transformed and used appropriately to contribute to development.

What I admire most about our generation is that we always go for more. Despite the injustices, the limitations, and the issues we face, there will always be reasons to continue fighting and working for a more peaceful, just and safe Jamaica. Because in the end, we are all part of the universe, and we see ourselves reflected in every human being who lives through an injustice. That compassion and that ability to find our common humanity is what drives us as young people to move forward, to move on even in adversity. Let’s keep getting involved and let’s keep encouraging others to generate solutions to the problems we face every day in our contexts.

* Neville Charlton is the founder of Youth Inspiring Positive Change JA Ltd. Send feedback to nevillecharlton@positiveja.org. This article is part of a series written by youth partners of UNDP’s annual Ready Set Great Youth in Development showcase. Visit www.readysetgreatja.com for more information.

UN Alliance of Civilizations Application Guidelines: Young Peacebuilders in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) – 6th Edition

. TOLERANCE & SOLIDARITY .

An announcment from the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations

The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) has launched the call for applications for the 6th edition of its Young Peacebuilders programme in Latin America and the Caribbean (2023), aiming to tackle violent extremism by building inclusive societies with understanding and respect among cultural and religious communities

Are you between 18 and 25 years old? *

Are you a citizen of a LAC** country and/or do you currently live in this region?

Are you interested in taking part in an intercultural learning experience with other young people from LAC and improve your actions to promote peace?

Are you part of a youth-led organization, network or initiative?

Do you want to increase your ability to contribute to peace and social inclusion in your community, country and region?

Are you in the beginning stages of your involvement in this type of work and want to learn more?

If yes, apply now for a chance to be selected for a fully-funded participation in the 6th edition of the UNAOC Young Peacebuilders programme in the LAC region (2023).

Deadline to apply: 19 February 2023

* Be 18-25 years of age for the total duration of the project. To be considered eligible, applicants must be born on or between October 25, 1996, and October 25, 2004
** Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)

Click here to apply for the 6th edition of Young Peacebuilders in LAC

1. The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC)

UNAOC was established in 2005, as an initiative of Secretary-General Kofi Annan and co-sponsored by the Governments of Spain and Türkiye. UNAOC works towards a more socially inclusive world, by building mutual respect among peoples of different cultural and religious identities and highlighting the will of the world’s majority to reject violent extremism and embrace diversity. UNAOC project activities are fashioned around Youth, Education, Media, Migration, and Women as Peace Mediators. UNAOC recognizes the critical role that programming and policymaking in these areas can play in reducing polarization and identity-based tensions and in helping to build bridges between communities. The Alliance benefits from the political support of the Group of Friends, a community of 158 members comprising of Member States and international and regional organizations, which actively promote the Alliance’s objectives.

Learn more about UNAOC and our programming for young people here.

2. Young Peacebuilders in LAC: Programme overview and timeline

Guided by the principle that youth are key actors to achieve peace and prevent violent extremism, as stated by UN Security Council resolutions 2250, 2419, and 2535, and the United Nations Secretary General’s Plan of Action on Preventing Violent Extremism, UNAOC develops educational programming to enhance the ability of young people and their organizations to foster mutual respect, understanding and long-term positive relationships between peoples of different cultures and religions. You may find more information about UNAOC’s Young Peacebuilders initiative here.

The 6th edition of the Young Peacebuilders programme in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) 2023 is designed to strengthen the skills of young women and men from the region in tackling stereotypes, prejudice and xenophobia while providing them with access to regional and global peacebuilding networks and raising visibility of their innovative and effective peace work in the field. The long-term goal is the integration of young peacebuilders in governmental peace processes / policies.

This 6th edition will be implemented in collaboration with the United Network of Young Peacebuilders (UNOY) and is funded by AEXCID (Agencia Extremeña de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo).

The aim is to support the growth of networks of young peacebuilders who are equipped with the tools to address stereotypes, prejudice and polarization in order to build more inclusive and peaceful societies, tackling the drivers of violent extremism.

In order to participate, applicants must commit to completing all phases of the programme, outlined below. Online involvement is part-time, while the workshop is a full-time, one-week experience.

Participation in the results-sharing symposium is also mandatory.

During the programme, 20 selected participants will:

Learn about stereotypes and how to critically analyze them to reduce their prevalence;

Understand different perspectives in identity-based conflict and gain tools to develop solutions at local, national and regional levels and transform conflicts peacefully;

Identify push and pull factors creating conditions conducive to violent extremism;

Develop competencies to use different forms of media or expressive arts as a way to create alternative narratives, reduce polarization and promote social inclusion;

Learn how to successfully design and run your project.

Programme components:

Part 1: online phase (+/- 2 months). Participants access the course through an online collaborative platform provided by UNAOC. UNAOC and other trainers facilitate the modules of the curriculum, giving an opportunity to participants to get to know each other prior to their first in-person meeting. They also start getting exposed to tools and concepts, engage in discussion and start reflecting on their peace actions. Time commitment: 4 to 5 hours per week to complete the modules (some work can be completed offline).

Part 2: face-to-face workshop (+/- 7-8 days). All participants travel to complete the training and experience how peacebuilding is successfully implemented through 1 or 2 local field visits. They also work on the development of their own action plan.

Part 3: applied learning (+/- 3 months). Implementation of a personal peace initiative: participants are guided by UNAOC’s professional trainers and stay connected with other participants while reporting on the implementation of their projects.

Part 4: results sharing symposium (2-4 days). Participants are invited to travel and participate in a symposium during which they share their experience, lessons learned, achievements and recommendations with a broader audience of practitioners, policymakers, media and the general public. They also engage with this audience on topics related to intercultural dialogue, peace and security.

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Question related to this article:
 
Youth initiatives for a culture of peace, How can we ensure they get the attention and funding they deserve?

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3. Tentative timeline and logistics

January-March 2023: call for applications

By April 2023: selected participants are notified

May-June 2023: selected participants take part in introductory online modules (part 1)

June-July 2023: participants travel to take part in the face-to-face workshop (part 2)

July-September 2023: participants commit to conduct peace activities in the three months following the workshop (part 3)
October 2023: Results-sharing symposium at a location to be determined
Language: The working language of the programme is English.

4. Costs covered by the organizers

All selected youth participants will be provided with:

Round-trip travel (international or domestic flight, economy class) to the city of the face-to-face workshop and (for those selected) to the city of the symposium;

Accommodation in the city of the face-to-face workshop and the symposium

Meals and coffee breaks during the official duration of the workshop and the symposium

Shuttles or reimbursement of transportation to/from the airport and hotel in the city of the face-to-face workshop and  in the city of the symposium.

5. Costs covered by the participants

For the workshop and symposium, youth participants will be responsible for their transportation to and from the airport in their country of residence (and embassy in case a visa is needed), as well as any personal and incidental expenses incurred outside of the official portions of the workshop, such as souvenirs, equipment, additional food, etc.

6. Selection of participants

Youth participants aged 18-25 will be selected on the basis of merit demonstrated through motivation and interest, their experience and their potential for dissemination and applications of lessons learned.

The selection committee will ensure balance in terms of age, gender, geography, and diversity of backgrounds among selected participants.

In addition, special attention will be paid to ensure participation of youth from marginalized or disadvantaged groups. The selection committee will be composed of representatives of UNAOC, youth-led structures and relevant stakeholders in the field.

Eligibility criteria (all requirements must be met in order to be considered eligible):

Age: Applicant must be 18-25 years of age for the total duration of the project. To be considered eligible, applicants must be born on or between October 25, 1996, and October 25, 2004.

Region: Applicant must be a citizen of and/or currently live in one of the following countries of Latin America and the Caribbean: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela (the Bolivarian Republic of).

Organization: Applicant must be active (staff, volunteer, etc.) in a non-government and non-for-profit youth-led organization, network, initiative, or movement (led by youth for the benefit of the youth) and have the ability to consult with and reach a wider group of young people, audience or network, including at the grassroots and community level.

Commitment: Demonstrate commitment to diversity and pluralism, nonviolence, peaceful and inclusive societies. The organizations and networks represented should: Adhere to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the principles and values of the Charter of the United Nations; have internal democratic and transparent processes of leadership, decision-making, and consultation; be independent, unaffiliated with any political party.

Language: A strong command of English is necessary to take part in the online phase and in-person workshop. The applicant must understand English very well and possess intermediate to fluent levels of English, which would allow them to participate in the conversation and provide their input.

Prior experience: Applicant must never have taken part in a programme of UNAOC (Summer School, Youth Solidarity Fund, Intercultural Innovation Award, PLURAL+, PeaceApp, Youth Event at the UNAOC Global Forum, Fellowship Program, Young Peacebuilders, #YouthWagingPeace, Sport and PVE youth fora, EDIN, #DigitalGamesforPeace, Sport for One Humanity).

Passport: In order to be accepted in this programme, selected applicants must hold an international passport valid until at least April 15, 2024. Failure to provide a copy in due time will result in the cancellation of participation.

Completion and submission of requirements: The application is duly completed, submitted by the deadline, and contains all supporting documentation, requested as part of the call. Half-complete applications or applications filled in other languages than English will not be reviewed and considered.
 
Selection criteria:

Motivation and contribution to the programme:the applicant demonstrates that she/he is highly motivated to complete all portions of the programme.

Interest in themes:the applicant shows some experience in issues related to intercultural dialogue, peacebuilding and preventing violent extremism through examples of initiatives he/she is part of or is demonstrating a great interest to get involved in this set of issues.

Experience and potential: the applicant is at the beginning stages of his/her involvement or career in the field of peacebuilding and has specific goals to improve his/her skills and to make contribution to peace.

Outreach: the applicant and his/her organization have the capacity and motivation to absorb and disseminate the lessons learned back to their community, organization and to a wider network or audience.

Future impact and follow up:the applicant expressed his/her strong commitment to conduct personal peace initiatives in their community during the implementation phase and beyond

In order to be considered complete and valid, the application package must include the following and be submitted through the online application system available at apply.unaoc.org/young-peacebuilders-2023/:

An application form, completed and certified by the applicant;

A copy of the identification page of your international passport.
Word/character limit for each question in the application form needs to be respected. The application system automatically counts words and characters.

The application deadline is February 19, 2023, 11:59 PM Eastern Daylight Time (New York).

Lula: “We will rebuild relations with all the countries of the world.”

. DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION .

The inauguration speech of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva reprinted by Progressive International (translation by Progressive International

My gratitude to you who faced political violence before, during, and after the electoral campaign, who occupied the social networks and took to the streets under sun and rain, even if it was only to win a single precious vote. Who had the courage to wear our shirt, and, at the same time, wave the Brazilian flag when a violent and anti-democratic minority tried to censor our colors and appropriate the green and yellow that belongs to all Brazilian people. To you, who came from all corners of this country, from near or far away, by plane, by bus, by car or in the back of a truck, by motorcycle, by bicycle, and even on foot, in a true caravan of hope for this celebration of democracy.

But I also want to address those who opted for other candidates. I will govern for 215 million Brazilians, and not only for those who voted for me. I will govern for all, looking to our bright common future and not through the rear view mirror of a past of division and intolerance. Nobody is interested in a country on a permanent war footing, or a family living in disharmony. It is time to reconnect with friends and family, bonds broken by hate speech and the dissemination of so many lies. Enough of hate, fake news, guns and bombs. Our people want peace to work, study, take care of their families, and be happy. The electoral dispute is over.

I repeat what I said in my speech after the victory on October 30th, about the need to unite the country. There are not two Brazils. We are a single country, a single people, a great nation. We are all Brazilians, and we share the same virtue. We never give up. Even if they pluck all our flowers, one by one, petal by petal, we know that it is always time to replant, and that spring will come, and spring has already arrived. Today joy takes hold of Brazil in arms with hope.

My dear friends, I recently reread the speech of my first inauguration as President in 2003, and what I read made it even more evident how far Brazil has gone backwards. On that first January 2003, here in this very place, my dear vice-president José Alencar and I made the commitment to recover the dignity and self-esteem of the Brazilian people. And we did. Of investing to improve the living conditions of those who need it most, and we did. Of caring for health and education, and we did. But the main commitment we took on in 2003 was to fight inequality and extreme poverty, and to guarantee to every person in this country the right to have breakfast, lunch, and dinner every single day, and we fulfilled this commitment, we put an end to hunger and misery, and we strongly reduced inequality.

Unfortunately, today, 20 years later, we are returning to a past that we thought was buried. Much of what we did was undone in an irresponsible and criminal way. Inequality and extreme poverty are back on the rise. Hunger is back, and not by force of fate, not by the work of nature nor by divine will, hunger. The return of hunger is a crime, the most serious of all crimes committed against the Brazilian people. Hunger is the daughter of inequality, which is the mother of the great evils that delay the development of Brazil. Inequality belittles our continental-sized country by dividing it into unrecognizable parts. On one side a small portion of the population that has everything, on the other side a multitude that lacks everything and a middle class that has been growing poorer year by year due to the injustices of the government. Together we are strong, divided we will always be the country of the future that never arrives and that lives in permanent debt with its people. If we want to build our future today, if we want to live in a fully developed country for everyone, there can be no room for so much inequality. Brazil is great, but the real greatness of a country lies in the happiness of its people, and nobody is really happy in the midst of so much inequality.

My friends, when I say govern, I mean to take care. More than governing, I will take care of this country and the Brazilian people with great affection. In the last few years Brazil has gone back to being one of the most unequal countries in the world. It has been a long time since we have seen such abandonment and discouragement in the streets. Mothers digging through the garbage in search of food for their children. Entire families sleeping outdoors, facing the cold, the rain, and the fear. Children selling candy or begging when they should be in school, living the full childhood they have a right to. Unemployed men and women workers, exhibiting at the traffic lights cardboard signs with the phrase that embarrasses us all: “Please help me”. Queues at the door of butcher shops in search of bones to alleviate hunger, and, at the same time, waiting lines to buy imported cars and private jets. Such a social abyss is an obstacle to the construction of a truly fair and democratic society and a modern and prosperous economy.

That is why I and my vice-president Geraldo Alckmin assume today, before you and all the Brazilian people, the commitment to fight day and night against all forms of inequality in our country. Inequality of income, gender and race inequality, inequality in the labor market, in political representation, in State careers, inequality in access to health, education, and other public services. Inequality between the child who goes to the best private school and the child who shines shoes in the bus station with no school and no future, between the child who is happy with the toy he just got as a present and the child who cries of hunger on Christmas night. Inequality between those who throw food away and those who only eat leftovers. It is unacceptable that the richest 5% of people in this country have the same income share as the other 95%. That six Brazilian billionaires have a wealth equivalent to the assets of the 100 million poorest people in the country. That a worker earning a minimum monthly wage takes 19 years to receive the equivalent of what a super-rich person receives in a single month. And there is no point in rolling up the windows of a luxury car to avoid seeing our brothers and sisters who are crowded under the viaducts, lacking everything. The reality is there on every corner.

My friends, it is unacceptable that we continue to live with prejudice, discrimination, and racism. We are a people of many colors and all of us must have the same rights and opportunities. No one will be a second-class citizen, no one will have more or less support from the State, no one will be obliged to face more or less obstacles just because of the color of their skin. That is why we are recreating the Ministry of Racial Equality, to bury the tragic legacy of our slaveholding past. The indigenous peoples need to have their lands demarcated and free of threats from illegal and predatory economic activities, they need to have their culture preserved, their dignity respected, and sustainability guaranteed. They are not obstacles to development. They are guardians of our rivers and forests and a fundamental part of our greatness as a nation. This is why we are creating the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples to combat 500 years of inequality. We cannot continue to live with the hateful oppression imposed on women, subjected daily to violence in the streets and inside their own homes. It is unacceptable that they continue to receive lower salaries than men, when in the exercise of the same function they need to conquer more and more space in the dissuasive instances of this country, in politics, in the economy, in all strategic areas. Women must be what they want to be, they must be where they want to be. That is why we are bringing back the Ministry of Women. It was to fight inequality and its sequels that we won the election. And this will be the great mark of our government, from this fundamental fight a transformed country will emerge, a great and prosperous country, strong and fair, a country of all by all and for all, a generous and solidary country that will leave no one behind.

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(Click here for the article in Portuguese.)

Questions related to this article:
 
Latin America, has it taken the lead in the struggle for a culture of peace?

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My dear comrades, I reassume the commitment to take care of all Brazilians, especially those who need it most, to end hunger in this country once again, to take the poor out of the bone line and put them back in the Union’s budget. We have an immense legacy still vivid in the memory of each and every Brazilian, beneficiary or not of the public policies that made a revolution in this country. But we are not interested in living in the past. Therefore, far from any nostalgia, our legacy will always be the mirror of the future that we will build for this country. Under our governments, Brazil has reconciled record economic growth with the greatest social inclusion in history, and has become the sixth largest economy in the world, at the same time in which 36 million Brazilians have been lifted out of extreme poverty, and we have generated more than 20 million jobs with signed work cards and all rights guaranteed. We adjusted the minimum wage always above inflation. We broke records of investment in education, from kindergarten to university, to make Brazil also an exporter of intelligence and knowledge, and not only an exporter of commodities and raw materials. We more than doubled the number of students in higher education and opened the door to universities for the poor youth of this country. Young whites, blacks, and indigenous people for whom a university degree was an unattainable dream became doctors. We fought one of the great focuses of inequality, access to health, because the right to life cannot be held hostage to the amount of money one has in the bank. We created the Farmácia Popular (Popular Pharmacy), which provided medicines to those who needed them most, and more than that, which brought care to about 60 million Brazilians in the outskirts of the big cities and in the most remote parts of Brazil. We created Smiling Brazil to care for the oral health of all Brazilians. We have strengthened our Single Health System. And I want to take the opportunity to make a special thanks to the SUS professionals for the great work during the pandemic, bravely facing a virus, a lethal virus, and an irresponsible and inhumane government.

In our governments we invested in family agriculture and in small and medium farmers, responsible for 70% of the food that reaches our tables, and we did this without neglecting agribusiness, which obtained investment in record harvests year after year. We took concrete measures to combat climate change and reduced the deforestation of the Amazon by more than 80%. Brazil has consolidated itself as a world reference in the fight against inequality and hunger, and has become internationally respected for its active and haughty foreign policy. We were able to accomplish all of this while taking care of the country’s finances with total responsibility; we were never irresponsible with public money. We have made fiscal surplus every year, eliminated the foreign debt, accumulated reserves of 370 billion dollars, and reduced the foreign debt to almost half of what it was when we took office. In our governments there has never been and never will be any unnecessary spending. We have always invested and will invest again in our most precious asset, which is the Brazilian people.

Unfortunately, much of what we built in 13 years was destroyed in less than half of this time. First by the coup against President Dilma in 2016, and then by the four years of a government of national destruction whose legacy history will never forgive: 700,000 Brazilians killed by covid-19, 125 million suffering some degree of food insecurity from moderate to very severe, and 33 million going hungry. These are just a few numbers that are actually not just numbers, statistics, and indicators. They are people, men, women and children who are victims of a misgovernment that was finally defeated by the people on the historic October 30, 2022. The technical groups of the transition cabinet coordinated by my vice-president Alckmin, who for two months delved into the entrails of the previous government, have brought to light the real dimension of the tragedy.

What the Brazilian people have suffered in the last few years has been the slow and progressive construction of a true genocide. I want to quote, as an example, a small excerpt from the one hundred pages of this true chaos report produced by the transition cabinet. The report says: Brazil has broken feminicide records. Racial equality policies have suffered severe setbacks. Youth policy was dismantled and indigenous rights have never been so violated in the recent history of the country. The textbooks that will be used in the 2023 school year have not yet begun to be published. There is a shortage of medicine at the popular pharmacy, and no stock of vaccines to confront the new variants of covid-19. There is a lack of resources for the purchase of school meals. Universities run the risk of not finishing the school year. There are no resources for Civil Defense and the prevention of accidents and disasters. And who is paying the bill for this blackout is, once again, the Brazilian people.

My friends, these last few years we have lived through, without a doubt, one of the worst periods of our history, an era of shadows, uncertainties and a lot of suffering. But this nightmare came to an end through the sovereign vote in the most important election since the re-democratization of the country. An election that demonstrated the commitment of the Brazilian people to democracy and its institutions. This extraordinary victory for democracy forces us to look forward and forget our differences, which are much smaller than what unites us forever: the love for Brazil and the unshakeable faith in our people.

Now is the time to rekindle the flame of hope, solidarity, and love for our neighbor. Now is the time to take care of Brazil and the Brazilian people again, generate jobs, readjust the minimum wage above inflation, lower the price of food, create even more vacancies in universities, invest heavily in health, education, science and culture. Resume the infrastructure works of Minha Casa, Minha Vida, abandoned by the neglect of the government that is now gone. It is time to bring in investments and reindustrialize Brazil, fight climate change again and put an end once and for all to the devastation of our biomes, especially our beloved Amazon. We must break away from international isolation and resume relations with all the countries of the world. This is no time for sterile resentments. Now is the time for Brazil to look forward and smile again. Let us turn this page and write together a new and decisive chapter in our history.

Our common challenge is to create a fair, inclusive, sustainable and creative, democratic and sovereign country for all Brazilians. I have made a point of saying throughout the campaign: Brazil is resilient. And I say it again with all conviction, even in the face of the picture of destruction revealed by the transition cabinet: Brazil is resilient. It depends on us, all of us. And we will rebuild this country.

In my four years in office, we will work every day for Brazil to overcome the backwardness of more than 350 years of slavery, to recover the time and opportunities lost in these last years, to regain its prominent place in the world, and for each and every Brazilian to have the right to dream again and the opportunities to realize what they dream of. We need all together to rebuild and transform our beloved country. But we will only really rebuild and transform this country if we fight with all our strength against everything that makes it so unequal. It is urgent and necessary to form a broad front against inequality that involves society as a whole, workers, entrepreneurs, artists, intellectuals, governors, mayors, deputies, senators, unions, social movements, class associations, public servants, liberal professionals, religious leaders, ordinary citizens. After all, it is time to unite and rebuild our country. That is why I make this call to all Brazilians who want a more just, solidary, and democratic Brazil. Join us in a great collective effort against inequality. I want to end by asking each and every one of you that the joy of today be the raw material of the fight of tomorrow and of all the days to come, that the hope of today ferments the bread that is to be shared among all, and that we are always ready to react in peace and order to any attacks from extremists who want to sabotage and destroy our democracy. In the fight for the good of Brazil we will use the weapons that our adversaries fear the most, the truth that has overcome the lie, the hope that has overcome fear, and the love that has defeated hatred. Long live Brazil and long live the Brazilian people!

The Latin American front, after the assumption of Lula

DISARMAMENT & SECURITY .

An article from (translation by CPNN)

In the Itamaraty Palace, headquarters of the Brazilian Foreign Ministry, the recently inaugurated president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva held meetings with leaders of 15 countries, in which Brazil reaffirmed its decision to relaunch the regional organizations of integration, analyze a change in anti-drug policies imposed by the US, and sign a pact to protect the Amazon.


Boric and Lula

The expectations of a relaunch of Latin American integration gained strength at the beginning of the year and after Lula’s inaugural speech, but for now they avoid taking into account the serious divergence on integration models that subsist within the left itself and/or progressivism. .

«Our commitment will be with Mercosur and the rest of the sovereign nations of our region. We will have an active dialogue with the United States, the European Union and China. We will make more alliances to have more strength from now on. Brazil has to be the owner of its destiny, it has to be a sovereign country”, said the new Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, when announcing his road map for foreign policy.

The Mercosur agenda has several pending points, such as the possible entry of Bolivia, something in which Lula made a commitment with President Luis Arce in September, and the return of Venezuela to the organization. Lula will have to attempt a dialogue with the right-wing government of Uruguay, which has maintained a critical position towards the regional body, within the framework of its attempt to advance only in uncertain agreements with third countries or groups of nations, including China.

The bilateral meetings with presidents and high-ranking Latin American dignitaries, after Lula’s inauguration, were the kickoff to resume important issues for Brazil and its partners: a pact to protect the Amazon, a bi-oceanic corridor with Chile, and Brazil’s active return to the mechanisms of regional organizations that were abandoned by the Bolsonaro administration.

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(Click here for the original article in Spanish.)

Questions related to this article:
 
Latin America, has it taken the lead in the struggle for a culture of peace?

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After meeting with Lula, the new President of Colombia, Gustavo Petro wrote that the fight for the Amazon is a common project for the two Latin American leaders. “A great pact to save the Amazon jungle in favor of humanity. Towards a change in drug policy; a Brazil guarantor of peace in Colombia and the study of the electrical interconnection of the Americas with clean energy sources”.

Brazil plans to convene a summit with the 11 presidents who share the Amazon. The meeting would take place in the first half of the year in Brazil.

“We have decided to restart the link between Argentina and Brazil with all the strength that it should always have,” said Lula, who will return the visit in Buenos Aires, where concrete actions will be sought to promote bilateral and regional integration. The expectations that open up for Latin America and for the particular cases of Venezuela and Bolivia.

Chilean President Gabriel Boric remarked that “The complicity that exists between both governments and the Latin American and South American integration policy that we are going to carry out, working together, Chile and Brazil, has become clear.” Boric spoke with Lula about his interest in the bi-oceanic corridor, a route through Argentina and Paraguay that will link the ports of Brazil and Chile.

“We are going to work to strengthen the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac) and Unasur, and we are going to risk it so that integration is not only based on declarations,” he added.

Lula reported that with Bolivian President Luis Arce he discussed collaboration on social policies, energy and the supply of fertilizers. Arce stressed the importance of deepening the work agenda on border issues, gas, electricity, urea, investment and trade between the two countries.

The president of Honduras, Xiomara Castro, the only Central American president to attend Lula’s inauguration, affirmed that at the next meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac), on January 24, she will establish with Lula, through a agreement, the different ways in which Honduras will receive support from Brazil.Lula da Silva Jorge Rodríguez

Jorge Rodríguez, president of the Venezuelan National Assembly, held a meeting with Lula on Monday. Social movements in Brazil held an event in the capital to return the Venezuelan embassy to Venezuela after three years of being closed due to the aggressive policies of the government of the outgoing Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro.

In addition to the re-entry to Mercosur, several issues remain pending on the agenda with Venezuela. The first is the normalization of diplomatic relations, which is already underway with the appointment of Manuel Vicente Vadell as ambassador to Brazil and the announcement by Foreign Minister Vieira to immediately send “a charge d’affaires to recover the buildings that we have there.” ”, and then appoint an ambassador.

(Thank you to OtherNews for calling this article to our attention.)

Hidalgo, Mexico: Networks of Women Peace-Builders created in Apan, Tula and Pachuca

. . WOMEN’S EQUALITY . .

An article from News Hidalgo (translation by CPNN)

Within the framework of the Fund for the Well-being and Advancement of Women (FOBAM) of Inmujeres, this year the Hidalguense Institute for Women (IHM) carried out processes of awareness, training and strengthening of municipal and state institutional mechanisms to reduce adolescent pregnancy in 13 municipalities with medium and high adolescent fertility rates and build safe and peaceful spaces in Hidalgo.


Questions related to this article:

Protecting women and girls against violence, Is progress being made?

Is there progress towards a culture of peace in Mexico?

Three Networks of Women Peace-Builders (MUCPAZ) were created in Apan, Tula de Allende and Pachuca, strategic municipalities for the reconstruction of the social fabric. These citizen networks are made up of women from the community or municipalities who help with government agencies in the prevention of gender violence. Their strategies include to identify risk factors, detect possible situations in a timely manner violence, promote equality between women and men, help create environments free of violence and promote a culture of peace.

The members of the MUCPAZ networks include women regardless of whether or not they have schooled and they may speak Spanish or an indigenous language; They are survivors of gender violence, they know their communities, they know what the main problems are, and they have the capacity to create alternatives, solutions, and actions to transform their realities.

Both the women members of the networks and the civil servants of the participating municipalities received training workshops on peace, gender equality and prevention of violence against women.

With the advice and technical support of the IHM, they prepared a community action plan with the components of recovery, appropriation and new ways of living together. The plan was presented to the community in a public forum.

(Click here for the original article in Spanish.)

Brazil: Culture of Peace Fair seeks to combat various types of violence in Juiz de Fora

.. DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION ..

An article from the Tribuna de Minas

The project “Weaving Networks for a Culture of Peace and Violence Prevention” was part of the Culture of Peace Fair, held this Monday (the 19th), in Juiz de Fora in front of the Cine-Theatro Central.  The objective of the event is to show the project’s contributions to the establishment of an effective network for preventing and coping with the various forms of violence in the city.


The event is organized by the Intersectoral Nucleus for the Prevention of Violence and the Promotion of Peace (Photo: Divulgação)

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Questions for this article:

Can festivals help create peace at the community level?

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The event is organized by the Intersectoral Nucleus for the Prevention of Violence and the Promotion of Peace, implemented through municipal decree 15.034, of February 18 of this year.  Institutions and professionals that make up the nucleus presented the actions that they have developed.

For the professor of Psychology and coordinator of Culture of Peace, Cacilda Andrade de Sá, this was an opportunity to address a sensitive issue in a more welcoming way. “We aim to bring knowledge from the university to the community in general. In today’s case, the focus was on violence prevention by knowing the types of violence and proposing actions to reduce them, bringing a culture of peace to the population of Juiz de Fora.”

The project is a partnership between the Municipality of Juiz de Fora (PJF) and the Federal University of Juiz de Fora (UFJF) and seeks to contribute to the development of the Municipal Plan for Strengthening the Prevention of “External Causes”.

(Editor’s note. “External causes” in this case refers to injuries and deaths that are not caused by cancer or other malady present in the individual concerned, but that are caused by accidents, inflicted violence, etc.)

(Click here for a Portuguese version of this article)

Jalisco, Mexico: V Global Forum on the Culture of Peace

.. DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION ..

An article from Estado de Jalisco (translation by CPNN)

With the purpose of analyzing the conflicts and problems that trigger violence, as well as proposing solutions to promote social reconciliation, the “V Global Forum on the Culture of Peace” was held at the facilities of the Jalisco Legislative Branch, promoted by the deputy Rocio Aguilar Tejada.

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(Click here for the Spanish original of this article)

Questions for this article:

The culture of peace at a regional level, Does it have advantages compared to a city level?

Is there progress towards a culture of peace in Mexico?

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The Forum highlighted the need to guarantee the participation of civil society through art, traditional games and gastronomy to promote values such as empathy, love and compassion. People were asked to join efforts to reduce the gaps of inequality and resolve through understanding the problems of the society.

For her part, legislator Aguilar Tejada, in her capacity as President of the Peace Committee, pointed out the need to create tools that consolidate respect for human rights. Finally, she said that “by 2023, forceful actions should be taken to improve security and establish a partnership between government and society.”

Among those in attendance were Iram Valdés Chávez, President of the organization “Comnapaz México”; David Hernández Pérez, representative of the Tlaquepaque city council; Dante Jaime Haro Reyes, Defender of Human Rights at the University of Guadalajara; Esperanza Loera Ochoa, Executive Secretary of the State Human Rights Commission in Jalisco and Rafael Medina Martínez, President of the Dr. Alfonso García Robles diplomatic foundation.

Colombia: This is how the new Peace and Human Rights Observatory of Armenia will work

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION . .

An article from Cronica del Quindio (translation by CPNN)

In Armenia, Quindio, the Observatory for the City, Peace, Coexistence and Citizen Culture has been created so that organizations, associations and foundations, public and private entities, as well as members of civil society and victims of armed conflict can contribute to the construction of the peace of the municipality.

It is a program of the mayor of Armenia with 4 lines of work: the promotion of actions and culture of peace, historical memory, human rights, and conflict management. In addition to the lines mentioned, the program willl contribute to the production of knowledge, the investigation and characterization of the victims of the armed conflict in Armenia, as well as the articulation with policies at the national level for the construction of peace.

The Observatory for the City, Peace, Coexistence and Citizen Culture of Armenia began with the issuance of Decree 181 of July 12, 2022, which provides for its formation. “As of this moment, it begins to meet in order to establish the strategic lines for the research and development of peace in Armenia.

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

Questions related to this article:

What is happening in Colombia, Is peace possible?

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The objective of the Observatory for Peace and Human Rights is to strengthen research and knowledge management for the production, use and approval of official information on peace processes and citizen culture, linking the participation of related actors and sectors. in the municipality of Armenia, Quindío”, explained Andrés Ocampo, manager of peace, human rights and civic culture of Armenia.

The 18 members of the Observatory will meet in bimonthly sessions. The members include secretaries of Armenia, delegates of the municipal table of victims, delegates of the Ombudsman’s Office and the Municipal Ombudsman, representative of human rights organizations, representative of institutions of higher education, delegate of the youth table, among other actors, to determine the strategic lines of impact on issues of peace and reconciliation.

Likewise, they will provide inputs for public policies, alliances, databases and information that allow the construction of peace and the recognition of the victims of the armed conflict. In the same way, they will realize projects of the national policy Total Peace, an event to recognize peace builders and the realization of a work route created by all the members of the Peace and Human Rights Observatory of Armenia . “We plan to obtain resources to show how many victims of the armed conflict Armenia currently houses. In addition, we seek to articulate with the national government for the implementation and adoption of national policies,” said Andrés Ocampo.

He also emphasized the importance that the victims of the armed conflict, post-conflict actors and civil society know that in Armenia there is a peace observatory that is a pioneer at the national level. “We are the second city with a Peace, Coexistence and Citizen Culture Observatory in a municipal administration. We need everyone to know of the support of the mayor José Manuel Ríos Morales for this entire peace process. Victims will receive guarantees and attention from all his work team, cabinet and offices of the city.

Colombia: Nights of Peace planned for December in the neighborhoods of Cúcuta

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION . .

An article from Caracol

Achieving peace has been for years the great dream of nations around the world, a collective utopia that includes the wisdom of the ancestors and the hope of the new generations. Winners of the Nobel Peace Prize such as the Dalai Lama, David Beasley of the World Food Program, and even the former president of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, have stated in their speeches that there are multiple paths to achieve peace: with access to food for all, with nonviolent actions that generate changes, with the disarmament of illegal groups, and a large number of etceteras that trace an imaginary path of peace and freedom.

With great or little rigor, some countries have been working on it. Some Colombian cities such as Cúcuta, historically affected by armed conflict, are undertaking strategies that benefit collectives, entrepreneurs, diverse population groups, provide individual services such as attention to the victims of the conflict. This leads to mass events such as the Nights of Peace that for the second consecutive year is planned for all the city’s neighborhoods during the month of December.

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Questions related to this article:

What is happening in Colombia, Is peace possible?

Can festivals help create peace at the community level?

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“Recognizing the historical memory of our municipality and understanding the social context in which the different communes live, we decided to continue this year with the strategy called Peaceful Nights. It consists of visiting the neighborhoods of Cúcuta and adjoining rural area for 17 days, with different entertainments including theatrical presentation, puppet shows, musical acts and, of course, the prayer of the Novenas of Bonus. All these are framed under the message of the culture of peace and the promotion of the values of respect, forgiveness and reconciliation”, says Elisa Montoya, secretary of Post-Conflict and Culture of Peace of the Mayor’s Office of Cúcuta.

This year, the strategy began on December 1 and is already on day number 5, in which more than 1,200 people have participated, including children and adults. Juan Santos Omaña, coordinator of the initiative explains that: “So far we have visited neighborhoods that have historically had to face situations of armed conflict; We have reached places like Ciudad Rodeo, Motilones, Simón Bolívar, San Martín and Cuberos Niño, and the acceptance has been surprising. Every day there are more than 250 people who live with us the Nights of Peace”.

In the coming days, this strategy of the Municipal Mayor’s Office will reach the neighborhoods: Nuevo Horizonte, Aeropuerto, Guaimaral, El Bosque, Santa Clara, Pizarro, Manuela Beltrán, Santander, García Herreros, Prados del Este, El Llano, La Conquista and al corregimiento of Banco de Arena. Those interested in participating in this free event can learn about the daily schedule through the social networks of the Secretariat for Post-Conflict and Culture of Peace, which can be found as @secposconflictocucuta on Instagram and Facebook.

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