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'Making Peace, Fighting Battles in Colombia' published  in the Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding

Making Peace, Fighting Battles in Colombia: An Annotated Interview with Juanita Goebertus

July, 2023 / By Sonia Garzon Ramirez

This interview article provides a glimpse behind the scenes of making peace and shows how the engagement of a peacemaker stretches beyond practicalities and the time–space of peace talks. Based on the Colombian case, it focuses on moments of decision-making, strategic and creative thinking, conceptual debates and adversarial politics that take place throughout a peacebuilding process.

Informe Final – Comisión de la Verdad

‘Where is your [Sister]?’: A short reflection on the Colombian Truth Commission’s report

July, 2022 / By Sonia Garzon Ramirez

This paraphrased title came to my mind as I heard the speech given by Francisco De Roux at the ceremony convened by the Colombian Truth Commission to hand over its final report. Presented on June 28, 2022, the report is the result of more than three and a half years work and is credited with representing the testimonies of about 30 thousand victims.

Museo Casa de la Memoria

Mapping the Horizon of Transformative Peace

swisspeace Working Paper Series

January, 2022 / By Sonia Garzon Ramirez

This article explores what it means for peace to be transformative and discusses what it takes for a peace project and its institutions to enable transformative peace. To address these questions the article offers a theoretical and conceptual approach and draws on some examples from case studies, especially Colombia. The article deals with the resistance that transformative projects might face from the victims they are meant to benefit.

El rostro de los falsos positivos

Los Rostros de los Falsos Positivos

July 28, 2021 / By Lucy Garzon

Como estos son los rostros de los falsos positivos. Un oscuro suceso que a los colombianos nos cuesta creer, que nos llena de vergüenza, deshonra, y que empalidece los símbolos que como la bandera representan nuestro orgullo patrio. En el capítulo de los falsos positivos, Colombia encierra la muerte de más de 6,000 jóvenes inocentes, indefensos que fueron asesinados y presentados como bajas en combate contra la guerrilla por agentes del estado para obtener incentivos o premios. Las víctimas de estos casos fueron jóvenes en su mayoría y algunos de ellos tenían algún tipo de discapacidad, limitación física o psicológica.

Waiting for the disappeared

Colombian Truth Commission: Working Towards Anti-disposability in the False Positive Cases

June 29, 2021 / By Sonia Garzon Ramirez

To think about disposability, in the words of Cynthia Enloe, is to be nameless and to not have a voice or a story in somebody’s eyes. When Enloe describes disposability in her lecture on Histories of Violence, she refers to a voluntary act committed by an agent who decides to become the disposer of somebody’s life and story.

It has been almost 10 years since the media began to realize that Colombia could have more cases of enforced disappearance than those perpetrated by the military dictatorships of Argentina and Chile combined.

FARC Woman

On Victims’ Recognition: Gendered Politics of the FARC’s Forced Recruitment

February 15, 2021 / By Sonia Garzon Ramirez

I invite you to read my last article on the Think Development Blog
WICID – University of Warwick

Pazifica and PazCual argue

Conflict Transitions, Life & Carnival

October 31, 2020 / By Sonia Garzon Ramirez

It has been 4 years since the Colombian peace agreement signed between the then Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and the guerrilla FARC was rejected in a democratic referendum. However, the tenacity of the 49.8 percent of voters who cast a YES ballot strengthened Santos’ willingness to continue discussions. Santos renegotiated with opposition leaders various modifications and, on November 29 2016, obtained congressional approval of the peace agreement.

Today, the implementation of the peace accords has not achieved to heal the wounds of political polarization rendered visible by the referendum. And perhaps worst, the resurgence of violence undertaken by emergent groups has stirred mixed feelings among Colombian people on whether the peace agreement is still alive. 

Yet, the peace process has allowed for the demobilization and disarmament of at least 11,000 guerrilla fighters of the FARC, the recognition of millions of victims and their access to the right to truth, the right to justice and the right to reparation, and the restauration of the dignity of women, men, collective victims and communities who have suffered stigmatization. Add to this that for Colombians inhabiting neglected deep rural areas, the peace agreement has opened the possibility of improving their living conditions.

Seen through this lens, it is difficult to realize that acts of resistance against the peace agreement have not only been carried out by powerful groups or political elites afraid of losing power or who benefit from the persistence of the conflict. The task to build a nuanced understanding of the political subjectivities of local people (Julian et al. 2019), who refuse to support this process and who might have undertaken individual actions or participated in collective acts to undermine the implementation of the peace agreement is the starting point of this blog. Let us now turn to the context of the IPAP research project which underpins this blog, and to some initial tools and lenses with which to help unfold this dialogue. Some days ago, my mentor on this project, Dr. Berit Bliesemann de Guevara, shared a local saying used by participants of a peace project in Antioquia, Colombia. This saying goes: “a peacebuilding is like a Carnival, those who enjoy it are those who participate in it.” What if we take this saying seriously and as in Celia Cruz’s song Life is a Carnival, we don’t give up reaching out to those who did not accept the invitation to take part.

Pazifica's invitation to write