Bloody peace in Colombia | All media content | DW | 26.05.2018
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Bloody peace in Colombia

The civil war in Colombia left more than 200,000 dead. In 2016, FARC laid down their weapons. Today, the former guerrilla army is a political party without weapons, but the violence in the country is far from over.

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In the autumn of 2017, the former guerrilla army FARC transitioned to a leftist alternative revolutionary political party — without weapons. To some, FARC stood for the fight for a just cause, to others, only suffering.

The conflict left nearly 220,000 dead, and FARC kidnappings traumatized thousands more. In acts of revenge, more than 20 former FARC commanders have been killed in recent years.

"The war has taken its toll, that's why we need peace now," says former fighter Omar Jimenez. Human rights activists and village leaders in remote areas are reminded daily that peace has not yet provided them any real security. Erlendy Cuero speaks about her brother, Bernardo Cuero. The activist for the rights of the Afro-Colombian minority was the target of constant threats. A few days before he was killed, he had requested protection from the authorities. To no avail. "The number of murders of village leaders and human rights activists has risen since the peace agreement," says Cuero.

Ariel Avila from the Peace and Reconciliation Foundation in Bogota agrees. Approximately every four days, a human rights activist or village leader is killed. The story is always the same: the victims are activists fighting the exploitation of natural resources in their communities and land grabbing by paramilitary groups.

Since the peace agreement, coca cultivation has flourished, lending drug cartels new strength. In the past, areas controlled by FARC were obliged to reserve some land to grow food for the fighters. But since there's more money to be made from growing coca, farmers no longer abide by that. Peace remains fragile in Colombia.