Peace in Colombia? Hope and fears

A note from the editor

Vanessa Baird & Dinyar Godrej

Peace in Colombia?

This could so easily have been the best news story in a year when the world seems especially fraught with conflict and misery. The two main signatories of a historic agreement to end the longest war in the western hemisphere, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC rebel leader Rodrigo Londoño, were even being tipped for the Nobel Peace Prize (Santos has since won the award, for his efforts).

Then came the result of the plebiscite on the peace accord – and the devastating realization that 50.2 per cent of Colombian voters had ticked the ‘NO’ box. Our Big Story for this month looks at what happens now to Colombia’s tortuous peace process – and finds reason for hope.

We also pick over two subjects that are in and out of the news with some regularity. The first is the question of a universal basic income – usually seen as ‘a good thing’ on the Left. But is there a destructive agenda at work behind its championing by sections of the Right? And then there’s PrEP, the medication that could drastically cut HIV transmission. Should it be readily available and publicly funded? And for whom?

There’s much more besides – a frontline report from Burma’s drug crisis, the views of Dutch physicians who perform euthanasia, and a fascinating exploration of why commercial competition almost always does a disservice to technical innovation. Lively thinking in sober prose.

Vanessa Baird & Dinyar Godrej for the New Internationalist co-operative.
www.newint.org

Keynote article.

Colombians cling to the glimpse of peace offered by the historic accord between FARC and the government.

Colombians cling to the glimpse of peace offered by the historic accord between FARC and the government.

Photo: Guillermo Lagaria/AFP/Getty

Peace in Colombia?

Another shock referendum result – this time in Colombia. Tatiana Garavito assesses the chances of ending the longest conflict in the western world.

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The chief negotiator had been clear. If voters did not ratify the peace accord between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the government, then the country would be left staring into an ‘abyss’. There was no Plan B.

And on the night of 2 October it looked as if that abyss had opened up as the ‘no’ vote won by the narrowest of margins – 50.2 to 49.8 per cent.

Against the expectations of pollsters, the ‘no’ campaign, led by ex-president Álvaro Uribe, managed to convince ...




Features.

Niver (33), joined FARC at 17.
'What am I going to do when I return to society? The question should be what we can give back to society. I want to educate people about Che Guevara, our liberator Simón Bolivar and Marx. When I joined FARC, I was a poor farmer and had nothing to lose. After all these years I have learned so much that I want to give a lot to the people. A better Colombia is not a better car or a bigger house – it’s a Colombia where there is food and education for everyone.'

‘No jeans or high heels for me’

Rebels talk about the big life changes they are facing. A photo story from a FARC jungle hideout by Marielle van Uitert and Sytske Susie Jellema.

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Irrael Aguilar (left) is one of the indigenous Zenú leaders who lives under severe threats for his involvement in environmental struggles. He is accompanied by fellow leader Juan Urango.

‘We are slowly being killed by this mine’

The British-Australian mine of Cerro Matoso has been linked to birth defects, pollution, poverty and paramilitary pay-offs. Daniel Macmillen Voskoboynik investigates.

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Action on Colombia

Organizations around the world that support human rights in Colombia.

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Caged life: two men at the All Nations centre in Myitkyina, where new admissions are often locked in such cages during the initial period of their withdrawal.

For their own good

Sophie Cousins reports on different approaches to tackling Burma’s drug addiction crisis.

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Why a basic income could be a gift to the Right

The desirability of a basic income depends on what we are expected to give up in return, writes Nick Dowson.

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Matters of life and death

Isabelle Gerretsen talks to doctors in the Netherlands – where euthanasia is legal – about supporting patients who choose to die.

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Blinded by 'technology'

For all the fancy packaging, many of our gadgets have nothing to do with capitalist success stories. Bob Hughes explains.

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Health rights advocacy group APCOM’s PrEP mascot hits the campaign trail in Bangkok.

PrEPped to go?

A new HIV preventive drug has sparked debate around the globe, as Amy Hall discovers.

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Web exclusives.

A banner by DPAC gives space to all the people who have died because of sanctions and benefit cuts

Disabled people lead the fight against austerity

The resistance put up against the UK government's cuts by Disabled People Against the Cuts can teach us many lessons, writes Jamie Kelsey-Fry.

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Read more web-exclusives...

Blog.

UK nukes: Why the world is asking Britain to disarm

Britain’s long-term commitment to nuclear disarmament has been wobbly at best, but things might have to change soon, writes Kjølv Egeland.

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Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event in 2016.

Trump victory signals wakeup call

The world woke today shocked that Trump won the US Presidential elections. Now is a time for deep reflection, writes Chris Spannos, who also explains why he can relate to Trump voters.

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Read more blogs...

Opinion.

Protectors vs pipelines

The native-led resistance at Standing Rock has emphasized environmentalism of a different complexion than is typically associated with ecological activism in the United States, writes Mark Engler.

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Can rightwingers be funny?

Steve Parry's latest column from the November edition of New Internationalist magazine.

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Agenda.

 Demonstrators protest against state brutality at a rally in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa last August.

Ethiopian regime under pressure

Growing civil unrest in Ethiopia suggests that the ruling party may be beginning to lose its grip on power, Matthew Newsome writes.

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Batting for integration in Britain

Batting for integration in Britain

Brighton’s young refugees are just one of many groups to enjoy the welcome extended by the club over the years. Amy Hall reports.

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Decolonization of Chagos?

Decolonization of Chagos?

Mauritian activists have for 45 years been calling for the closure of Diego Garcia and the right of return for Chagossians, Lindsey Collen reports.

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Introducing Marco Arana Zegarra

The politician seemingly came out of nowhere, writes Richard Swift.

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Creative chutzpah in Kashmir

Creative chutzpah in Kashmir

The group feel a social responsibility to respond to injustice, writes Giedre Steikunaite.

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Laos still living with unexploded US bombs

Since the war ended in 1975, bombs have killed or maimed over 20,000 people, many of them children.

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Bernie, before and after

Bernie, before and after

The US presidential election is near but young people and grassroots activists have their eyes set on long term transformation. John Tarleton reports.

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India’s finger chats

India’s finger chats

Finger Chats relies on volunteers and does not charge for sessions. Nimisha Jaiswal reports.

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CETA in the house

CETA in the house

Campaigners hope to stop CETA before it goes through the European Parliament, Amy Hall writes.

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Reasons to be cheerful

An indestructible football; Sacred ‘No-Go’ areas; Land-grabbers defeated

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Regulars.

Letters

Trade unions’ moral vacuum; a checklist for the UN.

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Open Window - Security Council

Osama Hajjaj with ‘Security Council’

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When a house is not a home

On the matter of decent housing, the government turns a deaf ear to poorer citizens, while bending over backwards to help the wealthy. Lindsey Collen, who penned this column from 2006 to 2007, returns with a one-off letter.

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Scratchy Lines: Build your own wall!

Simon Kneebone's latest cartoon, from the November edition of New Internationalist magazine.

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Clockwise from top left: A queue at a food market in Caracas where prices are subsidized and regulated by the government; an armed guard in front of storage tanks at the world’s largest oil refinery in Punto Fijo; a fishing boat steers through the Anacystis algal blooms on Lake Maracaibo; a Cuban doctor measuring blood pressure in Caracas – one of thousands of Cubans employed out of oil revenues to improve healthcare for the poor; a family reads while awaiting relocation from a house in Ciudad Ojeda damaged by subsidence following oil exploration.

Country Profile: Venezuela

The national government’s prioritizing of the poor and working majority over business elites remains consistent, if less effective – lately with more talk than action.

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Making Waves: Charlie Lowthian-Rickert

Sian Griffiths meets a 10-year-old who is already a veteran transgender activist.

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Big Bad World

Polyp's cartoon from the November edition of New Internationalist magazine.

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Southern Exposure

Highlighting the work of artists and photographers from the Majority World.

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And finally... Gwenno

Welsh musician and dancer Gwenno Saunders speaks to Amy Hall about her cultural influences, minority languages and singing in Welsh and Cornish on her debut solo album ‘Y Dydd Olaf’.

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Film, Book & Music Reviews.

I, Daniel Blake is Ken Loach at his best.

Mixed Media: Films

I, Daniel Blake, directed by Ken Loach; The Innocents, directed and co-written by Anne Fontaine.

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Kefaya – internationalists to the core.

Mixed Media: Music

Hologram Ĭmparatorluğu (Hologram Empire) by Gaye Su Akyol and Radio International by Kefaya.

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Mixed Media: Books

The Story of a Brief Marriage, Talking To My Country The History Thieves and others reviewed in this month's New Internationalist magazine.

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