September 30, 2015 Colombian Peace Talks & Afro-descendants and Mozambique & BRICS

Topics and Guests: Today Africa Now! continues to focus on the peace process between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, FARC) and the Colombian government to end the 50-year conflict: what does it actually means for Afro-Colombians.  The talks began in Havana, Cuba on November 19, 2012.  Last week on September 23 in Havana the Colombian government and FARC announced that within six months a peace treaty will be signed.  Two months after that, disarment by FARC will be completed.  The conflict has disproportionally affected Afro-Colombian and the indigenous communities with millions displaced from their lands and hundreds of thousands dead.  But these groups are underrepresented at the peace talks.  A few days before the announcement that within six months a peace treaty will be signed, Africa Now! spoke to two activists from Colombia on the actual impact of the Colombian Peace Talks for the Afro-descendant population and indigenous communities: Ms. Aida Avella and Mr. Leyner Palacios.  The translator is Gimena Sánchez-Garzoli, Senior Associate for the Andes, Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA).  

Leyner Palacios (L), Aida Avella (C), Gimena Sanchez-Garzoli (R)

Leyner Palacios (L), Aida Avella (C), Gimena Sanchez-Garzoli (R)

Ms. Aida Avella is a Colombian politician and leader of the Patriotic Union (Union Patriotica – UP) party.  Ms. Avella was the president of the UP from 1991 until 1996 when she was forced to flee the country after an attempt to assassinate her amid the killing of thousands of party members, including two presidential candidates.  Ms. Avella returned from exile in 2013 after a judge ruled that the party’s elimination from politics had been illegal and the UP was allowed to take part in the 2014 elections.  In 2014 Ms. Avella ran for President and eventually became running mate of Clara Lopez of the Polo Democratico.  Her ticket received over a million votes and came in fourth in the general elections.  Mr. Leyner Palacios is an Afro-Colombian leader and victim of the Bojaya massacre. On May 2, 2002, members of the FARC killed more than 70 people hiding in the town’s church with an improvised homemade mortar assembled with gas cylinders. Since then, Leyner has represented survivors, and victims of the Bojaya massacre.  Mr. Palacios participated in the peace talks in Havana as a member of the first group of victims that traveled to Havana.   

Africa Now! today also focuses on BRICS Involvement in Mozambique.   Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are together the economic grouping budded BRICS.  Some analysts have suggested that the BRICS bloc present a new challenge to the Western dominated International Financial Institutions.  Others have said the BRICS bloc is merely a perfection or rather an amplification of the present system and problems.  Today we focus on BRICS Involvement in Mozambique with the back drop of the just concluded UN Sustainable Development Summit and this year’s 40th independence anniversary of Mozambique (June 25).  Joining Africa Now! to discuss this topic is Amade Suca and Sameer Dossani.  

Mr. Amade Suca is Country Director of ActionAid in Mozambique.  Mr. Sameer Dossani is International Advocacy Coordinator: Reshaping Global Power International at ActionAid. 

Originally broadcast on WPFW 89.3FM, Washington, DC.  Tune into Africa Now! live on WPFW 89.3 FM in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area or visit www.wpfwfm.org on Wednesdays from 1:00 to 2:00PM (Eastern).