Caught in the crossfire

Landmines planted by FARC claim thousands of lives

The five decade-long guerrilla war of Colombia has not only seized the political landscape, but the physical landscape as well. Covering vast territories with landmines became a prominent war strategy in the mid-2000s, mostly employed by the FARC, the country’s largest guerrilla group. As a result, landmines have claimed the lives of 11,000 victims over the past 25 years. 40 percent of those victims were civilians. These landmines serve to illustrate the effect of the conflict on citizens caught in the crossfire between armed actors in Colombia.

However, last month, it was announced that the FARC would begin a process of demining. According to the Colombian government’s chief negotiator at the peace talks with the FARC, Humberto de la Calle, this is a “giant step towards making peace.” The demining accord is the most recent glimmer of hope on Colombia’s road to achieving sustainable peace.

As the U.S. evaluates its contributions to Colombia in these critical moments during peace negotiations, it is crucial for the U.S. government to know that there is a broad coalition of North Americans and Colombians who support a durable peace accord and oppose U.S. military aid to Colombia. Join this coalition by participating in the Days of Prayer and Action for Colombia on May 17th and 18th as churches in Colombia and the U.S. stand together to support peace for all Colombians.

-Written by Sara Ritchie, MCC Washington Office intern

 

Information from: John Otis, “Inside the Struggle to Clear Colombia of Mines,” Time, April 2, 2015. Visit http://time.com/3767261/farc-colombia-mines/ to read more about landmines in Colombia.

 

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