Exclusive footage: Colombia's social leaders and ex-combatants are being exterminated
For Redacted, I traveled to Colombia to investigate why social leaders and ex-FARC combatants are being exterminated despite a historic peace accord.
Colombia’s 2016 peace accord was supposed to usher in a new era of peace and prosperity for the peasant population that inhabits the Colombian countryside. The FARC, which had fought the state for 52 years, was to lay down its arms and reincorporate into society. The state, for its part, would implement a revolutionary program that addressed the root causes of the armed conflict and the reason the FARC gained so much popular support in the first place. Among its promises were to redistribute land ownership, transform the rural economy from dependence on illicit coca farming to legitimate agriculture with access to national and international markets, dismantle death squads that had long terrorized the countryside, and to protect the lives of social leaders and ex-combatants.
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Despite international acclaim – including a Nobel Peace Prize for President Juan Manuel Santos, who signed the accord on behalf of the state – few of these promises were ever implemented. Santos allotted a fraction of the necessary funds for its implementation and did little to advance it during his remaining time in office. His successor, Iván Duque, sought to destroy the accord and pillaged the funds designated for the accord. Current president Gustavo Petro has promised to advance the cause of peace, but is beleaguered by the opposition and media, and lacks the necessary funds to press forward with the accord. The United States and Norway, which were heavily involved in the accord’s negotiation process, are silent as it goes unfulfilled.
Meanwhile, social leaders and ex-FARC combatants are being exterminated by shadowy armed groups.
I traveled to Colombia in March and May for Redacted to investigate these killings and why the peace accord is all but dead in the water.