For communities affected by Colombia’s armed conflict—particularly indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities on the Pacific coast—the results of the June 17 presidential election could result in a major setback in the implementation of the peace deal’s Ethnic Chapter. This section of Colombia’s historic 2016 peace deal recognizes the disproportionate impact of the internal armed conflict on Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities and the need to include them in peace-building efforts.
Voters in Colombia’s Pacific region of the country primarily supported the campaign of progressive presidential hopeful Gustavo Petro, and rejected Mr. Duque’s promises to “correct” the peace accords. Although the magnitude of the changes proposed by Mr. Duque—and the likelihood of getting them enacted— is unclear, the new administration risks further polarizing an already divided country if it moves forward with unpopular revisions unwelcomed by social movements and the majority of victims of the conflict.
To discuss this situation, the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) is pleased to host Anthony Dest, currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Texas at Austin, who recently served as an election monitor during Colombia’s June 17 elections.
Dest’s research analyzes the resilience of communities in Colombia’s Cauca department, as well as the racial tensions that emerged during the negotiations and in the aftermath of the 2016 peace accords. Based on more than a decade of ethnographic research and work on Colombia’s war, his dissertation, “Without Consent:The Politics and Conditions of Interethnic Solidarity in Colombia,” draws on engaging first-hand accounts from extensive fieldwork in a variety of settings that include community-organizing efforts on Colombia’s coca-growing frontier, the negotiating table in Havana, Cuba, and international advocacy efforts in Washington, DC.