Author: moira birss

“No Justice? No Peace!” The Women Absent from Colombia’s Peace Talks

by Moira Birss -Colombia- “No Justice? No Peace!” Never has this chant, which I have heard so often at anti-war rallies, felt so real to me as during the last few months observing the ongoing peace negotiations between the Colombian

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Afro-Colombians Defend ‘Life and Land’ in Northwest Humanitarian Zones

by Moira Birss -USA/Colombia- The first thing I notice after disembarking from the canoe that carries me across the Curvaradó River are palm oil trees. Their rows of short, stout trunks topped by long green fronds, stretch as far as

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Resisting Violence through Sustainable Agriculture in Colombia

by Moira Birss -USA/Colombia- In the middle of one of the most fertile regions in Colombia, amidst a five-decade armed conflict, a small peasant community manages to serve as a model of civilian resistance against violence and displacement. But as

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The Hidden Side of Violence in Ciudad Juárez: Student Shot by Federal Police

by Moira Birss -USA- “Ciudad Juárez won’t be a big deal. You spent two years in Colombia!” my friend reassures me. “Yeah,” I reply with nervous knots in my stomach, “but isn’t Juárez one of the most dangerous cities in

Fundamental Change in Colombia Unlikely with President-elect Santos

by Moira Birss -Colombia/USA- Fulfilling expectations after a solid showing in May’s first round, former Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos handily won Colombia’s June 20th presidential run-off election. Though Santos and his contender, Antanas Mockus, the former mayor of the

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Amid Tensions and Surprises Colombia Prepares to Elect a New President

by Moira Birss -USA/Colombia- Colombia prides itself on being Latin America’s oldest democracy. Unlike its neighbors, Colombia has not suffered brutal military coups and dictatorships and, with one brief exception, has held regular presidential elections since the mid 19th century.

Colombia’s Government Wants a Country of Snitches

by Moira Birss – Colombia – The other day I was translating at a meeting between a U.S-based NGO director and a Colombian human rights lawyer. The NGO director remarked how the situation in Colombia reminded him of the story

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Defending Human Rights in Colombia is a Deadly Job

by Moira Birss – Colombia – “I would be lying if I said I wasn’t afraid,” Jorge tells me. “Your right to freedom disappears – you have to limit your movements and activities.” I would be afraid, too; Jorge and

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Colombia’s War: “He’s giving our country away”

by Moira Birss – Colombia – The sparse media coverage of Colombia tends only to give vague descriptions of a violent country with a thriving drug trade. But I’ve come to understand in my 15 months living and working here

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