First Discussion Group on Colombia’s Peace Talks

London 27 August 2013

The Discussion Group (Conversatorio) took place at Canning House, in London, on the 27th August 2013; the first in a series of discussions which will convene on a monthly basis with the aim of analising the progress of the Peace Talks between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). This initiative has been promoted by ‘Rodeemos el Diálogo – [RED]’, ‘Plataforma’, ‘British Academics for a Colombia Under Peace – [BACUP]’, and Canning House, and the main objective is to observe the peace talks and to gather a diverse group of – mainly Colombian – people, who wish to examine and contribute ideas towards building a peaceful Colombia. The points addressed at the Peace Talks will not necessarily be resolved by these discussions, but it is expected that the Conversatorio acts as an informer and a forum for discussion on the topic, and as a contributor to civil society.
The event’s guest analyst was John Dew, former British Ambassador to Colombia, and Andrei Gómez-Suárez, an University of Sussex Researcher, acted as Moderator. The remaining 23 participants were mostly Colombians plus a few individuals of other nationalities.
Following a brief analysis of the Peace Process, with special reference to the 12th and 13th round of negotiations, the discussion proceeded to a sharing of individual opinions from those present at the event. As a result of this discussion various ideas were developed regarding the FARC, the Government and the Colombian society.

BACUP member Andrei Gómez-Suárez reports: “The first conversatorio for peace in Colombia gathered 23 people, mainly Colombians from differents walks in life. After listening presentations from former UK ambassador to Colombia John Dew and BACUP member Andrei Gomez-Suarez they engaged in a vivid discussion. They wrote a minute of the conversatorio. The participants agreed that although FARC does not represent the aspirantions of most Colombians, their agrarian agenda shares the concern of small farmers, and that the Santos administration aims to delegitimise the use of violence by signing a peace agreement that is supported by most Colombians through a democratic consultation.”

The full report is available here.

The second conversatorio will take place at Canning House on 25 September, at 5.45, with guest speaker Miguel Puerto (Human Rights Defender and former member of Jose Alvear Restrepo Lawyers Collective). For an invitation to the 25 September conversatorio, click here.