‘Colombian peace process must go forward’

first_imgSeveral members of U.S. delegation with FARC representatives.WW photo: Berta Joubert-CeciBelow is a statement issued on April 20 by a fact-finding delegation that traveled to Cuba to assess the peace talks between the Colombian government and the FARC-EP. International Action Center representatives Martha Grevatt and Berta Joubert-Ceci were part of the 33-member delegation.Thirty-three activists traveled to Havana, Cuba, on April 11-18 to participate in a fact-finding delegation concerning the Colombia Peace Negotiations taking place there. The participants were from several U.S. states — Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas — as well as Colombia, Costa Rica and Puerto Rico. Some represented the National Lawyers Guild, the International Action Center, and the Task Force on the Americas. The delegation went under the auspices of the Alliance for Global Justice.The current Colombian peace negotiations began in October of 2012, after representatives of the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC-EP) agreed on a framework to end the conflict and achieve a lasting peace. There are five agenda items: 1) comprehensive rural development, 2) political participation, 3) illegal drugs, 4) rights of victims and 5) the end of the conflict. The negotiators have reached partial agreement on the first three items. The current round of negotiations is addressing items four and five.The delegation met separately with negotiators from FARC-EP and the Colombian government, as well as the sub-commissions on gender and on victims. They also met with representatives of the two guarantor countries — Norway and Cuba. As a result, the delegates are now informed about the process of the negotiations.Estimates of the victims of the conflict range from 1.5 million to over 6 million. More than 90,000 people have disappeared, over 220,000 have been killed, 80 percent of them civilians, and as many as 6 million people have been internally displaced, the majority women and children.The U.N. has estimated that paramilitaries with ties to the government and transnational corporations have committed over 80 percent of the casualties.The delegation agreed that the peace process must go forward. According to delegate Pamela Brubaker, “We have become convinced, after a week of intense discussions, of the urgent need to implement a bilateral ceasefire between the negotiating parties.” Martha Grevatt spoke for the group saying, “We stand in solidarity with the people of Colombia — women, campesinos, students, unions, LGBT — who have come together in organizations and movements with a vision of a new Colombia, built on a foundation of equality, social justice and a lasting peace. This is what the majority in ­Colombia wants.”FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Mousa Dembele: I want to drive Tottenham forward – just like Belgium

first_img Press Association This season, however, Dembele has found his groove, cementing his place in a more offensive role in Tottenham’s attacking three and scoring three goals in his last four matches. It marks a remarkable turnaround for a player who said in March that his lack of game time had been “very disappointing” – but Dembele insists he never considered a transfer. “Last year I played less so it is normal there are a lot of rumours. I told the club that they were not true,” Dembele said. “Of course I want to be more important for the team and I want to play more. I am not someone who, if I am not playing like last year, that I want to go quickly. They understand this. “But it has never been in my mind to leave the club. I am very happy here, Even last year when I was not playing I wanted to show I can play. “I am not looking to leave Tottenham, I just want to be important for the team at the moment.” Dembele’s hot streak has coincided with a similar run of form for Spurs, who are unbeaten in 11 league matches ahead of Sunday’s derby against West Ham. Much credit has been given to the team’s young English contingent but there is a strong Belgian influence at White Hart Lane too, with Dembele, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen and Nacer Chadli all key members of the squad. Mousa Dembele claims he never wanted to leave Tottenham even when he was out of favour with Mauricio Pochettino last season. Dembele made 40 appearances for Spurs in the 2014-15 campaign but only managed 10 starts in the Premier League, where the majority of his outings came from the substitutes’ bench. Injuries, including a troublesome hip, have played their part but at times it seemed the Belgian did not possess the energy and speed to fit into Pochettino’s dynamic style of play. Belgium have risen to the top of the FIFA world rankings ahead of next summer’s European Championships and Dembele sees parallels between the progress at club and country. “With Belgium we know we have a good team and that we have a lot of good players. We have confidence in our team, the same as we have at Tottenham,” Dembele said. “You have an atmosphere at Tottenham like – ‘Okay, we are not scared of anyone’ – and we have the same feeling with the national team. “Everywhere we go at Tottenham, we have a good feeling. Before in the past, it was not like this. “It is nice to be around these kind of positive vibes. I couldn’t have imagined Belgium being number one in the world.” Tottenham and West Ham sit on the same number of points, with Spurs only ahead on goal difference, and Pochettino’s men will be wary of the Hammers’ impressive list of away scalps this season, which already include Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City. “They are playing very well and they are a bit like us,” Dembele said. “They have a new manager. Some good players have come as well. So we have a lot of respect for them and we know in the past, it has never been easy against them. “But we believe in ourselves. We are in a confident situation.” last_img read more