Lecture by Edwin Koopman on Thursday 23 January
Right now peace negotiations are being held in Cuba to put an end to more than five decades violent conflict in Colombia. What began as a farmers’ protest against inequality has evolved into a dirty war between the FARC guerrilla, paramilitary organisations, large landowners, drugs mafia, the army and various levels of government authorities. The result: waves of refugees and thousands of victims on all sides. One of the main issues which has fuelled this conflict is legal access to land. How has this worked? What interests are at stake and how will they effect a possible peace and Colombia's stability in the future?
Edwin Koopman is social geographer, author and investigative journalist for national press, radio and television in Latin America. He was the first to interview Alexandra Nariño, better known as Tanja Nijmeijer – the Dutch student from Groningen who joined the FARC’s armed struggle and opted for a clandestine life in the jungle but now negotiates on their behalf in Cuba. What is at stake at the negotiating table and how can half a century of conflict be halted? Edwin Koopman will look at how land has played a role in the origins of this conflict. Based on his years of research in the region and contact with the parties around the peace negotiations table, he will examine the politics of land. Find out what the dynamics are between the stakeholders in peace process as they currently work through the details. Join him for an analysis of what can be expected if negotiators succeed and what implementation of land reform could mean for Colombia.