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Colombia’s new government creates opportunities for pluralism

How is Colombia's new government really representing "the people"?

Rajvir Gill

Andrea González

The Global Pluralism Monitor: Colombia report focusses on a time period dominated by political parties resistant to reform or addressing the issues of diverse groups in the country. The findings remain valuable as the status of Indigenous, Afro-descendants, peasants, and Roma peoples have all been determined by over 200 years of rule of parties not representative of their causes.

Some positive movement on that front has appeared with the election of Gustavo Petro’s leftist government, made possible by the mobilization and organization of Indigenous and Afro-descendant groups in Colombia. The Petro government has been positively characterized by its pragmatic approach to meaningful reconciliation. This is seen with the appointment of social leaders in government positions and revisiting the peace process by ensuring all affected ethnic groups are part of the peace process in Colombia. This has been evidenced by the development of the new National Development Plan, “Colombia, World Power for Life.”

This government is proposing negotiations for Total Peace, although social leaders from ethnic groups have rejected this concept, instead advocating for regional or territorial peace that responds to the specific impacts experienced in different communities.

A positive development on that front is seen with the negotiations currently underway with the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrilla group, which now includes the ethnic communities as party to the negotiations. This is an important step, as ethnic groups had to fight to be part of the 2016 Peace Process, despite being the most impacted by the armed conflict. However, the Women of the Ethnic Commission have yet to be granted a seat at the negotiating table, and the Global Centre for Pluralism is working with this group to ensure this becomes a reality (read more about our work with the Women of the Ethnic Commission).

To understand more about Pluralism in Colombia and how the recent past is playing out in current political landscape, read the Global Pluralism Monitor: Colombia report.