During its rapid, five-month transformation from a social media group chat into a full-fledged citizen movement, Defendamos la Paz (DLP), or Let’s Defend Peace, has sought to rally political and popular support for the implementation of the FARC peace agreement and the continuation of suspended dialogues with the ELN. 

In just a short amount of time, DLP has established itself as an important “umbrella” structure comprised of many key former government and rebel negotiators from both the FARC and ELN peace processes, members of the Congressional Peace Commissions, ex-ministers with diverse political affiliations, victims’ organizations, academics, retired military personnel, and media leaders. The movement has also established sub-national chapters with local civil society organizations throughout Colombia’s conflict-affected regions. 
 
DLP is currently prioritizing the revival of the special electoral peace districts—a critical component of the 2016 peace accord that remains in limbo—by collecting one million signatures, strengthening the legitimacy of the transitional justice court (the JEP), and encouraging creative measures to break the deadlock with the ELN.
 
On July 19, the U.S. Institute of Peace, the Washington Office on Latin America, the Latin America Working Group, the Colombian Human Rights Committee, the Center for Justice & International Law, and the Inter-American Dialogue hosted a public conversation with three prominent DLP leaders on their vision for this unique civil society platform. Take part in the conversation on Twitter with #ColombiaPeaceForum and #DefendamosLaPaz.

Speakers

Lisa Haugaard, opening remarks 
Executive Director, Latin America Working Group

Juan Fernando Cristo 
Former Senator, Ambassador, and Minister of the Interior, Colombia

Laura Gil 
Columnist, Professor, and Editor of La Línea del Medio

Luis Gilberto Murillo 
Former Governor of Chocó & Minister of the Environment

Steve Hege, moderator
Senior Expert, Colombia, U.S. Institute of Peace

Related Publications

Colombia’s Imperfect Peace Could Provide a Roadmap for Afghanistan

Colombia’s Imperfect Peace Could Provide a Roadmap for Afghanistan

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

By: Belquis Ahmadi; Maria Antonia Montes

The Afghan peace process was jumpstarted in September 2018 when President Trump appointed Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad as special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation. Since then, Khalilzad has led 10 rounds of U.S.-Taliban talks, with negotiations focusing on two issues: ensuring the Taliban’s commitment to prevent transnational terrorists from using Afghanistan as a base for attacks, and a U.S. military withdrawal. As the search for peace in Afghanistan continues, what lessons can be learned from other peace processes that could apply to Afghanistan? Colombia’s imperfect peace agreement with the FARC is one especially relevant international reference point for Afghanistan—we explain why.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Peace Processes

Steve Hege on the Latest in Venezuela and Colombia

Steve Hege on the Latest in Venezuela and Colombia

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

By: Steve Hege

The crisis in Venezuela and increasing tensions between the Colombian government and the Maduro regime threaten the security of the region and the implementation of Colombia’s 2016 FARC peace accord. USIP’s Steve Hege discusses recent obstacles to implementation of that accord and how the U.S. can support a democratic transition in Venezuela.

Type: Podcast

Fragility & Resilience; Peace Processes; Conflict Analysis & Prevention

View All Publications