Who is responsible for Colombia’s history of violence?

‘Who is responsible for Colombia’s history of violence?’ is a hard history to unravel.

Al Jazeera English takes a look at the rise of Colombia’s right-wing paramilitaries as another chapter in the country’s complex constellation of violent political actors. The documentary draws on connections to deeper context surrounding figures like Jorge Eliécer Gaitán and Pablo Escobar. A few years old, but still very relevant.

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A Day At The Zoo: Colombia, Soccer, And Rules

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BEACON

The goal came late in the second half. Ricardo’s rum came in a cardboard carton box. It was around 1pm in the afternoon and other things were happening too, and it really didn’t matter who you were or what you looked like, just as long as you were dressed in a yellow jersey, swinging your fists, and screaming ¡hijueputa¡s and ¡joda!s and ¡Aayyyyyyy MARICA!s and praying deeper and harder than you have for any God, any religion, any personal wish, that Colombia would win.

After supreme footballer Andrés Escobar got murdered for committing an own goal in 1994, Colombia’s national team started to droop. Between 2002-2010, it missed out on three World Cup tournaments. So in 2014, when Colombia played Ivory Coast and claimed a 2-1 victory, the world around me turned into a zoo. I wasn’t worried though. I knew the rules of the game. Continue reading on Beacon…

This Tastes Wild: Ivan Ospina’s Kitchen

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BEACON

Ivan Ospina remembers being on his Grandmother’s sugarcane farm and smelling the sweat. It never bothered him. He liked it. Now, closer to Bogotá’s cosmopolitan beat, when he smells sweat, it reminds him of the country, of the farmers, of where food really comes from. It reminds him of Guarapo, a fermented sugarcane juice. Ivan says there was always a big pitcher of it that was fresh and everyone used to sip. But then there was a pitcher of really strong, fermented Guarapo that Ivan used to sneak off and drink when no one was looking. It was what the farm hands used to drink, and it was delicious.

Colombian chef Ivan Ospina grew up eating the same boring rice, beans and tasteless pieces of meat in a small farm town in central Colombia. When he came to Bogotá as a young kid, he started to reflect on how his country’s gastronomy could be better. Now, at 39 years old, Ivan’s restaurant and kitchen are transforming the way Colombia tastes. Continue reading on Beacon…

Colombia’s Security Export

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OZY

Mexican, Brazilian and even Chilean students pull up seats in Mr. Carlos Ardila Castro’s classroom in the Escuela Superior de Guerra in Bogotá, Colombia. Lesson for the day? How to stop arms trafficking.

At 46 years old and with 23 years of military and intelligence experience under his belt as an officer in Colombia’s military, Mr. Ardila Castro is now a consultant for the United Nations. Colombia is known for exporting coffee and bananas. But Ardila Castro is a provider of Colombia’s new export to the world: war and security know-howContinue reading on Ozy…

Immigration in Colombia: News from Caracas

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BEACON

It was really hard to see her crying all alone. It was dark in the room where I found her and she was crying into the light that came from the television screen. On the screen, you could see how huge the crowds were, and how everyone was in the streets. I didn’t know what was happening, but I knew that whatever was happening, it was cutting Yoselie Gonzalez wide open.

Yoselie Gonzalez is a Venezuelan student living in Colombia. As her studies ended, she made the hard decision to stay after Venezuela’s crisis stripped her of any opportunities back home. Now she faces life as a ‘foreigner’ in Colombia. But being ‘foreign’ in Colombia is nothing like the sense of immigration she grew up with in Venezuela. Continue reading on Beacon…