It looks good in a headline. “Colombia(n) Peace Talks to Consider a Ceasefire.” At least it’s not war. But even a hopeful step in the right direction means little to the millions of Colombians living in the countryside, where competing demands from leftist rebels and rightwing paramilitaries have created a ‘damned if you do, dead if you don’t’ way of life. Feed the rebels and end up on the paramilitary’s hit list. Reject them and face the sudden disappearance of your child. Perpetual uncertainty and fear after decades of unchecked violence have chipped away at the Colombian psyche, displaced millions, reduced hope to the hardscrabble fight for existence. Fragile peace. Fragile people. Why good news is no news to a people under fire.
Herbert Tico Braun, Associate Professor of History at the University of Virginia and Maria Cristina Caballero, Colombian journalist and Mason Fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.