Blog Archives

An Inside Look at Colombia’s Indigenous Guards

Colombia Indigenous Guards training 3

Indigenous Guards in Colombia prior to the beginning of training; each guard carries a baton as a symbol of his or her membership. Photo: Intercontinental Cry

by Robin Llewellyn, Intercontinental Cry, Dec 11, 2017

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos may have received the Nobel Peace Prize, but peace has not come to Colombia. Social leaders and members of indigenous communities have been targeted in a wave of assassinations that has swept through the countryside during this supposed “post-conflict” era–and the state has failed both to stem the killings and to curtail the spread of illegal mining and drug trafficking. Read the rest of this entry

Battle for the mother land: indigenous people of Colombia fighting for their lands

Colombia Indigenous Guard group

Members of the Indigenous Guard in Colombia displaying their batons, symbols of membership in the group.

The 50-year civil war is over but, in the Cauca Valley, indigenous communities are on frontline of fight against drug gangs, riot police and deforestation

A green-and-red flag flies over a cluster of bamboo and tarpaulin tents on the frontline of an increasingly deadly struggle for land and the environment in Colombia’s Cauca Valley.

It is the banner for what indigenous activists are calling the “liberation of Mother Earth”, a movement to reclaim ancestral land from sugar plantations, farms and tourist resorts that has gained momentum in the vacuum left by last year’s peace accord between the government and the paramilitaries who once dominated the region – ending, in turn, the world’s longest-running civil war. Read the rest of this entry

Two hundred Indigenous U’wa occupy gas plant in Colombia

Colombia guarda indigena

An U’wa Indigenous Guard defending his ancestral territory. Photo: Charlie Satow/Intercontinental Cry

by Charlie Satow, Intercontinental Cry, June 14, 2016

Two hundred Indigenous U’wa men, women, and children have occupied Colombian state oil company Ecopetrol’s Gibraltar I gas plant south of the Colombia-Venezuela border in Norte de Santander department, to demand that the government honour an agreement dating back to May 1, 2014.

Read the rest of this entry

Indigenous Colombians Put Guerillas on Trial and Resist the Central Government

by Sarah Vrba, July 21, 2012

Members of Indigenous Guard in Colombia, armed with their customary batons.

The Nasa people of southwestern Colombia will put three leftist guerillas on trial this week in an attempt to regain autonomy and peace over a region that has remained in the crosshairs of multiple armed groups over the years. The southwestern province of Cauca in Colombia has seen a number of violent and ceaseless battles occur, mostly between the central government’s armed forces and the leftist guerilla group FARC. Read the rest of this entry

Colombian Indians evict soldiers

PressTV, July 18, 2012

Nasa Indigenous people forcibly evict Colombian soldiers from their territory, July 2012.

Scores of Paez Indians have kicked Colombian soldiers out of an outpost as part of a push to expel both security forces and leftist rebels from indigenous reserves in the southwestern province of Cauca.

General Jorge Humberto Jerez, the top military officer in Cauca, said the indigenous people attacked the soldiers, punching and kicking them, Fox News Latino reported on Tuesday. Read the rest of this entry

The Indigenous Guard of Colombia

An article from 2008 on the  Indigenous Guard, an organized self-defense group used by Indigenous communities in Colombia.

Members of the Indigenous Guard displaying their batons, symbols of their membership in the group.

Colombia: Indigenous Self Defense in Times of War

by Raúl Zibechi, 05/06/2008,  the Americas Program of the Center for International Policy

The Cordillera Central is one of the prime regions torn by the war between the Colombian military and the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia). The rural population, which is mostly lower class and of indigenous decent, and consequently the sector of the Colombian populous most dramatically hit by the armed confrontations, defends itself through the “Indigenous War.” Read the rest of this entry