The hidden toll of lockdown on rainforests (BBC Future Planet)

QUITO, ECUADOR -  You might be forgiven for thinking that the global lockdown measures keeping us all at home can only have been good for the environment. Pollution in cities has decreased, wild animals have increasingly been spotted entering urban areas, and many new cycle lanes have opened up worldwide. But in the world’s tropical …

Ecuador: Colombia refugees stage weeks-long protest against UNHCR (Al Jazeera)

QUITO, ECUADOR - Gina Pena said she was leaving a humanitarian aid office in Ecuador's capital Quito one day when she saw the man who had threatened her life back in Colombia. "If I open my mouth, he'll cut my family up. That's what he told me," Pena recalled, adding she no longer feels safe …

FARC fears after rightwing Duque elected (New Internationalist)

ICONONZO, COLOMBIA -  A handful of former guerrilla fighters met Sunday at La Tienda (The Store), the only store and social area in the FARC reintegration zone near Icononzo, Tolima, to watch the election results. But the space that is normally full of laughter and banter was grim Sunday afternoon. Many wondered what will be …

Piedad Cordoba: Colombia’s election could tear Peace Deal to shreds (New Internationalist)

BOGOTA, COLOMBIA - Piedad Cordoba has long been a well-known Colombian human rights activist, lawyer, former congress woman, Nobel Peace Prize nominee, and was once named the most influential Ibero-American intellectual by Foreign Policy magazine. She also briefly ran as a candidate in this year’s presidential elections, but dropped out of the race in March. …

Three journalists are kidnapped in Ecuador, signaling the violence spilling over from Colombia (The Washington Post)

QUITO, ECUADOR — Every night since March 26, when three Ecuadoran journalists were kidnapped near their country’s border with Colombia, their colleagues have gathered to demand their rescue. “We’re missing three! We want them back alive!” they have shouted while protesting in front of the presidential palace in the capital, Quito. The kidnappings of Javier …

Why are former FARC rebels leaving reintegration camps? (Al Jazeera)

EL ESTRECHO, COLOMBIA - For more than 35 years, Blanca Ducuara Gomez lived in Colombia's mountains, patrolling the countryside as a member of the country's largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). But today she lives in a FARC disarmament camp (also known as reintegration areas) in the southern state of Cauca, …

Amnesty: A Win for Colombia’s Peace Process? (The New Internationalist)

QUITO, ECUADOR - Liliany Obiando is finally free – after nine years. For almost a decade, Colombian sociologist, human rights worker and former political prisoner Liliany Obando has been engaged in a long and complex battle with the Colombian state and judicial system. She was charged with ‘rebellion’ in 2008, but this March the state officially …

Colombia’s Cane Industry Efficient but Potentially Damaging (Mongabay)

CALI, COLOMBIA - Colombia’s Pacific coast state of Valle del Cauca, home to at least 80 percent of the country’s booming sugar cane industry, continues to rebound after excessive and damaging rains in 2011-2012. In fact, recent USDA Foreign Agricultural Services report found that the country’s cane industry continues to reach “historical averages.” The rebound isn’t …