Tag Archives: Peace Accords

El Salvador Accords 2016 Conference Videos and Transcripts Now Available

Link to Videos and Transcripts

A year in the making on Spring 2016, NYU’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) and Columbia’s Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS) presented “From War to Politics: An International Conference on El Salvador’s Peace Process.” This was a remarkable convening of stakeholders in the signing of the peace accords that ended the civil war in El Salvador. The conference, which was sponsored by various institutions including the Department of History at NYU, the Office of the Provost at NYU and Columbia University, provided the opportunity for a candid public conversation between sometimes opposing parties and regional players in the war and to reflect about the conflict, share insights about the historic resolution and explore the current consequences in El Salvador of the vestiges of war.

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Almost a year after the three-day gathering that included 20 participants, the full videos that were live streamed worldwide at the time and the transcriptions of those conversations are available for all to see and explore through this link. We understand these documents to be sources for a new understanding of the process and a contribution on scholarship in topics such as History of the Americas, the Cold War, Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Human Rights, among many others.

Special thanks to Will Hogue of Fordham University and CLACS Graduate Assistants Michael Cary and Diego Cristian Saldaña for their work in these efforts.

Hacia la Paz: Celebrating Ceasefire in Bogotá

Posted by Hanna Wallis – MA Candidate at CLACS / Global Journalism at NYU

A crowd of several dozen huddles against the rain under huge Colombian flags with white flowers in hand, paz written on damp faces. They gaze expectantly toward the huge screen at the front of the plaza broadcasting live news from Havana; the four years of peace negotiations between the government and the country’s largest guerrilla group FARC approach a conclusive ceasefire agreement, a symbolic move to end five decades of armed conflict. We are standing in the exact coordinates of Bogota where 68 years ago, liberal presidential candidate Jorge Eliécer Gaitán was assassinated, catalyzing what is known in Colombian history as “La Violencia.” Today, the site where the conflict began is also where we inaugurate its conclusion. Hope radiates among people holding long embraces, statue-sized political handshakes projecting before us.

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I arrived to Colombia just a day before this historical moment. While the government and FARC have flirted with the possibility of final signed peace accord for several months (the original deadline was March 23), this latest agreement was not pre-announced. My first full day in Bogota I hear mutterings about celebrating a peace agreement the next morning. All of my adopted Colombian family adorns themselves in peace regalia and we proceed to the Séptima con Avenida Jimenez.

Although more steps remain before the country reaches a final peace accord, this latest message from Havana marks several important changes: the FARC have agreed to disarm in a binding ceasefire wherein their weapons will be transferred to the United Nations. The government has also to create a special unit in its general attorney office to fight paramilitary and other criminal organizations.

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The potential implications of these changes for the population at large has inspired broad speculation and concern. I’m here to research how the peace process will impact an indigenous resistance movement in Cauca, Colombia, which has fought for political representation and autonomy since the 1970s.  While quelling the tensions between the different armed groups is critical in the transition toward “post-conflict”, their movement represents the existence of plural interests excluded from the bilateral negotiations. I am excited to depart from the urban hullabaloo and immerse where I can hear a counter-point to the elation of the crowd in front of me.

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My academic research will loosely center around their alternative forms of development and pursuit of sovereignty. As a joint masters student in Journalism and Latin American Studies, I will also seek out a character-driven reportage. I’ve been networking with organizations and government representatives to broaden my contextual understanding. With this backdrop, the voices from Nasa community members in Cauca will ring distinctly.

From War to Politics: An International Conference on El Salvador’s Peace Process

(Written by CLACS MA student Vladimir Penaloza.)

From March 31st to April 2nd, New York City will play host to a conference about the process and effects of the 1992 Peace Accords that brought an end to El Salvador’s bloody and lengthy civil war. The conference is hosted by New York University’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and Columbia University’s Institute for Latin American Studies.

The Chapultepec Peace Accords were signed on January 16, 1992. The treaty was brokered by representatives of the Salvadoran government, the rebel movement (FMLN) and Salvadoran political parties, with observers from the Roman Catholic Church and United Nations. These peace accords brought peace to a country that had endured a twelve-year acuerdosdepazphoto (1)civil war that was waged between the military-led government and a coalition of leftist groups and the communist party (FMLN). Its is believed that more than 75,000 people died, and an unknown number of people “disappeared” during one of Central America’s longest and bloodiest conflicts.

It has been close to 25 years since the Salvadoran Peace Accords were signed at Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City. From War to Politics intends to reflect on the circumstances that allowed the peace process to be successful. The peace process itself was a remarkable achievement that ended an intractable conflict and enabled El Salvador to transition to peaceful civilian rule. By bringing together over a dozen of the most crucial participants and scholars, this conference hopes to find consensus on what happened and what the outcomes were. The panels to be held will focus on the topics still considered the core details of the Accords, for example, what impact did the role of external actors on the process have in shaping the peace process? Were the external actors of greater impact than internal actors? All this and more will be discussed during the conference.

The panels will include the following topics:

  • The Role of El Salvador’s Internal Actors in Shaping Peace
  • Fighting While Talking: How Battleground Dynamics Influenced Negotiating Strategies
  • The Role of External Actors in Shaping Peace
  • Roundtable: What Difference Did the Accords Make?

The conclusions reached during these sessions will have been arrived at by the people who actually participated in the original Peace Accords. Some of the participants include:

Armando Calderon Sol, former president of El Salvador (1994-99) and Mayor of San Salvador (1988-94)calderon-sol

 

Bernard W. Aronson, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairsbernardquien201

 

 

Salvador Samayoa, former member of the FMLN’s Political-Diplomatic Commissionsama2

 

 

For more information about the conference, including a detailed program, biographies of the participants, and a link to register, please see the official conference website.