During the second half of the 20th century, Colombia suffered extreme levels of political violence. This book explores the involvement of the international community in peacebuilding efforts in Colombia since 2016. In particular, it examines how the interventions were framed in order to promote and sustain their involvement and questions whether these frames reflected the true reality within Colombia.
The book focuses on key donors, including US, the EU, Canada, Sweden and the UK, as well as multinational actors, such as the UN and the World Bank, to demonstrate how their framing of local issues for international consumption can have real world implications for peacebuilding efforts on the ground.
Chapter 7 offers a comparative look at how the international community framed peacebuilding agendas of intervention linked to national and local spaces. It examines how each country and international organization leading the post-conflict multi-funds or the mission of support to the peace process foregrounded agendas in targeted spaces for peacebuilding intervention. These agendas included development, governance, human rights, peace processes and security. Agendas were related to recommendations for action, information about activities or strategies carried out, and expressions of support, concern or condemnation in online subsidies. The latter reflected the desire for something to be addressed (agenda setting) and an explicit call for action. The chapter starts by introducing some general trends in the agendas and scales of intervention foregrounded by international actors and then explores how each actor privileged (non)specified spaces related to agendas of peacebuilding.
Chapter 4 summarizes how the USA, Canada, Sweden, United Kingdom, United Nations, European Union, World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank and MAPP/OEA have been involved in peacebuilding efforts in Colombia, drawing from official reports and documentation. The chapter describes the cooperation agendas in Colombia of the countries under evaluation (USA, Canada, Sweden and UK), and then summarizes multilateral efforts made through the post-conflict multi-trust funds set up to aid the transition to peace. In addition, the chapter explains the role of the MAPP/OEA to monitor and provide support to the peace process. The chapter points to relevant antecedents in international actors’ cooperation agendas and outlines their priorities and agendas during the period studied. Furthermore, the chapter reflects on how each actor privileged a particular approach regarding liberal peacebuilding.
Chapter 5 focuses on views held locally in Colombia regarding the countries and international organizations whose peacebuilding cooperation is studied in this work. It describes local key stakeholders in Colombia, including FARC, expert commentators and academics writing for the magazine Razón Pública and local NGOs working on human rights, development and peacebuilding, including Somos Defensores, Dejusticia, CINEP/PPP and Indepaz. The chapter assesses how these local actors publicly supported, differed from, or questioned the role of international actors in peacebuilding, and whether they maintained an engagement with peacebuilding or resorted to a more confrontational approach to the resolution of the armed conflict. Such local views are explored to appreciate key features about the national debate on international efforts.
Chapter 6 explores which departments, regions, cities, municipalities and administrative spaces for peacebuilding were foregrounded in international actors’ online subsidies, and how they and Colombia as a national space were explicitly labelled and defined with negative and positive references. Negative comments suggested what was at issue and how spaces were understood and promoted as problematic and subject to intervention. Positive references illustrated how the international community generated aspirational images of peacebuilding at different scales of intervention, and how spaces could be transformed in line with positive models. The chapter explores how each country and international organization leading the post-conflict funds and support for the peace process explicitly referred to places with positive or negative qualifications, including, for example, the presence of armed conflict, illegality or inequality, or, conversely, spaces as models or with the presence of valuable features that fostered transformation possibilities with regard to peace.
Chapter 3 compares peacebuilding efforts carried out by the Colombian governments of Juan Manuel Santos and Ivan Duque, based on reports from government and the Office of the Comptroller General and online subsidies from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The chapter also discusses the role that the October 2016 plebiscite had in propelling the campaign and election of Ivan Duque. It establishes key governmental agendas in Colombia, including peace negotiations with illegal actors and peacebuilding agendas in targeted places within Colombia. Despite some similarities, it is argued that the Duque administration actively opposed the peace agreement and transitional justice provisions left by the Santos government, as well as the reformist approach to the war against drugs. In addition, the chapter compares the management of international cooperation for peacebuilding by the Santos and Duque administrations, allowing a deeper appreciation of the differences and similarities in the governments.
Chapter 2 explains the contribution of studies on peacebuilding and space as well as political geography and peacebuilding to the notion of peacebuilding and the proposition that countries and international organizations promote peacebuilding agendas in targeted spaces of intervention. To grasp this process, spatial framing is key, as international actors promote an image of those spaces and project values and priorities through which transformation of violent dynamics will occur.
In line with works on peacebuilding and space, this book recognizes the key role of socially constructed spaces to shape peacebuilding practices. At the same time, it takes inspiration from political-geography literature that portrays peace as interpreted in different ways by different actors in different spaces, scales and times. The chapter asks questions about how relevant peacebuilding places were promoted discursively by international actors and how the analysis was carried out, and offers some observations about the sample.
Chapter 1 offers an overview of the emergent body of literature about frame projection in international scenarios, using concepts such as public and mediated diplomacy. It introduces the concepts of framing and public and mediated diplomacy, and online information subsidies as a key strategy linking traditional and contemporary practice. The chapter discusses what is known about the potential of mediated public diplomacy and online subsidies for peacebuilding, beyond national interests and image building. The arguments put forward are that public diplomacy can be understood in a constructivist way when countries and organizations use communication to promote peace as a public good by counteracting negative public opinion around peacebuilding efforts and harness international credibility and civil society support more broadly, and that information subsidies are a key instrument for the practice of public mediated diplomacy that can contribute to the promotion of peacebuilding transformation.
The introduction of the book explains where the idea of the book came from. It also offers a context to the Colombian conflict and its costs. A subsequent section explains the questions guiding the book: how key international organizations and countries promoted geographically targeted peacebuilding efforts in Colombia between November 2016 and February 2019 through online subsidies, to what extent differing frames regarding space transformation and peacebuilding reflected consensus, complementarity, dissent or dispersion, in the background of two Colombian governments opposed on the peace process, and the implications for consolidating the peacebuilding initiatives of the former government of Juan Manuel Santos. Then, the introduction offers some context to international cooperation for peacebuilding in Colombia and justifies the actors chosen, as well as the relevance of the study from a practical and theoretical perspective. The final sections describe the methodological approach, organization of the book and its key limitations and contributions.
Chapter 8 summarizes the results of the research regarding the extent to which different frames of transformation and peacebuilding promoted by key international actors reflected consensus, complementarity, dissent or dispersion. This was against the background of two Colombian governments opposed on the peace process, and the implications for consolidating the peacebuilding initiatives of the Santos government. Four propositions are made regarding the potential of understanding public diplomacy from a constructivist and multilateral perspective, as well as the role of online subsidies in the promotion of spatially targeted peacebuilding. Subsequently, the contribution of the results to the existing body of literature is stated, and the chapter reflects on the implications of the work for thinking more broadly about the role of multilateral public diplomacy in local peacebuilding as well as the ways in which further work may contribute to research in this area.