The writer serves as senior research assistant for the Brookings Project on Internal Displacement. To the Editor:
You report (front page, July 25) that life for Colombians living in the demilitarized zone run by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, is not easy.
Indeed, the Consultancy for Human Rights and Displacement, a Colombian research group based in Bogotá, reported that last year, some 3,900 people fled the zone because of threats and accusations of being informants of the armed forces or paramilitary groups and from systematic human rights violations.
Colombia has 1.8 million internally displaced people, the worst case of displacement in the Western Hemisphere. All of the groups fighting for control in Colombia are guilty of displacement, but paramilitary activity is by far the worst culprit. Paramilitaries aim at those who flee the FARC, so that the displaced find no refuge.
"You have to play the long game. It’s fine to add money, but when the commitment is volatile and your funding goes up and down constantly, you can end up creating more harm than good."
"We have been in Central America for a long time. It’s not just money that has made us effective in the region — there is a lot of hard-earned experience, trial and error, and institution building that is slowly reaping results. The worst thing that could happen now is to go back to zero."