Colombia Calling - The English Voice in Colombia

Having spent several years in direct contact with the Comunidad de Paz in San Jose de Apartado (a very isolated yet violence-afflicted community) in northern Colombia, academic Gwen Burnyeat teamed up with Pablo Mejia Trujillo to make a documentary about the people, their suffering and now a feeling of hope for the future due to their organic fair trade cacao production. (see the trailer at

The documentary spans 55 mins during which, the viewer is transported to what should be a pastoral life of farming and family in fertile and promising lands, yet, it is here and not unique in Colombia, that the communities have faced massacres, threats and displacement due to the strategic location of their land and becoming sandwiched between the Armed Forces, left-wing Guerrilla groups and the right-wing paramilitaries.

But, while the tales are harrowing and unthinkable, there is hope. Burnyeat and Mejia have produced a documentary that is accessible to all, not just experts on Colombia and we are presented with positive outcomes from the community's struggles.

Please watch this documentary, spread the word and share this film as these are real events which have taken place and in some circumstances continue to take place in Colombia.

Direct download: RCC_141.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:18am EDT

Mixing things up a little, this week we sit down with Anthony Patrick LaRose, associate professor of criminology at the University of Tampa, and talk about his work of fiction, Cathedral of Salt (available on Amazon:

"Fighting depression and alcoholism, the FBI agent must evoke all of his former training and expertise to help solve the crime. While working the case, his story intersects with Santos, the local police captain assigned to the case, who is indignant having been assigned to babysit a drunken gringo; Guasá, a notorious activist for indigenous rights who claims the cathedral’s land as her people’s; Cárdenas, the arrogant salt mine executive obsessed with keeping the mine operational; and Chamí, a shadowy anthropology professor with a secret double life. Mixing ancient history, contemporary political reality, and modern forensics, Cathedral of Salt weaves a gripping, fast-paced tale of murder and intrigue over the course of several days. What starts as a simple offer of collaboration with a crime scene investigation, becomes a quest for redemption for Grant who soon realizes that the salt wants to keep its secrets."

Direct download: RCC_140.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:53am EDT

As the Director of, Federico Pardo holds a BS in Biology and a MFA in Science and Natural History Filmmaking from Montana State University. He has documented scientific expeditions in Ecuador, Perú, Mozambique and throughout Colombia. Federico’s work has been showcased by National Geographic, Fusion, The Field Museum and the Humboldt Institute in Colombia.

We managed to squeeze in an hour with Pardo in Bogota before he jetted off to another exotic location having just arrived from the Magdalena Medio region where he combated clouds of mosquitos to track and film some endemic and endangered brown howler monkeys.

With Pardo we talk about the filmmaking trade, future projects and indeed some of the environmental issues facing Colombia as the country moves towards a potential peace agreement with the largest guerrilla group. What impacts might this have on the environment and on society and more.

Tune in to a fantastic and frank interview with someone who clearly knows their trade and clearly understand the issues facing contemporary Colombia.

Direct download: RCC_139.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:12am EDT

Spoontano is an online platform that enables you to meet other open-minded young professionals with different backgrounds and the Bogota chapter is hosted by the friendly local Danny Barragan who joins us here on Colombia Calling.

In Episode 138 we sit down with Danny in one of Bogota's new cafes and mull over what it means for the Colombian capital to have an event like where foreigners and locals can dine out together and experience new and hip places.

How does a graduate of microbiology get into the dining game? You'll have to tune in yourselves to hear all about Danny's story and her love for Bogota and bringing people together.

If sounds like something you'd like to get involved in, they now have a presence in 10 cities worldwide and are always looking for willing and able potential hosts.

Direct download: RCC_138.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:33pm EDT

This week in Episode 137 we strike out with Colombia Calling and take a serious turn and talk to Roxanne Krystalli in Boston. Krystalli is a researcher and humanitarian practitioner with an interest in questions arriving at the intersection of gender, violence, armed conflict, and victimhood based at Feinstein International Center.

Krystalli has served as a researcher, advisor and consultant on issues related to gender and conflict for various UN agencies, international organizations, and community-based groups. This has involved working with ex-combatants, victims and survivors of violence, and fellow researchers and humanitarian practitioners in Egypt, Pakistan, Colombia, Israel and the Palestinian Territories, Uganda, Sudan, Guatemala, Mexico, and other areas.

Her understanding of and love for Colombia is unquestioned and here we talk to her about the peace dialogues and what Colombia is experiencing. As you guessed, with Krystalli's knowledge, I am well out of my depth!

For more about Roxanne Krystalli, read her blog at

Direct download: RCC_137.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:37am EDT