Colombia Calling - The English Voice in Colombia

The HALO Trust was founded in 1988 in response to the global humanitarian catastrophe caused by landmines. The problem was particularly acute in Afghanistan where thousands of civilians were being killed or injured by landmines and their presence was preventing the return of tens of thousands of refugees. So, it is a great honour to have the Director of the Halo Trust in Colombia, Ash Boddy, on Colombia Calling to speak about their work here. 

For more than five decades, illegal armed groups in Colombia have engaged in conflict with the government. Improvised explosive devices or IEDs, (classified as landmines in Colombia) have been laid throughout rural areas, devastating local communities. For years, according to Landmine Monitor, Colombia was ranked as the country with the second number of landmine victims in the world. According to the National Authority, there have been over 11,600 mine and UXO victims in Colombia since 1990, were 39% correspond to civilians. 

Boddy walks us through the projects currently underway in Colombia and how the Halo Trust works. By January 2019, HALO Colombia had cleared a total of 178 minefields (815.399m2), safely destroying more than 600 mines in the process. Additionally, through non-technical survey (NTS) HALO team have reported 876 veredas as landmine free. Together these activities have benefited more than 18,000 people.

The most affected regions in Colombia due to landmines are Antioquia, Meta, Valle, Cauca, Narino and Putumayo.

Tune in to find out more about the Halo Trust and their work in Colombia

Direct download: RCC_271.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EDT

Daniela Galan is a Colombian artist and art historian from Goldsmiths University. She is also a former lawyer and philosopher of Los Andes University, with a five-year background in education and corporate training. 

Her research as a philosopher and art historian has concentrated on exploring the concept of nature and understanding how this concept has been constructed through historical and political influences. She has concentrated her art history research in Latin American art history with an emphasis on female artists.

And so, that brings us to AMALGAMA. Amalgama is an exhibition devoted only to female Latin American artists. This exhibition will take place in London in May 2019 as a part of FLAWA the first Festival of Latin American Women in Arts in the UK, promoting women working in film, music, poetry and visual arts. And we get the opportunity to discuss latin american art with Daniela here on the Colombia Calling podcast. Tune in to hear about the need for greater equality in the art world.

Direct download: RCC_270.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EDT

Hailing from Villavicencio and then growing up in California, Alma Quiroga has plenty of stories to tell about both the Llanos and the transition her life took when her family decided to transplant itself to the US. The question of identity ran deep and Alma found herself in a tug of war between her Colombian roots and her American home. These existential crises have led her to becoming a Business Storytelling Consultant, and after working for years in this role in the US, she has brought her progressive methods to Colombia. 

On Ep269 of the Colombia Calling podcast, we have the great pleasure of sitting down with Alma to discuss how her business has prospered in Colombia - traditionally a conservative country in this respect - what it is she actually does and plenty of anecdotes along the way. 

Tune in to hear how Alma Quiroga is revolutionizing the workplace for Colombian companies. Check out her website at

Direct download: RCC_269.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EDT

Between 1810 and 1825, 7,000 English, Scottish and Irish mercenaries sailed to Gran Colombia to fight against Spanish colonial rule under the rebel forces of Simon Bolivar. Their motives were mixed. Some travelled for money, others travelled for honour. With author and academic Matthew Brown, we explore the lives of these men - their encounters with other soldiers, indigenous people, local women and slaves - as recounted in documents that fall outside the usual remit of military, political and economic historians. 

Dr Matthew Brown - our guest on Ep 268 of the Colombia Calling podcast - considers the social and cultural aspects of the presence of these `foreigners', and shows how they were an essential part of the revolution which eventually gave South America its freedom. Using archival research from England, Scotland, Ireland, Spain, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Colombia, Adventuring Through Spanish Colonies clearly shows the active role that these mercenaries, informal outriders of the British Empire, played in the creation of Latin America as we know it today.

Tune in to Ep 268 for an unrivalled account by one of the foremost historians on this subject, as he discusses these topics and more.

Direct download: RCC_268.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EDT

Many of you based in Colombia will have seen the impacting images of the strikes and blockades in southwestern Colombia, principally in the departments of Cauca and Huila. Who is protesting and why? Well, we find out who and included are farmers, afro colombian communities, coffee growers and indigenous people, who are up in arms at the government of President Ivan Duque and his failure to deliver on promises and agreements. 

So we talk on this Ep267 of the Colombia Calling podcast to Ervin Liz, a member of the indigenous Nasa people and who hails from Cauca and who can provide us with a far more complete picture of what is going on. You'll remember Ervin Liz from Ep201 in 2017 when we discussed his fair trade, organic coffee company, "The Colombian Coffee Connection." 

The idea on this Ep 267 is to uncover some of the myths and half truths about the protests and blockades and inform people out there about what is happening in southwestern Colombia. Will the weak mandate of President Duque come through? 

And, lest we forget, there is also a news update segment from the Director of Colombia Reports, Adriaan Alsema as well.

Direct download: RCC_267.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:47pm EDT