Colombia Calling - The English Voice in Colombia

Adam Isacson of WOLA (The Washington Office on Latin America) needs no introduction to the latin americanists amongst us, but, suffice it to say that it was an honour to invite him on the Colombia Calling podcast and hear his thoughts about recent events here in Colombia.

As the Director of Defence Oversight for WOLA, Isacson's remit takes in all of latin america and now includes border issues such as those occurring right now on the Mexico/ US frontier and so, we manage to catch him for a few short minutes in Bogota to discuss: President Duque's speech to the UN, the future for former president Alvaro Uribe, the reality on the ground in Colombia's far-off regions such as Choco and Arauca and so much more. Frankly, 35 minutes is nowhere near long enough with one of the most knowledgeable voices for human rights in the region.

Tune in and enjoy and be sure to check out his website at:

Direct download: RCC_297.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EDT

We are incredibly fortunate to welcome freelance foreign correspondent Steven Grattan on the Colombia Calling podcast this week as we managed to snare him before he was off into the wilds reporting on the latest story from Colombia
Grattan has been based in Bogotá since 2013 and he's been incredibly busy.

He is the co-founder of English language newspaper and website The Bogota Post, a project he worked on until 2015. He reports on a regular basis for Reuters news agency and has also published in The Guardian, VICE, Al Jazeera, IRIN News, among others. And so, we welcome him on the podcast to discuss some of his recent adventures and stories and his love for the border city of Maicao!

Check out his writing here:

Direct download: RCC_296.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EDT

Ervin Liz has appeared on the Colombia Calling podcast on two previous occiasions, firstly discussing the Colombian Coffee Connection (Ep201) and then the protests in southwestern Colombia in April (Ep267) and now he's back, as the President of the Colombian National Committee for the United World College (UWC), and sharing with us a little about how his experience of international travel and education broadened his mind and made him the person he is today.

When Ervin left for Norway in 2010 aged 16, he had never even been to Bogota, never been on an aeroplane and indeed, spoke no English. So, imagine the challenges which he confronted and bested to establish himself in the UWC school in Norway.

Now, Ervin employs the lessons he learned in Norway of tolerance, environmental sustainability, education for peace and international understanding to Colombia and in his everyday life as director of the Colombian Coffee Connection ( where money from sales returns to Ervin's community region of Tierradentro in Cauca.

And, as the President of the National UWC committee in Colombia, he is in part responsible for choosing the 14 applicants from his home nation to study at UWC. To fin out more, check out and tune in to hear how one young man from Tierradentro is making a change in Colombia.

Direct download: RCC_295.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EDT

The last time Irish singer songwriter Kevin McCaffrey joined us on the Colombia Calling podcast, it was September 2016, the peace accords in Colombia hadn't been signed and we were discussing parallels between these and the accords in Ireland. Fast forward from Ep157 to Ep294 and McCaffrey has now lived in Cali for 10 years, performed before an immense crowd at a huge music festival and will be releasing his new EP "Confressions" on November 20.

So, it was time for us to get back together and talk music and the evolution of the live music scene in Cali. McCaffrey shares with us the growth, the internationalisation and how the scene there continues to develop. Before signing off with McCaffrey, we give you a sneak peek at his single and hope that you will all share the good vibes, tune in to his account and leave feedback.

Direct download: RCC_294.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EDT

After a chance meeting in a restaurant in Cusco, Peru, Susana Bueno Lindo and Tony Aiello married a few years later and life has brought this native of Colorado to live in his wife's home city of Bogotá, Colombia. But, this serendipitous tale does not end here, now, the husband and wife team are working hard to ensure that they can learn from and also teach new practices to rural midwives in some of the most impoverished, conflict affected and isolated regions of Colombia.

To put this into context, a high percentage of midwives in rural Choco have never received any formal medical training, yet, they are masters of their trade. With no desire to question their knowledge, Susana, who is an OBGYN and Tony's only wish is to help save lives and provide things like blood pressure meters and training in how to prevent haemorrhaging.

Hear how this remarkable couple are ensuring that each birth is a humanized event and takes into account the traditional practices and beliefs of the community in question. Midwives will hike mountains, ford streams and travel through the most inhospitable regions to deliver children, Tony and Susana just want to help this. During this process, they have met some of the most incredible individuals such as Pasha, a midwife since she was 13 years of age, and who has delivered some 7000 children.

Tune in to hear about their initiative and if you can spare a few dollars, contribute to their crowdfunding page.

Direct download: RCC_293.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:06pm EDT