Colombia Calling - The English Voice in Colombia

La Leyenda, South America's most prestigious mountain bike stage race, where adventurous professional and amateur cyclists from around the world race side by side in the majestic Andean mountains of Colombia.

As formidable as it is breathtaking, the Leyenda route showcases the best of this cycling crazy country – tropical river valleys and sweeping singletracks, as well as lush green jungle and beautiful historic towns with thousands of screaming fans lining the streets.

Friend to the Colombia Calling podcast, Dave Procter explains why Colombia is truly one of the most exciting, inspiring and mythical mountain bike destinations on the planet. Hear about how they've come back stronger post Covid-19 and what is being offered now to MTB aficionados.


https://www.la-leyenda.com
https://www.facebook.com/laleyendadeldorado/

Direct download: RCC_435.mp3
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On Episode 434 of the Colombia Calling podcast, special guest Ole Reidar Bergum - Counsellor for Climate and Forests/ Consejero de Clima y Bosque - Royal Norwegian Embassy in Bogotá, joins us to speak in-depth and openly about the tragedy of the rampant deforestation taking place at the moment in Colombia.

We discuss the causes and results and what the Norwegian government, along with other collaborators, are trying to do to prevent an area the size of Bogotá being deforested each year.

Direct download: RCC_434.mp3
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On Episode 433, we take a look at a couple of the stories coming out of Colombia which may have escaped your notice with various events ocurring around the world, stealing the headlines in the foreign pages of your newspapers and outlets. After the Colombia news brief with journalist Emily Hart, I sit down to give you an extremely abridged and summerised overview of the report and findings of the Truth Commission and of a report produced by the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Neither make for gentle reading. Thank you again for your support and please consider subscribing and signing up at www.patreon.com/colombiacalling

Direct download: RCC_433.mp3
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In another exciting episode of the Colombia Calling podcast, we prioritize all questions put to us by our Patreon supporters (www.patreon.com/colombiacalling) and answer all of your queries regarding the future government and potential policies of Colombia's president-elect Gustavo Petro. This in an unedited recording with myself and journalist Emily Hart and the voice files kindly submitted by experts in their fields, Gimena Sánchez-Garzoli, the leading Colombia human rights advocate at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) and Kyle Johnson of Fundación Conflict Responses, CORE. We discuss security issues in Colombia, international business, financial flight under a leftist president, the vice president Francia Marquez, Petro's period as mayor of Bogotá, worst case scenarios, Alvaro Uribe and much more. News from journalist Emily Hart and a huge thank you to the excellent questions sent in my all of you.

Direct download: RCC_432.mp3
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On this week's Colombia Calling, we get to talk to members of musical collectives, bullerengue groups and the Colombian disapora in London and to hear about a new folkloric music festival they have set up in Barcelona: Prende la Vela, from July 29-31 2022. "We also want to transcend the political polarization in Colombia. For us, folkloric music is not just about entertainment. This festival will not just be fun. Ancestral music unites Colombians, it is our collective root, whilst polarization has continually torn the country apart for decades if not centuries. Even if it’s for a matter of hours, or a weekend, peace in our ‘encuentro de tambores afrocolombianos por la “paz”’ means that moment of transcending bitter politics by appreciating our collective ‘oneness’ through the medium of music." Thank you to Nick, Taty, Esteban and Valeria for their time and vision. Tune in to hear more about this festival and some of the bands playing such as La Perla, Lumbalú, Akolá Tambó, the Witchas Collective and last but not least Guacamayo Tropical.

Direct download: RCC_431.mp3
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In this week's episode, we have the pleasure of sitting down with Ander Agudelo, an entrepreneur from Medellín, keen on telling us about some of the realities of the city beyond the popular tourist haunts of El Poblado and Laureles. By way of Ander's online and on-site Spanish classes (Spanglish 360 Academy on facebook and Instagram), we hear about the urban regeneration of the city, much lauded in the international press, but also, the reality of being a middle to lower income resident of the city. Enjoy this frank conversation and the Colombia News Brief from journalist Emily Hart.

Direct download: RCC_430.mp3
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On Episode 429 of the Colombia Calling podcast, we're allowing the dust to settle on the recent presidential elections in Colombia and take a look at one of Colombia's first free-thinkers, Antonio Nariño. Our special guest this week is Emily Hausheer who has investigated in-depth the life and times of Nariño. It all begins with the outbreak of the French Revolution which sets Nariño's mind on fire. He translated the Declaration of the Rights of Man and had the document printed in his own house (1794). He might as well have handled dynamite. He was accused of sedition, convicted by the highest court of the land, and sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment in Africa, permanent exile, and the confiscation of his property (1795). Hear the full story of this incredible individual.

Direct download: RCC_429.mp3
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Over the last fifteen years Colombia has moved from ostensibly failed state to emerging market and tourist destination, providing Nobel-endorsed evidence that peace and reconciliation are possible after decades of brutalization. But while Colombia may no longer be the country that former president Ernesto Samper described in 2002, where governing was like trying to pilot an airplane in a storm while the passengers were rioting, neither is it the wonderland depicted in official propaganda. Many Colombians live badly; many more, well into the nominal middle class, live precariously; and still more structure their lives around minimizing their chances of falling victim to crime—something the poorest are unable to do. Unhappiness about the present and pessimism about the future are rampant across the social scale, focused precisely on those themes the Juan Manuel Santos government (2010–2018) touted as successes: the peace process, “social inclusion,” and infrastructure and public services. Much can be blamed on the administration of President Ivan Duque and the continual spectre of uribismo in addition to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Colombia may be more governable than it used to be, but not because the passengers are happier with the pilot—with the qualified (and to many Colombians highly suspicious) exception of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Tune in for a profound historical and amusing anecdotal look at Colombia through the eyes and experience of an expert Latin Americanist. Dr. Richard Stoller is Coordinator of Academic Advising and International Programs, Schreyer Honors College, Pennsylvania State University. Colombia news brief from journalist Emily Hart.

Direct download: RCC_428.mp3
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Colombian writer, journalist, philosopher and art dealer Juan Pablo Plata joins us on this week's Colombia Calling podcast (Episode 427) to discuss Colombia as a literary experience and how literature in Colombia has been defined over each decade by single-crop farming (monocultivo) and extractive industries. Perhaps, says Plata, we can look at Palm Oil, Coca (for cocaine), Bananas, Coal, Oil Coltan, Rubber and beyond as defining literature in Colombia depending on the era? And certainly, Jorge Isaacs, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Laura Restrepo and others can be linked directly to this phenomenon. "We already know that the best Colombian history is written by anglosaxons," said Plata. We discuss anglosaxon literature on Colombia, such as by authors such as Malcolm Deas, Davd Bushnell and Wade Davis before plunging into Colombia's new literary frontier of ELO (literatura electonica colombiana). Check out Juan Pablo Plata on Twitter: @jppescribe and his literary magazine: Colina Revista - https://revistalcolina.blogspot.com Colombia News Brief from journalist Emily Hart.

Direct download: RCC_427.mp3
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What a rollercoaster of an afternoon we had, viewing the results of the first round of the Colombian presidential election as they came in.

On this week's Colombia Calling podcast, we chat to Mark Kennedy (journalist: Latin American Advisor and Inter-American Dialogue) and throw around ideas regarding the voting and how this develops for both candidates in the second round on 19 June.

The polls had predicted a win for Gustavo Petro for months and over the past three weeks we had witnessed a surge in support for outsider Rodolfo Hernández, but there were few who would have bet safe money on Hernández overtaking Uribista and continuity candidate, Federico Gutiérrez by such a wide margin.

So what now for the two leading canddiates Petro and Hernández and then Gutiérrez and Fajardo, what deals are being made? What does Hernández need to do to win and what should Petro be doing now?

All this and more on this week's Colombian Presidential Election Special.

Direct download: RCC_426.mp3
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Dr Hannah Meszaros Martin is not a newcomer to the Colombia Calling podcast having previously joined us on Ep413 "What is Forensic Architecture?" On Episode 425 she brings her wealth of knowledge on the topic of glyphosate to the podcast to discuss its history, use in the eradication of coca and beyond. She says: "the eradication of coca cannot be seen as separate from the armed conflict in Colombia." What becomes clear and as Meszaros Martin explains, in Colombia and in this industry, the licit and the illicit rely on one another. Hear about land becoming sterile after decades of fumigation with glyphosate and then re-appropriated by destructive industries such as petroleum exploration, palm oil and cattle farming. We also discuss the possible policies presented by the two main presidential candidates, Gustavo Petro and Federico Gutiérrez, regarding fumigation with glyphosate in Colombia.

Direct download: RCC_425.mp3
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Shafik Meghji is an award-winning travel writer, journalist and author based in South London specialising in Latin America and South Asia. But on this episode 424 of the Colombia Calling podcast, we discuss his new book: "Crossed off the Map, Travels in Bolivia," and also pick his brains about travel in Colombia.

Tune in to hear fun banter with Meghji as we hear how he went from being a sports journalist to a travel writer and his adventures in Colombia's Llanos, Providencia and his in-depth exploration into the traditional drink of Chicha.

Buy the book and here's what people are saying about it!

‘Meghji skilfully unveils the layers of this complex society with candour and a warm curiosity. It makes you want to get on the next flight to Bolivia.’
Noo Saro-Wiwa, author of Looking for Transwonderland

https://www.amazon.com/-/es/Shafik-Meghji/dp/1909014257/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Direct download: RCC_424.mp3
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One year ago in 2021, the southwestern Colombian city of Cali became the flashpoint for massive protests in what was known as the #paronacional. Underestimated and misunderstood by the government, protests lasted for several months and there was a significant loss of life.

Journalist Jorge Luis Galeano Bolaños, director of HechoEnCali.com joins us from Cali to discuss the Paro Nacional one year after the event. What has changed? How is Cali progressing? From a human rights standpoint, what happened?

Tune in for a fascinating conversation with a Colombian journalist who was on the scene reporting from the heart of the disturbances in 2021.

News this week from journalist Mat di Salvo.

www.hechoencali.com

Direct download: RCC_423.mp3
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What were the "false positives or falsos positivos? Adriaan Alsema of Colombia Reports joins us on this "explainer" episode.

This is the name given to the killings of young men - mainly from humble families - carried out by the Colombian army to inflate numbers of "neutralized" guerrilla combatants during the long-running conflict. The Colombian army's aim was to pass them off as left-wing rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) to boost its kill rate and give the impression it was winning the armed conflict against the group.

This past week, several members of the Armed Forces guilty of this heinous crime stood before family members of those killed in a hearing hosted by the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP, which was created as a result of the 2016 peace accords) in the town of Ocaña, Norte de Santander.

The JEP is designed to pursue transitional and restorative justice and the military officials confirmed their participation in the practice known as false positives from luring out of work young men from Bogotá, Soacha, Bucaramanga and other regions of Colombia, to areas of conflict with the promise of work.

This hearing, which was televised, has revealed just a tiny percentage of the crimes committed which has resulted in 6,402 confimed assassinations of civilians so far during the mid-2000s.

Tune in to hear about the False Positives, the hearing and what may happen next.

Direct download: RCC_422.mp3
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Following up from the immensely popular episode No.407 in January 2022 in which Emily Hart and Richard McColl took your questions about more or less anything Colombia-related, we thought that it was time to put together Part 2.

We discuss Colombia's political climate, the upcoming presidential elections, who might win: Gustavo Petro or Federico Gutiérrez, the tourism industry, the upturn in violence - are the news reports to be trusted?, carrier bags, bilingualism and...cheese!


Tune in for a great conversation about Colombia. And thank you to all those of you who sent in your questions. If you feel like it, please check out our Patreon page and consider backing the Colombia Calling podcast.

https://www.patreon.com/colombiacalling

Direct download: RCC_421.mp3
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Sam from Latvia was an engineer on oil rigs in the North Sea but life took a turn and now he's offering ayahuasca retreats under the guidance of expert taitas in Colombia in rural Antioquia.

Hear his story of self-discovery and stories about the sacred ritual of ayahuasca and the experiences recounted by some of the people to have participated on his retreats.

Colombia news reported by journalist Emily Hart.

Check out Sam's website at: www.ayahuascaincolombia.com

Direct download: RCC_420.mp3
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We lost 70% of our food’s biodiversity last century – swallowed up by climate change, habitat loss, industrial agriculture, and the homogenization of the global diet.

Today on the podcast we meet some of the team racing against time to store and study the genetics of our food – creating a global back-up drive for the DNA of plants which keep the human race alive – from a groundbreaking new facility just outside Cali, Colombia. From robots and AI to Jeff Bezos and the Paro Nacional, we'll be chatting all things crops, climate change, Colombia, and the future of food.

Direct download: RCC_419.mp3
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This week we have the honour of inviting Rafael Stuve from the State of Venezuela podcast - The only English-language podcast focused on all matters related to Venezuela - to chat about what's going on in neighbouring Venezuela.

We discuss the tricky border situation between the Venezuelan state of Apure and the Colombian department of Arauca, the influence of the ELN guerrillas in that country, Russia's meddling in Venezuela, could Venezuela launch an attack on Guyana and finally, the Colombian presidential elections in relation to Venezuela.

Tune in to this and of course to the State of Venezuela Podcast for more information.

Tags and Keywords: venezuela, the state of venezuela podcast, podcast english venezuela, podcast english colombia, colombia calling podcast, colombia journalism english, colombia news english, maduro and colombia, president maduro, gustavo petro, ELN guerrillas in Colombia, ELN guerrillas in Venezuela, Apure Venezuela, conflict Arauca, richard mccoll, emily hart, rafael struve, FARC, venezuelan migrants,

Direct download: RCC_418.mp3
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What is going on with the electoral process in Colombia? On 13 March Colombians voted in congressional and legislative elections and for the candidates for the presidential elections in May. Since then, it has been a rollercoaster ride of accusations, counter accusations and mudslinging between the presidential candidates.

This episode with Sergio Guzman of Colombia Risk Analysis was recorded before all the claims of voting irregularities and fraud. However, the context and information remain the same.

It seems to be Gustavo Petro vs Federico Fico Gutiérrez for the presidency but how have the chips fallen in the Congress and Senate. Guzmán provides an overview of what happened and what's to come.

www.colombiariskanalysis.com

Direct download: RCC_417.mp3
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Simon Mejía of legendary electro cumbia band Bomba Estereo joins us on Episode 416 of the Colombia Calling podcast to discuss his latest plan - along with a team including Simón Hernández, Paula Vaccaro and Liliana Andrade - to present a musical journey to the depths of the Magdalena River (Yuma) in Colombia, the birthplace of Cumbia music.

Yuma, Sonic River, is a spellbinding journey along Colombia’s sacred Magdalena river after the origin of Cumbia music. This film introduces folk musicians who give a unique insight into musical creation. Through their songs, the documentary will convey the beauty and complexity of the river's history, culture, and by navigating it we will learn about its urgent environmental crisis.

Check out the Kickstarter campaign to fund the project here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/yumariosonoro/yuma-sonic-river-yuma-rio-sonoro?ref=user_menu

Colombia news reported by journalist Emily Hart.

Direct download: RCC_416.mp3
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 This week on Episode 415 of the Colombia Calling podcast, Emily Hart talks to two global experts on women in peacebuilding processes about their research into the pandemic and its effects on key actors in Colombia’s peace process – women.

As the fourth peak of the covid19 cases fades, the dust is starting to settle on pandemic management worldwide – how the lockdowns and movement restrictions affected peacebuilders and their crucial work, and how Colombia’s peace could suffer in the long term as a result – how it may already be suffering:

Last week, the Transitional Justice Tribunal – the JEP, announced a ‘reactivation’ of conflict in various parts of the country with various spikes in indicators for violence, this week and UN warned of levels of violence not seen in Colombia since 2014 - now NGO Frontline Defenders have released their annual report on the murders of human rights defenders – Colombia was not only host to more of those murders than any country in the world yet again, but accounted for nearly 40% of the global total of murders of human rights defenders in 2021.

Katherine Ronderos is a Colombian researcher with over 15 years working in the sector of women's rights, peace, security and development, from Colombia to Korea. For seven years, Katherine was the Director of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom in Colombia and is now an independent consultant working for UN agencies.

Agnieszka Fal-Dutra Santos is a gender in peacebuilding expert who has worked in more than 15 countries - formerly Director of Programs at the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders, she is now researching her PhD.

Direct download: RCC_415.mp3
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“The shadow of anglophone science fiction has been over us for a long while – but there has also been a constant attempt to get rid of that shadow.”

Acclaimed Colombian science-fiction author Luis Carlos Barragán talks to Emily Hart about Latin American sci-fi, technoshamanism, pre-Colompunk, alien invasions and more on Episode 414 of the Colombia Calling.

Tune in to a fascinating conversation which takes many turns as Hart and Barragán take on cyberpunk, colonialism, giant worms and so much more.

Tags and Keywords: emily hart journalist, luis carlos barragán author, science fiction colombia, el gusano, sci fi writing colombia, sci fi latin america, colombia calling, books colombia, podcast colombia, colombia english podcast.

Direct download: RCC_414.mp3
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On this week's Colombia Calling podcast, we get to delve into the world of forensic architecture with expert Hannah Meszaros-Martin PhD and how this has been used to uncover and investigate topics, crimes and more in Colombia. And we have Colombia news reported by journalist Emily Hart.

Forensic Architecture (FA) is a research agency, based at Goldsmiths, University of London, investigating human rights violations including violence committed by states, police forces, militaries, and corporations. FA works in partnership with institutions across civil society, from grassroots activists, to legal teams, to international NGOs and media organisations, to carry out investigations with and on behalf of communities and individuals affected by conflict, police brutality, border regimes and environmental violence.

We discuss land dispossession in Uraba, the seige of the Palacio de Justicia in Bogotá in 1985 by the M19 guerrillas and then for our Patreon subscribers, there's a bonus segment on FA's investigation and research into the killing of Lucas Villa during the Paro Nacional demonstrations in Colombia in 2021.

Check out their website for further investigations https://forensic-architecture.org/

Direct download: RCC_413.mp3
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Further to our series in 2021, regarding some of the intricacies and causes of the Paro Nacional or national demonstrations in Colombia which brought much of the country to a standstill, we have decided to follow these up in 2022 with equally pressing issues. This week on episode 412 of the Colombia Calling podcast, we are honoured to welcome Juan Pappier, Senior Investigator for Human Rights Watch on Colombia Calling to talk about the urgent need for police reform in Colombia.

Pappier has a special focus on Cuba and Colombia and talks to us about not only a need for police reform in Colombia but also the failure by the relevant entities in investigating and prosecuting members of the force guilty of killing protestors during the unrest.

Tune in for an informative and interesting episode and follow Juan Pappier
@JuanPappierHRW

Direct download: RCC_412.mp3
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From the author of El Narco, a searing investigation into the enormous black market for firearms, essential to cartels and gangs in the drug trade and contributing to the epidemic of mass shootings.

The gun control debate is revived with every mass shooting. But far more people die from gun deaths on the street corners of inner city America and across the border as Mexico’s powerful cartels battle to control the drug trade. Guns and drugs aren’t often connected in our heated discussions of gun control-but they should be. In Ioan Grillo’s groundbreaking new work of investigative journalism, he shows us this connection by following the market for guns in the Americas and how it has made the continent the most murderous on earth.

On the Colombia Calling podcast, we discuss the arms trade, the drugs trade, the so-called war on drugs and how this all affects Colombia. Grillo is one of the foremost experts on these topics as he is based in Mexico and appears in the world's press reporting on said issues. Check out his website: https://www.ioangrillo.com

Direct download: RCC_411.mp3
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Journalist Emily Hart sat with Frank Wynne, tracing his incredible career from the start of his linguistic journey (a breakup and a bookshop in Paris) to his award-winning translation of writers across Latin America and the francophone world – particularly his work on cult Colombian author and ‘Enemy Number 1 of Macondo’ - Andrés Caicedo and his novel “Liveforever!”.

Tune in for a literary episode exploring one of Colombia's least known and cult authors recounted in such an erudite fashion.

Direct download: RCC_410.mp3
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This week's Colombia Calling podcast explores the position of forensic experts and their role in this (post)accord period in Colombia and their role in uncovering truths in Colombia's long-running conflict.

María Fernanda Olarte-Sierra, University of Amsterdam | UVA · Department of Anthropology, Doctor in Social and Behavioural Sciences joins us to share her findings as a social scientist and ethnographer having interviewed many forensic experts and their findings in the field.

We discuss the differences in disappearences carried out by the paramilitaries (AUC), the FARC guerrillas and finally the Colombian military and their role in the False Positives scandal.

Tune in for an in-depth look at some of the darkest yet most revealing issues affecting forensic science and forensic experts of all types in Colombia at this critical juncture in Colombia's history.

Direct download: RCC_409.mp3
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Anika Fajardo was born in Colombia and raised in Minnesota. She is the author of a book about that experience, Magical Realism for Non-Believers: A Memoir of Finding Family (University of Minnesota Press, 2019), which was awarded Best Book (Nonfiction) of 2020 from City Pages and was a finalist for the 2020 Minnesota Book Award.

Here on the Colombia Calling podcast, we talk about her Colombia-infused writing, what it means to be half Colombian, how she got involved in the film Encanto and further conversations about writing and publishing.

Her debut middle-grade novel What If a Fish (Simon & Schuster, 2020) was awarded the 2021 Minnesota Book Award. Her next book for young readers, Meet Me Halfway (Simon & Schuster) will be published in spring 2022.

Direct download: RCC_408.mp3
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For Episode 407, our first of 2022, Emily Hart and I take a look back at 2021 in Colombia and then address a number of questions that you, the listeners, sent in to us.

Thank you for the questions which cover journalism, fake news, visa issues, politics, elections, Covid-19, mental health and Medellin.

Tune in for a great episode with which to begin 2022.

Direct download: RCC_407.mp3
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