Colombia Calling - The English Voice in Colombia

On the final episode of 2023, the Colombia Calling podcast welcomes back Colombia Risk Analysis' director Sergio Guzmán and Daniel Poveda to discuss their latest report: "Understanding China's Tech Footprint in Colombia - Challenges and Opportunities," and also discuss 2023 in terms of Colombia's politics.

Hear Guzmán and Poveda discussing the strategic - or lack thereof - plans created by the Colombian government led by President Gustavo Petro, to court China but at the same time, not alienate their key partner...the United States.

We discuss Chinese tech investments and infrastructure investments, Colombia's relationship with Venezuela, where the government stands on the aggression towards Guyana and much more.

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Direct download: RCC_499.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EST

Kidnapped by the FARC guerrillas whilst birding, Diego Calderon may just be Colombia's most famous birder.

This week on the Colombia Calling podcast, Calderon sits down with myself and journalist Natalia Malaver, to discuss how birding in Colombia can be a tool for reconciliation, his experience of being kidnapped, what the peace accord with the FARC means and all sorts of information about birdwatching in Colombia.

Tune in for this and the Colombia News brief reported by journalist Emily Hart.

Watch the NatGeo documentary of Calderon and his kidnapping experience here:

Tune in to the Birders Show:
and support us here:

Direct download: RCC_498.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EST

This week, Emily Hart takes you on a sonic tour of Colombia, with the Humboldt Institute’s Natural Sound Collection: not only are we going to be hearing about this amazing project, we are going to be listening to some of the more unusual and noteworthy sounds from the collection itself and exploring what they tell us about Colombia’s natural environments and those who inhabit them.

We’ll hear a giant otter’s bark, the snore of a fish, a frog cocktail party, and mosquito love songs, plus bizarre and beautiful birds – along with a few other Colombian nature noises.

We are joined by the collection’s curator, Hoover Pantoja – expert in bioacoustics, technological development, and innovation; and Curator of Birds, Gustavo Bravo - evolutionary ornithologist and expert in the systematics, ecology, and evolution of Neotropical birds. This soundbank – known as the Mauricio Álvarez Rebolledo Collection - is the second largest repository of natural sounds in Latin America, with more than 24,000 audio recordings - of 20 species of mammals, 1064 birds, 131 amphibians, 17 insects, and numerous ambient recordings of Colombia’s innumerable ecosystems.

It has been built sound by sound since the 1990s, providing a crucial resource on a vastly underrated dimension of Colombia’s biodiversity, and ecology more generally. We’ll be talking about its evolution, from one man in the wilds of Colombia wielding a tape recorder through to the high-tech solutions – including of course artificial intelligence – being applied to the collection and the discipline more widely today. This sound bank is open to everyone - we'll be sharing the links so you can explore it for yourselves too.

We are going to be journeying through the unseen universe of natural sound – sounds we often don’t or even can’t hear - talking about which animals have evolved to make and hear sounds - and why, and how sound can be used to understand evolution and measure the health of ecosystems.

In the next hour, we’ll travel across Colombia from the Amazon to the Eastern Plains and beyond – with an unplanned but somewhat inevitable detour through Central Medellin.

Direct download: RCC_497.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EST

 In this week's episode, I reflect on four recent visits to the town of Capurgana on the Caribbean coast of the department of Choco. Capurgana is one of the jump-off points for migrants to begin the infamous and dangerous trek through the Darien jungle to Panama en route to their final destination of the United States.

In this episode, I relate my attempt to gain access to the migrant camp in Capurgana, my brief meeting with some members of the Clan del Golfo crime syndicate, finding two migrants from Togo and observing the arrival of people from Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, China and Somalia.

Tune in for this and the Colombia News Brief reported by journalist Emily Hart.

Support the Colombia Calling podcast:

Direct download: RCC_496.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EST

This week, Emily Hart gets the inside story on the #NarcoFiles - a new investigation into The Global Criminal Order, the largest investigative project of its kind to originate in Latin America. She speaks to OCCRP’s Latin America Editor Nathan Jaccard, who has led and coordinated this project - right from its earliest seeds in the 2022 hack to the incredible flourishing of reporting we’ve seen this week, and which continues to emerge.

Last year, a group of 'hacktivists' known as Guacamaya infiltrated the Microsoft Exchange server, enabling them to hack the system of the Colombian Attorney General's Office, the entity in charge of investigating and prosecuting crimes in Colombia. Five terabytes in size, the leak contains more than 7 million emails, including exchanges between the Fiscalia and numerous embassies, law enforcement groups, and others. The documents in the leak reveal unique details about the inner workings of international criminal gangs as well as law enforcement efforts to dismantle them.

The Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), the Centro Latinoamericano de Investigación Periodística (CLIP), Vorágine, and Cerosetenta gained early access to the data, and then shared the leak with more than 40 other media outlets. Journalists from over 23 countries worked on the investigation.

Nathan will be giving us the who, what, and how of this story, as well as his insights into the new world of organised crime and cocaine trafficking revealed by this hack – from the changes in where cocaine is grown and produced to corruption of top officials in Suriname, as well as the narco-nexus between huge banana companies and Colombia’s political right wing, Israeli mafia in Colombia, links to the Odebrecht scandal and more – stories involving fruit, shark fins, and DEA Agents.

Emily will also be sharing with supporters and subscribers her top picks from the NarcoFiles reporting from a number of outlets, with translated versions - subscribe now to our Patreon to get access!

Direct download: RCC_495.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EST

Emily Hart takes us (way) back in time this week, to a very different Colombia - one well before the arrival of human beings… but in the process of looking back, we’ll also be looking forwards - to what the future on this planet might look like.

We have with us some of the team behind "Hace Tiempo" - an incredible book on Colombia’s paleontological past: Colombia’s leading palaeontologist, Carlos Jaramillo, Paleo-botanist at EAFIT University, Camila Martínez, and science communications specialist at Parque Explorer Luz Helena Oviedo.

This illustrated book - now in its second edition - is a paleontological journey through the country’s past, and winner of an Alejandro Ángel prize, one of the most important awards for scientists in Colombia. More than 30 Colombian palaeontologists, working all over the world, contributed to the book, which is available free online – – the physical version is for sale through the website of the Humboldt Institute, a key partner in its creation.

Colombia is enormously fossil-rich and with a huge variety of habitats past and present Understanding Colombia’s ancient flora and fauna is key to understanding the country’s incredible biodiversity today, which is the product of millions of years of evolution, but in the alarmingly short term, is threatened by climate change and the accelerating global extinction of species.

Uniquely, the project also gives readers in Colombia a paleontological resource which relates to the land around them. Rather than the well-known dinosaurs like T-Rex or triceratops, this book presents prehistoric animals peculiar to Colombia, like the 6-tonne giant sloth which lived here 50 million years ago, giant turtles the size of a cars, or the megalodon which roamed Colombia’s waters, the biggest shark to ever exist – bigger than a school bus.

The Titanoboa, meanwhile, was a vast snake weighing over a tonne, which roamed 60 million years ago in the then-tropical jungles of La Guajira, ancestor to the anaconda and the boa constrictor, its body was 13 metres long and – at a cross section - the size of a bicycle wheel. It is the largest snake ever to roam the earth. The Titanoboa was discovered by Carlos himself only a few years ago - after analysing tons of rocks extracted from the Cerrejón mines still active in La Guajira today.

The new and expanded edition of the book - just out - includes a new chapter on Perijasaurus Lapaz, a long-necked herbivorous Colombian dinosaur discovered in 2018 in the Serranía del Perijá. Its name pays homage both to where it was discovered and to the 2016 peace agreement with the FARC, hence lapaz - which allowed palaeontologists to explore that region for the first time in decades.

So today we'll be talking all about what Colombia looked like a very long time ago, what happened since, what fossil records can teach us about climate change, and whether humans are in fact, as Carlos will argue, the least successful species ever to live on Planet Earth.

Direct download: RCC_494.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EST

On this episode of the Colombia Calling podcast, we get to talk to writer Paula Delgado Kling - after a long absence - about her book, which is now a reality and will be launched on 28 January 2024 (Tune in for further details).

"Leonor, the Story of a Lost Childhood," is a heart wrenching tale of a young girl who entered the FARC guerrillas in Colombia, becoming the "first girl" of the commander in her region of Putumayo.

Author Delgado Kling has had unrivalled access to Leonor over the space of some 20 years as she goes through the process of reintegration back into formal Colombian society after being captured by the military. Now a mother herself, Leonor has returned to her hometown of Mocoa and her life continues there.

However, this story is not just one of a young girl born into poverty, abuse and misery, it also runs parallel to Delgado Kling's family's experiences of having to leave Colombia due to the threat of kidnapping at the hands of the M19 guerrillas.

The Colombia News Brief is reported by Emily Hart.

Paula Delgado Kling´s website:

Direct download: RCC_493.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EST

Colombia's leading astronomer, Dr Paola Pinilla, joins us to talk about planet formation, space technology, and diversity in the field of astronomy. We’ll be chatting about the knowledge and inspiration which arrives from outer space, how Paola's childhood in Bogotá led her across the world and into the depths of the universe, and the incredible elements we are all made of – Space Dust.

Paola's work focuses on how planets are born – the first steps of planet formation, growing from dust to entire planets – ranging from vast uninhabitable masses to planets just like the one you and I live on. As well as having won a fellowship from NASA, earlier this year Paola won one of the world’s most prestigious awards The New Horizons Prize - known as the Oscars of Science - for her ground-breaking work at the Mullard Space Lab at UCL University College London.

The Colombia News Brief is reported by Grace Brennan.

Direct download: RCC_492.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EST

On this week's Colombia Calling podcast, we welcome back Sam Believ to discuss the growth and success of his Ayahuasca (Yage) retreat in the heart of the Colombian countryside.

Since we last spoke, about a year and a half ago, Sam's retreat has gone from success to success, growing and becoming one of the reference points for Ayahuasca ceremonies in Colombia.

Sam says: "We combine authentic and pure medicine, strong shamans from long lineage (Taitas), amazing environment (set and setting), caring integration with best prices.

"We don’t just give you medicine, but we provide solid integration that will allow you to turn your ayahuasca experience into long lasting positive change in your life!"

Check out their website at: and their highly rated podcast:

The Colombia News Brief is reported by journalist Emily Hart.

Direct download: RCC_491.mp3
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It's time to start dispelling some myths about Colombia and celebrate the work of an author, embedded in the coffee region, and seizing the opportunity to immerse himself in life here with total gusto.

For years, Barry Max Wills has been honing his work of non-fiction, "Better than Cocaine: learning to grow coffee, and live, in Colombia," and we now have the finished product.

What is a charming observation and reflection of life "in the bush" as he puts it (he's Australian), is now available to buy and read as an e-book and will be out as a paperback and launched on 30 November 2023.

We discuss life in Colombia, being an immigrant and not an expat, writing and life in Colombia, our adopted homeland.

“You’ve bought what?’
‘A plantation in Colombia.’
‘Whatever for, darling? You’re not going to go off and live there, are you?’
‘No. Well, not now, anyway.’
‘And what are you going to grow? Cocaine?”

The book is by indie publisher Fuller Vigil: and available right now on Amazon as a kindle ebook:

The Colombia News Brief is reported by journalist Emily Hart.

Direct download: RCC_490.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EST

On this week's episode, we discuss what it means to be a Bogotá City Councillor. Diego Laserna is a member of the Concejo de Bogotá for the Partido Alianza Verde and is up for re-election on 29 October.

Laserna tells us about the day to day work, issues of security and transport in Bogotá, about the mayoral candidates running for election (Galan, Oviedo, Bolivar, Lara, Robledo and Molano) and his thoughts on the outgoing Mayor, Claudia López and indeed of President Gustavo Petro.

What have been Laserna's successes over the past four years? What does he hope to do in the next four years?

Tune in to hear about A Day in the Life of a Bogotá City Councillor.

Check out Diego Laserna on social media @lasernabogota.

And tune in for the Colombia News Brief reported by journalist Emily Hart.

Direct download: RCC_489.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EST

And so, along with a new government, comes a new country brand for Colombia and this time it's: Colombia, the Country of Beauty or in Spanish: Colombia, El País de la Belleza.

Bruce McLean of BNBColombia Tours joins us this week to discuss this new advertising campaign for Colombia and to share with us how the travel and tourism industry is progressing from his perspective as an industry expert with his agency.

We discuss new travel destinations in Colombia, old favourites such as Cartagena, how travel and the tourism industry in Colombia is improving and enjoy a relaxed conversation to plug and promote Colombia as your next destination and what it means to be a travel agency that is carbon zero.

Check out:

The Colombia News Brief is reported by journalist Emily Hart.

and of course, the new Colombia country campaign video:

Direct download: RCC_488.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EST

This week, Tyler Schwab, director and founder of Libertas International, joins us to discuss the ongoing and nefarious practice of child exploitation in Colombia.

With investigations in all major Colombian cities, but focused principally in Medellín, Libertas International works hand in hand with local authorities to pursue foreign visitors coming to Colombia seeking to exploit the most vulnerable - the children.

The organization employs social workers and psychologists to aid with after-care and security and ensures that the full force of the law comes down on the offenders.

So, this is an opportunity to dispel some of the myths surrounding the recent film: The Sound of Freedom, starring Hollywood big-hitters such as actors Jim Caviezel and Mira Sorvino.

Libertas International is a non-profit corporation and operates exclusively for educational and charitable purposes. Their purpose is to help prevent child trafficking through education, rescue children through intervention, and rehabilitate survivors of human trafficking in Latin America through empowerment and aftercare.

Direct download: RCC_487.mp3
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Colombians go to the urns once again in national elections on 29 October 2023 and so, what better occasion to invite friend to the Colombia Calling podcast, Sergio Guzman, Director of Colombia Risk Analysis to explain some of the key issues and trends taking place.

We try and keep this conversation somewhat jovial since the outlook is pretty bleak!

There are four main talking points:

1. The 2023 local elections will become a referendum on President Gustavo Petro.
2. Lack of voter intention polls will likely affect voter preferences.
3. The erosion of the political party system is likely to continue.
4. Political Violence is likely to increase as Colombia gets closer to election day.

We discuss journalist Laura Ardila Arrieta's latest book: "La Costa Nostra," a deep dive into corruption overseen by the Char political clan from their seat of power in Barranquilla and take a look at other issues affecting the political landscape in Colombia.

The Colombia News Brief is reported by journalist Emily Hart.

Tune in and also check out:

Direct download: RCC_486.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EST

The migration of a mennonite colony to Colombia's eastern plains is a little-known story worthy of greater coverage due to the environmental and social impacts this has had on the region and the traditional communities found here.

And yet, hardly anyone has heard about it.

On this episode of the Colombia Calling podcast (available wherever you get your podcasts), Oscar Parra from Rutas del Conflicto - a website dedicated to bringing you stories about the Colombian conflict not covered in the mainstream press - and journalist Natalia Malaver join me to discuss this topic.

Hear about the history of the Mennonites in Colombia, their use of a portion of land here, what they are producing and why the Colombian authorities look the other way as deforestation takes place in the name of progress.

The Colombia News Brief is reported by journalist Emily Hart.

Check out:

Direct download: RCC_485.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EST

This week on Colombia Calling, Emily Hart is joined by María Fitzgerald – brilliant human rights journalist, writer, and Gender Editor at outlet Cambio.

Her new book, Los Nombres que Olvidamos (The Names We Forgot), collects chronically under-told and even hidden stories of Colombia’s everyday and normalised violence. It also serves as a statement against depersonalised writing, against the myopic focus of the mainstream news agenda, and as a call for better, more personal, and more humanising ways to narrate the country’s conflict (and indeed conflicts) and to foreground women’s bravery and action in the face of it.

We’ll be talking about women in conflict, social justice, and journalism via armed groups, the paro national, illegal mining, and more - as well as the female journalists who inspire us, from Svetlana Alexievich to Joan Didion.

Direct download: RCC_484.mp3
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Ricardo Cubides is the regional coordinator for the Colombian Caribbean region for the NGO CODHES - La Consultoría para los Derechos Humanos y el Desplazamiento and it is an incredible honour to talk with him and tap into his knowledge of the sociopolitical issues here.

On this Episode of the Colombia Calling podcast - permitted only due to the fact that the conversation is in English - we deal with incredibly sensitive information about the chronology of armed groups in the region of the Canal del Dique, the structural racism and the on-going conflict in the region.

The Canal del Dique is a feat of engineering, built by slaves from Africa, commanded by the Spanish empire, running for 115km in length and connecting the lakes and waterways of the Magdalena river basin with the city and port of Cartagena.

Latterly, the area has been controlled by the EPL guerrillas, then the ELN and then the FARC before coming under the control of the AUC paramilitaries and now the AGC or Clan del Golfo.

We discuss the situation now and in particular alongside the ambitious Paz Total or Total Peace project promoted by the current government of President Gustavo Petro.

The Colombia News Brief is reported by journalist Emily Hart.

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Direct download: RCC_483.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EST

Colombian distance record holder and paragliding guide, Sebastian Ospina works as a professional tandem pilot in Europe but perhaps is better known for his incredible achievements in paragliding competitions. It's a great honour for us to speak to him here on the Colombia Calling podcast.

We talk to Sebastian about his life as a paragliding expert living in Interlaken in Switzerland, how he became enamoured with the sport and some of the intricacies involved in competitive to stay alive!

Unable to fly for Colombia (explained in the conversation), Ospina was snapped up by team GB and with them won the Gold at the 2021 World Championship.

How much do you know about competitive paragliding? Did you know that there are four categories?

Precision Paragliding Landing
Acrobatic Paragliding
Cross Country
Hike & Fly

Check out some of Sebastian Ospina's titles, awards and more...

First pilot to fly over 200k straight line in Colombia
5x Winner of the Rolda Open (2013, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2013)
Winner of the British Winter Open 2019
3rd overall place XContest 2019 and 2020
Winner of the North American Paragliding Nationals 2022, Valle de Bravo
Team Gold at the World Championship 2021
6th at the World Championship 2021
Winner of the Eiger Tour challenge category 2022
6th World Cup Superfinal 2022

The Colombia News Brief is reported by journalist Emily Hart.

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Direct download: RCC_482.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EST

Reading an extract from his forthcoming work of non-fiction: The Mompós Project, A Tale of Love and Hotels in Colombia, journalist Richard McColl discusses the issue of witchcraft in this corner of rural Colombia.

Having set up a successful business in the town of Mompós - a town that inspired much of the writing of Gabriel García Márquez - he incurred the wrath and envy of a handful of townspeople.

The book with be available in all the usual places from November 2024 but stay informed at

Richard McColl has worked as a journalist in Colombia since 2007 and is the host of the Colombia Calling podcast and the LatinNews Podcast.

The Colombia News Brief is reported by journalist Emily Hart.

Direct download: RCC_481.mp3
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Hallo and welcome to another episode of Colombia Calling – I’m Emily Hart and this week I’ll be talking to the team at Power Leaves – who are unleashing the health and nutritional properties of the coca leaf by creating de-cocainised extracts and essences – and exporting them from Colombia across the globe - working with the country’s Nasa indigenous community.

Today on the show we have Ahmed Shehata, Co-Founder & President of Power Leaves and Carolina Mejia, VP of Regulatory Affairs for the company in Colombia – we’re going to be talking all things coca leaf – its properties and uses, how the company is navigating the regulatory frameworks to get coca extracts into markets across the world – and how Power Leaves are challenging the monopoly of the giant household name who import coca leaves to the USA and sell their drinks in more than 200 countries. I’m talking, of course about Coca Cola.

This week’s headlines reported by journalist Grace Brennan.

Direct download: RCC_480.mp3
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It was remarkably good fortune that famed writer Sara Wheeler came through Mompós in Colombia when I was there overseeing our hotels. Over coffee and conversations we discussed Colombia, the politics and her travel writing.

And so, I was very honoured that she agreed to come on the Colombia Calling podcast to discuss future projects, past projects and much more.

Wheeler's latest book, Glowing Still: A Woman's Life on the Road, is her most personal to date, reflecting on her own experience and the changing world of travel.

"How are we supposed to live? The best writers all know that there aren't any answers, there are only questions."

Tune in here and wherever you get your podcasts for this and the Colombia News Brief reported by journalist Emily Hart.

Direct download: RCC_479.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EST

No strangers to the Colombia Calling podcast having featured here on more than a few occasions, this week we chat to Dave Proctor of La Leyenda MTB race and hear about their expansion into the Caribbean, Series races and the multi-stage race in Colombia.

It's a good news story from Colombia, highlighting what is possible, with an idea, an aim, a dream and then following through with the hard work.

Let's celebrate La Leyenda and what this mountain bike race has done and is doing to promote the best of Colombia.

La Leyenda 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

La Leyenda del Caribe

La Leyenda del Caribe is the Caribbeans's premier MTB stage race! Adventurous amateur cyclists from all over the world race side by side along the stunning, palm tree lined beaches, lush forests and river valleys in the Punta Cana region of the Dominican Republic.

The Colombia News Brief is reported by Emily Hart.

Please support us at

Direct download: RCC_478.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EST

For more than five decades, the people of Colombia have suffered the consequences of warfare between illegal armed groups. Landmines were laid throughout rural areas, devastating local towns and villages. Nearly 12,000 people have been killed or injured by mines or UXO since 1990—that’s a casualty rate second only to Afghanistan.

This week, we speak to Oliver Ford, programme manager for the HALO trust in Colombia about the new challenges to humanitarian demining in the evolving conflict in the region.

HALO has been clearing landmines in Colombia since 2013, making land safe across Antioquia, Boyacá, Casanare, Cauca, Meta, Nariño, Norte de Santander, Putumayo, Tolima and Valle del Cauca. We’ve removed landmines from coffee plantations, farms, veredas (villages) and indigenous reserves.

The Colombia News Brief is reported by Emily Hart.

Direct download: RCC_477.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EST

Colombia is coffee, but Colombia is also cacao and on this week's Colombia Calling podcast, we talk to Paola Forero Acosta of Moxe, a start-up and specialist company aimed at providing only the best quality chocolate for discerning customers.

Paola Forero Acosta, along with her business partner, Juan Carlos Garavito, came up with the idea of Moxe in order to promote Colombia in a postive light and create a product that is both socially and environmentally sustainable.

And, Moxe was born:

What is Bean to Bar chocolate?

The term bean to bar chocolate started as a way for small chocolate makers to distinguish their chocolate from both chocolatiers, and also mass produced chocolate.

Bean to bar chocolate makers control where they source each ingredient, in this case from Caquetá, Huila and the Sierra Nevada, often making single origin chocolates to show off the complexity of each cacao.

The movement of bean to bar chocolate is important momentum because consumers can also taste this difference. While industrial chocolate tastes flat and lacks provenance, bean to bar chocolate contains a multitude of flavours and stories.

Buy the product, share the webpage and help ensure that Moxe is a success!

Direct download: RCC_476.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EST

Drawing on nearly a decade of extensive ethnographic and participatory research, Angela Jill Lederach advances a theory of "slow peace," from investigations in Colombia's Montes de Maria region.

On this episode we discuss peace, peacebuilding and her new book and the concept of "slow peace."

"Feel the Grass Grow," traces the far less visible aspects of moving from war to peace: the decades of campesino struggle to defend life, land, and territory prior to the national accord, as well as campesino social leaders' engagement with the challenges of the state's post-accord reconstruction efforts. In the words of the campesino organizers, "peace is not signed, peace is built."

Tune in for this and the Colombia News Brief from journalist Emily Hart.

Please support us:

Direct download: RCC_475.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EST

The astonishing tale of four Huitoto children who survived a plane crash in which their mother and three other people died and their story of survival for 40 days in the impenetrable Colombian jungle has made the headlines the world over.

And rightly so, this reads like a film script.

Here, we tell this story on the Colombia Calling podcast, however, with a twist as we hear from a member of an indigenous community in Colombia to understand his read on events from a different perspective.

We listen to how indigenous communities consider the jungle and her spirits and how these kept the four Mucutuy children (aged 13, 9, 4 and 1) alive for forty days.

What is the importance of this humanitarian operation done in cooperation between the Colombian military and the indigenous community, the first of its kind, and what this means?

Our special guest, Ervin Liz of the Nasa community in Cauca also sells phenomenal coffee, please take a look:

And feel free to support us on Patreon:

Direct download: RCC_474.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EST

This episode, coming fast on the heels of a reflection-filled, "10 Year Anniversary" episode of the Colombia Calling podcast, is another profound look at life in Colombia for two long-term immigrants to the country.

In, "A love letter to Colombia," Brian Murphy O'Neill (La Leyenda Moutainbike race, The Colombia Project) and Richard McColl (Colombia Calling, the LatinNews podcast, Casa Amarilla Mompós) talk about all things Colombia-related and discuss the love and respect we both have for our adopted home country.

There is banter, there is honesty, but what it comes down to is that this is an ode to Colombia and her labyrinthine complexities.

And of course, the Colombia News Brief is reported by journalist Emily Hart.

Direct download: RCC_473.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EST

The Colombia Calling podcast has reached its 10 year mark 2013-2023, and it's time to celebrate. So, with that in mind, journalist Emily Hart, takes over and interviews host Richard McColl.

There is banter, there are questions from listeners and there's wine too! Emily expertly guides the conversation through the highs and lows of the podcast during these first ten years, memorable and not so memorable episodes, lessons learned and the evolution of Colombia Calling.

Thank you to everyone for your support and for listening, it has been a great experience and as I say in this recording: "we'll keep coming back if you keep coming back."

Abrazos to everyone from Colombia!

Direct download: RCC_472.mp3
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Mesa Franca needs no introduction to people in Bogotá, but for those considering visiting the Colombia capital, this restaurant, founded by María Paula Amador, Tom Hydzik and Iván Cadena, has gone from strength to strength as one of the pioneers in new Colombian cuisine since its founding in 2016.

Previously, in Bogotá, one would dine out on traditional Colombian fare, delicious in its own right, but a new set of upstarts came to the fore and Mesa Franca is amongst those to lead the charge.

We get to sit down in the restaurant with María and hear about her restaurant story, the challenges, hopes and future plans.

Check out:

The Colombia News Brief is reported by journalist Emily Hart.

Direct download: RCC_471.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EST

On this week's Colombia Calling podcast, we talk to Annie McDermott, the literary translator of Lorena Salazar Masso's debut novel: This Wound Full of Fish.

We hear how McDermott interprets Sanchez' depictions and descriptions of Colombia's pacific Choco region, the importance of the land and the Atrato River and the ever present simmering tension of violence in the region.

This is a novel of place, identity and race, a trip through the Colombian jungle, an intimate portrait of motherhood: a vibrant debut novel shot through with magic realism and devastating tragedy.

Buy the book:

The Colombia News Brief is reported by journalist Emily Hart.

and support us:

Direct download: RCC_470.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EST

Federico Pardo is a Colombian biologist, photographer and documentary filmmaker in addition to being a National Geographic Explorer, 2020. For the past four years he has been working on a documentary to highlight the plight of four critically endangered species of primate in Colombia.

In order to get the information out there to a wider audience, the interactive, immersive experience and documentary called: Salvando Primates (Saving Primates) is being shown in Bogotá's Planetarium until July 16 2023.

A percentage from the proceeds goes towards planting trees in the deforested regions where the monkeys live.

Here, we talk to him about the four species of primate, the conditions under which they are surviving, the challenges, the regions he worked in and so much more.

Please consider supporting us:

The Colombia News Brief is reported this week by journalist Grace Brennan.

Direct download: RCC_469.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EST

On this week's Colombia Calling podcast we get to chew the fat (cockney rhyming slang for: "chat.") with long-time immigrant to Colombia and friend to the podcast, Eric Tabone.

Tabone shares some of his insights into setting up a start-up here in Colombia, some of the dos and don'ts and how he ran this business successfully for 12 years before stepping aside and becoming a gentleman of leisure....although he continues to consult for businesses here!

Some of his important pointers:

1. Relationships are gold.
2. Don't underestimate a good lawyer.
3. Paitience is key.
4. Culture identification is vital.
5. the Banking system is horrible.

Check out his business website:

and feel free to support us:

The Colombia News Brief is reported by journalist Emily Hart.

Direct download: RCC_468.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EST

China’s engagement in Colombia has significantly increased in the past decade, whereas the country has openly embraced a warmer political and economic relationship with the middle kingdom, its political, diplomatic, and economic institutions are ill-equipped to understand and address the risks this closer relationship entails.

On this week's Colombia Calling podcast, Sergio Guzmán and Sara Torres of Colombia Risk Analysis analyze Colombia’s relationship with China, asked business leaders, and conducted a public opinion poll to understand local perceptions of Chinese investment in Colombia, and explain their findings to us.

The Colombia News Brief is reported by journalist Emily Hart.

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Direct download: RCC_467.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EST

On this Episode of the Colombia Calling podcast, we address the evolution of Art in Latin America and Colombia and are led through this fascinating subject and its personal and political connotations by Colombian expert, Daniela Galán.

Daniela Galán is a Colombian artist and art historian from Goldsmiths University. Since she started her career as an artist she has been working at the intersection of contemporary art practice, sculpture, and philosophy.

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.

Check out her courses at and quote the code "colombiacalling" at check out and receive a 5% discount.

The Colombia News Brief is reported by journalist Emily Hart.

Please check out and

Direct download: RCC_466.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EST

For decades, coca eradication and substitution, to purportedly stop the cocaine trade at its source, were Colombia’s only policy responses to a plant that had always been part of its culture. These policies failed to reduce long-term coca cultivation, while harming the most vulnerable communities in the country and escalating the Americas’ longest civil war.

The 2016 peace agreement marked the first significant shift towards a new approach, one that prioritized human rights and public health in the issue of coca.

This week, David Restrepo of David Restrepo the Centro de Estudios sobre Seguridad y Drogas explains the history of this prohibition in Colombia and a great deal more.

The Colombia News Brief is reported by journalist Emily Hart.

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Direct download: RCC_456.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EST

What inspires a practicing lawyer from St Louis, Missouri to give it all up to move to Cali, Colombia to teach English as a foreign language. Well, this is what Todd Cooley did and we hear about his experiences as a black American in Colombia. Hear a new episode that takes in race, identity and place and a great conversation about it all.

The Colombia News Brief is reported by journalist Emily Hart.

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Direct download: RCC_464.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EST

Our guest this week is Natalia Pardo, Assistant Professor in the Department of Geosciences at the Universidad de los Andes. Natalia is a geologist at the National University of Colombia (Bogotá), with a Master’s of Science degree with an emphasis in volcanology from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), and a doctorate in physical volcanology from Massey University, New Zealand.

Pardo’s research focuses on the study of volcano geology, the physicochemical processes that trigger explosive volcanic eruptions. Her aim is to study, investigate and bridge the gap between academia and the local communities to be able to explain the reality of volcanic activity in their regions.

Tune in for a fascinating conversation on the topic, the history of volcanic eruptions in Colombia, the story of the Dona Juana Volcano and more.

The Colombia News Brief is reported by journalist Emily Hart.

Please consider supporting the Colombia Calling podcast:

Direct download: RCC_463.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EST

Andrea Gonzalez Duarte Van Der Leeuw was born in Bogotá, adopted as a baby and raised in the Netherlands.

After finishing her degree in social work at Hanze University in the Netherlands, Andrea traveled the world then moved to Medellin, Colombia a few years later.

Upon her return to Colombia, she saw a striking difference in women’s role in society. The women she saw were working, creating, providing, and fighting - and then there is such a huge gap between the sexes?

This does not fit into our modern times and she started the foundation, Mi Barrio Mi Sueno, knowing right away that she wanted to work for equality, especially for women and children, because they have a right to equal and fair opportunities and treatment, like everybody else.

Andrea feels very strongly about this subject because this inequality is the reason behind her adoption. Now she is committed to changing the unequal conditions and working together for a fairer world.

The Colombia News Brief is reported this week by journalist Grace Brennan,

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Direct download: RCC_462.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EST

This week we speak to Camila Gonzalez Rosas, Director and Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at Los Andes University in Bogotá and Researcher at the the Centre for Investigations into Microbiology and tropical parasitology and we discuss tropical diseases in Colombia.

Nothing is off the table from chagas, malaria, dengue, leishmaniasis, zika, chikungunya and Covid-19....we cover it all.

What are the possibilities of another Zika outbreak? What are the consequences of the loss of biodiversity and climate change in Colombia? We also talk about zoonotic transmission where an infectious disease is transmitted between species from animals to humans (or from humans to animals)

Please consider supporting us on

Direct download: RCC_461.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EST

Magdalena: River of Dreams, A Story of Colombia is a captivating new book from Wade Davis--renowned, award-winning, bestselling author and photographer, and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence for more than a decade-- that brings vividly to life the story of the great Río Magdalena, illuminating Colombia's complex past, present, and future in the process.

Thia week, Wade Davis, author of the inimitable book on the Amazon river, One River, joins us on the Colombia Calling podcast. It's humbling to have someone of this stature on the show, please enjoy.

The Colombia News Brief is brought to you by journalist Emily Hart

And please consider supporting us at:

Direct download: RCC_460.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EST

On this week's show, we return to the topic of travel and tourism to Colombia as it is so timely with the ANATO convention taking place last week. We reflect on how the ANATO fair has changed over 15 years, how international travel agencies are now responding to those of us in the tourism business here in Colombia and potentially what to expect in the future.

There are some outtakes with music taking place during the convention, some information from Tatiana - the head of tourism for the department of Vaupes - Bruce McLean's ( reaction to some spicey chili flakes and more!

Come and enjoy some vicarious travel to Colombia. And thank you to Grace Brennan for taking over from Emily Hart with the Colombia News Brief this week.

Direct download: RCC_459.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EST

Welcome to Colombia Calling – I’m Emily Hart and today I’m talking to ZZK, one of the top music labels in the world for latino electronica, digital and experimental cumbia, and rainforest electro. From a Wednesday Night party in Buenos Aires to a global record label, ZZK are now celebrating 15 years working in the business.

The now-huge digital cumbia scene was incubated in large part due to ZZK’s parties and label, which exploded into a community of artists whose experiments with blending unlikely sounds and styles have continued ever since, bringing cumbia from Colombia, through the barrios of Argentina, through an experimental digital wave – now to a phenomenon which plays worldwide.

I’ve got two of ZZK’s co-founders in the studio, as well as the lead of new Colombian signing and Bogotá phenomenon Los Cotopla Boys - We’ll be talking parties, rhythms, and the experimental scene in Colombia – as well as reggaeton, K-Pop, and how to survive as an indie record label.

At the end of the show, I’ll also be giving you guys an exclusive listen to a brand new track by ZZK artist Montoya.

Direct download: RCC_458.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EST

On this week's Colombia Calling podcast, we have the opportunity to speak to supporters of the UK-based NGO, Children Change Colombia and their experiences of visiting a local partner project led by ACJ (Asociación Cristiana de Jovenes) in downtown Bogotá.

Abhijit Kapadia, Betty Encinales and Carlos Ordoñez join us to share their experiences of seeing - with their own eyes - how ACJ and Children Change Colombia are working to protect some of Colombia's most at-risk children from commercial sexual exploitation (CSEC).

Tune in to hear their reflections of visiting the Santa Fe neighbourhood known as the “tolerance zone” in Bogotá. This area is known for high presence of problems of sex work, drug addiction and delinquency.

ACJ, works to improve the lives of children and adolescents who have experienced or are at high risk of CSEC, as well as supporting children and young people that have experienced conflict-related violence, including sexual violence.

ACJ has a youth centre which is a protective oasis for children and young people at risk of CSEC in the middle of Santa Fe (Bogotá). In this area, children and young people are surrounded by legal sex workers and high levels of gangs and drugs. ACJ provides recreational workshops for children and young people, as well as their families where they learn about their rights and how to protect themselves from CSEC.

ACJ also provides psychosocial support to survivors of CSE and works with young sex workers and their children, helping them to find alternative employment and offering academic ‘catch-up’ courses that enable them to gain primary and secondary school qualifications.

Please visit the Children Change Colombia website
and consider supporting the important work being done.

Direct download: RCC_457.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EST

This week on the Colombia Calling podcast, we delve a little deeper into the African influences in Colombia's music and culture. It's a fantastic conversation that goes well beyond the superficial and opens a whole new spectrum when we think of Colombian salsa and the music of Grupo Niche, the poetry of Candelario Obeso and the town of San Basilio de Palenque, amongst other things.

Luisa Marcela Ossa, Ph.D., is an associate professor of Spanish and area chair of the undergraduate Spanish program in the Department of Global Languages, Literatures, and Perspectives at La Salle University’s School of Arts and Sciences. Her research interests include Afro-Hispanic Literatures and Cultures, the Chinese presence in Latin America, and connections between racism and anti-Blackness in Latin America and the U.S.

Direct download: RCC_465.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EST

“Conflict was not only played out on the battlefield, but also in the symbolic field.”

Emily Hart and renowned Colombian political scientist María Emma Wills Obregón discuss collective memory, polarisation and conflict resolution - and how a country can weave itself back together after decades of war.

So is history always written by the victors? Who is writing Colombia’s collective memory? And why does it matter so much?

Direct download: RCC_455.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EST

Remember the German citizen deported from Colombia during the Paro Nacional? Well, this week we have the opportunity to hear Rebecca Sprößer's version of events that ocurred during the Paro Nacional protests in Cali in 2021.

Whilst accompanying members of the Primera Linea protestors in Cali, Sprößer recorded and detailed human rights abuses taking place, something which put her at odds with the authorities in that city.

We discuss the traumatic events that Sprößer witnessed in Cali, from the killing of her love in a café - shot by a sicario killer 12 times - and her deportation from Colombia back to Germany. Later, the new government of President Petro had the deportation orders overturned, citing them as contrived. Was this a case of xenophobia or was Sprößer rightly deported?

This is her opportunity to speak freely about the experiences and her support of Paz Total in Colombia.

Direct download: RCC_454.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EST

On our inaugural episode for 2023, the Colombia Calling podcast welcomes Bruce McLean of BNBColombia tours back on the show to explain why you should plan to come to Colombia this year.

Hear an upbeat and fresh episode with which to begin the year on a high point. Get some ideas of new destinations within Colombia and allow yourself to be transported by McLean's infectious enthusiasm for his adopted homeland.

Check out the website at:

Direct download: RCC_453.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EST