Colombia Calling - The English Voice in Colombia

October is almost upon us and with it comes Colombia's local and regional elections which should be a litmus test for President Ivan Duque's popularity and mandate. So, we at Colombia Calling reached out to Sergio Guzman of Colombia Risk Analysis ( to provide us with a breakdown of what to expect and what machinations are in the works.

Hear us discuss the political landscapes in the Pacific and southwest of Colombia in particular in the ports of Buenaventura and Tumaco, the strategic corridors and troubled areas of Cauca, the Caribbean coast and finally the all-consuming battle for the position of mayor of Bogotá.

Guzman breaks down Bogotá's elections and reviews each of the candidates including Carlos Galan, Claudia Lopez, Hollman Morris and Miguel Uribe Turbay plan on taking the coveted seat.

All in all, we do some justice in 40 short minutes to put together a summary of what is taking place politically in Colombia and what are the main issues at stake. Tune in to bring yourself up to speed and check out the new report Guzman has published as an overview to the whole process.

Direct download: RCC_292.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EDT

When we think of traditional medicines from the Amazon, our thoughts immediately turn to vines of Yage or Ayahuasca, and so, while we do discuss this vine with Colombian Anthropologist Hernando Echeverri, we also explore more of the varities which grow in the region of the Putumayo.

Speaking with the authority of Michael Taussig, Echeverri shares with us experiences about his period of investigating and studying traditional medicines, following ancient medicinal routes through the Putumayo and learning from shamans in the region.

Echeverri tells us about how the people of the city of Mocoa have been turning to traditional and ancient medicines to cope with the trauma of the aftermath of the disaster which befell the community in 2017 when a landslide killed more than three hundred people.

Tune in to a fascinating episode on amazonian medicines and practices.

Direct download: RCC_291.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EDT

On Ep290 of the Colombia Calling podcast it's a great honour to welcome Calgarian, Kaleigh Kuchinski on to the show to talk about her work with Agriteam Canada Consulting, an agency which enables communities in zones designated for extractive industries to reach a greater transparency and best practices.

To keep this simple, an explanation would be to reach an overarching goal of comprehensive transparency and accountability in the governance of natural resources, from the decision to extract to the granting of concessions, the collection of revenues and the management of resource revenues. And so, Kaleigh is working on this in the departments of Antioquia, Meta and Putumayo.

Hear about her passion for her work and for Colombia and indeed her desire to keep road cycling and training for triathlons which keep her here in her adopted homeland, far from home of Calgary, Canada.

Direct download: RCC_290.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30am EDT

Election fever is upon us in Colombia as all local positions are up for grabs across the country and the contest will come to a head in October. 

For those of you familiar with my work, you will know that I am fascinated by local elections here and the machinations taking place in the barrios, not just in Bogotá but all over the country. This week on the Colombia Calling podcast we have a great opportunity to hear all about local elections with a hopeful candidate running for the Alianza Verde party, Diego Laserna, giving us the inside track. 

Laserna is an activist for Bogotá and he clearly loves his city, his phrase, “Lo que es con Bogotá es Conmigo” is literally a challenge to anyone who wants to speak ill of the city or disrespect her. Educated at Columbia University in New York and MIT in Boston, Laserna is bringing his knowledge to his hometown. 

Tune in for an excellent episode about local politics in Bogota and the level-headed proposals from a young urbanist about water protection, criminality in the city and of course, transport. 

As Laserna (No26 on the votin card) likes to say, "Bogota Necesita Mas Nerdos," Or, "Bogotá Needs More Nerds."

Direct download: RCC_289.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:50am EDT