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Resistencia comunitaria y transformación de conflictos un análisis desde el conflicto político-armado de Colombia /

Bellaterra : Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona,
Publication Date
  • Violència
  • Design
  • Political Science


Armed confrontation in Colombia between the army, the paramilitaries and the guerrilla affects civilians whom, in the midst of combats, are suffering various consequences. Given that the conflict is irregular and ill-defined in its goals and strategies, civilians are caught in the midst of combats as an instrument for channelling the political objectives of armed groups. However, not all communities face up to the risk of armed conflict in the same way, and some travel within the Colombian territory or abroad while others face up to violent groups through acts of resistance that preserve them. These are resistance actions and projects fostering coexistence and peace. With an aim to understanding how these community peace processes work, research was designed with the general objective of marking community resistance as a strategy for transforming conflicts. Specific purposes were: (1) To identify community strategies which stand up to armed actions; (2) To describe factors which explain the existence and operation of community resistance processes, and; (3) To analyse the conditions in which these processes exist as peace projects in Colombia. The project was carried out by means of (a) interviews with leaders of the resistance processes and organisations accompanying these processes, and; (b) documentary revision of publications (printed and on-line) which are descriptive and explanatory of resistance processes in Colombia. Thirteen community resistance strategies were identified through which communities make a stand against dominance by armed groups: tax objection, non-participation at elections, territorial defence, no travelling, peace communities, conscientious objection, the search for kidnapped people, civic mobilisation, academic debates, civic actions by politicians in office, community development projects, denouncements and memory. Simultaneously, the creation and maintenance of resistance processes implies the combination of several of the following factors: the identification of one or various sources of conflict to be resisted; the development of specific resistance processes; the need for community reconciliation; the presence of indiscriminate violence given the lack of State presence; the existence of relations which are parasitic and violate IHL; the existence of social networks extending beyond the geographic and political sphere of the communities; the existence of opinion and action leaders in each community; collective participation, and; the development of identity politics which facilitates cohesion within communities. On the other hand, conditions for the feasibility of community resistance in Colombia are conditioned to: being able to act without the dominance or conditioning of weapons and armed groups; developing strong group cohesion and identification with the process underway; awareness of the risk that the process be criminalised by other civil sectors or by the State; identifying the source of violence to be resisted and the goals pursued, and; necessary support from national organisations (Ombudsman) or international organisations (PIB, UN). Community resistance processes in Colombia have helped communities to recover some control over life conditions altered by the armed conflict. These processes are transforming the dynamics of the conflict because communities are dealing with violence by learning the norms of IHL, organising their own productive and participatory processes and by strengthening identity traits which have significant political effects. It is of central importance that national and international organisations support these processes because they allow for a symbolic enrichment for actions of resistance and participation as a result of belonging to a heterogeneous network. By consolidating an identity politics, communities can be distinguished from armed actors and stand up to them through the processes they follow and propose. Thus, reference is made to black communities, peace communities, tax objectors, indigenous groups, and so on. It is often true that the identity category also describes a minority, which confirms the importance of resistance processes for transforming armed conflict. Resistance is defined as a peace strategy insofar as it allows for the restoration of conditions for the mobility of communities through the protection of their interests as well as non-violence as an effective strategy for breaching the spiral of violence, its mimetism and revenge. Key Words: Conflict, Colombia, Resistance, Peace, Community.

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