In DepthScience Funding

In Colombia, peace dividend for science proves elusive

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Science  08 Sep 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6355, pp. 958
DOI: 10.1126/science.357.6355.958

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  • The Peace Agreement in Colombia: An Extraordinary Opportunity to Boost Education, Sciences and the Humanities that the Government is Disregarding
    • Germán Poveda, Professor, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Medellin, Colombia.
    • Other Contributors:
      • Noam Chomsky, Institute Professor (retired), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.
      • Enrique Forero, President, Colombian Academy of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences and President, Council of Colombian Academies, Bogotá, Colombia
      • Moisés Wasserman, Former Rector, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá, Colombia

    We welcome your recent news story about the rejection of the Colombian scientific community to the proposed budget cut for scientific research, in the wake of the peace agreement. At the same time, we think necessary to put these events into a historical perspective, and to point out what is at stake for the future of the country.

    For 52 years Colombia endured an internal armed conflict between the national government and the leftist FARC, ELN and EPL guerrillas, with participation of extreme right wing paramilitary groups. The conflict left eight million victims. From 2012 to 2016 the Colombian government led by President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC (the largest and oldest armed rebel group) held talks in Havana, Cuba, and in spite of many difficulties, an agreement towards a Definitive and Bilateral Cease of Fire and Hostilities was signed in Bogotá on November 24th, 2016. The agreement finally brings hope for the conclusion of the longest and cruelest civil war in the western hemisphere. President Santos was awarded the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize for such an accomplishment. Currently, another agreement is being negotiated with ELN in Quito, Ecuador, and a temporary bi-lateral ceasefire was agreed upon on September 4th.

    The cost of the protracted warfare has been enormous for Colombia, not only in the toll of victims and human suffering, but also in the diversion and depletion of national economic resources. During the period 2006-2016, the nation’s annual av...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.