Conflict, Environment and Transition: Colombia, Ecology and Tourism after Demobilisation
In 2016, Colombia’s left-wing guerrilla FARC-EP (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia—Ejército del Pueblo) began demobilisation. While demobilisation and the ensuing peace accords brought renewed hope that the country could imagine different political and social relations—and new ecological and economic conditions—multinational corporations filled the ‘void’ left by FARC-EP forces. Corporate interests in Colombia’s natural resources predated the demobilisation. However, extractive processes were restricted by the dynamics of the armed conflict. In 2016, immediately following the demobilisation, deforestation in Colombia jumped 44 per cent. In the transitional demobilisation period, huge swaths of the country were opened for economic development. Thus, while the environment is often a victim in armed conflict, in Colombia, conflict contributed to the preservation of some areas. Among the forms of development that have emerged in Colombia, ‘ecotourism’ has risen quickly to the fore. While ecotourism may offer some promise, it should be viewed with caution.
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