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Citizens' Media against Armed ConflictDisrupting Violence in Colombia$
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Clemencia Rodríguez

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780816665839

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816665839.001.0001

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Nation Building, One Voice at A Time

Nation Building, One Voice at A Time

Citizens’ Communication in Montes de María

(p.85) 2 Nation Building, One Voice at A Time
Citizens' Media against Armed Conflict

Clemencia Rodríguez

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter focuses on the northern Colombian Caribbean where, at the end of the 1990s, the region known as Montes de María had some of the worst levels of social and political violence in the country. It recounts the arrival of left-wing guerrilla organizations and right-wing paramilitary militias in this rich agricultural area surrounded by wealthy cattle estates. The presence of armed groups imposed a culture of fear, isolation, and distrust in the agricultural areas and urban centers of Montes de María. Thousands of farming families were displaced from their land by force, fleeing in terror from the crossfire of army, guerrilla, and paramilitaries. The chapter analyzes how, in this context where war has saturated much of the social fabric and social relations, a local media initiative known as the Communications Collective of Montes de María constitutes a parallel cultural milieu. In order to serve as an alternative to a cultural environment that sanctions sectarian sensibilities, intolerance of difference, and the use of force, the Communications Collective operates a media school, allowing students to learn radio, television, and video production, and more importantly, a different ethos of peace.

Keywords:   Montes de María, Colombian Caribbean, armed violence, guerillas, paramilitary militias, Communications Collective of Montes de María, media school

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