Getting to the Briceño region in the heart of Antioquia requires an excellent vehicle, and a lot of time and luck. The week before our journey there in mid-July, heavy rains wiped out part of the road between Briceño and Pueblo Nuevo, stranding folks on one side or the other. We were lucky on the day of our journey – no rain. But it took a six-hour drive to get from Medellín to Briceño, and another three hours of sometimes harrowing curves to Pueblo Nuevo. The dirt-road drive itself was a stark reminder of the challenges Colombia faces as it seeks to eliminate 50,000 hectares of coca this year through the crop substitution program, Programa Nacional Integral de Sustitución de Cultivos de Uso Ilícito (National Comprehensive Program for the Substitution of Illicit Crops), known by the acronym PNIS.
This summer, Women Peacemakers Program staff interviewed Ben Hayes, a researcher on topics such as security policy, counterterrorism, border control and surveillance, about his current work. Ben Hayes has been one of the first to research and write extensively on how countering terrorism financing (CTF) policies have been affecting the right to freedom of association and financial access for nonprofits, and the role of intergovernmental institutions such as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in these phenomena. In this interview, he talks about how this topic first came to his attention, current trends in trying to craft solutions for the obstacles faced by nonprofits, as well as his take on what it will take to move forward.