Interviewed by Natasha Bradford and Chiara Fabbri, MA Journalism Falmouth University
Despite a historic peace agreement in 2016, violence is on the rise in Colombia. Peace activists travelled to the worst affected area to take on the threat and journalists went to document their attempt.
Alejandro Bernal and Ramon Campos filmed Colombia’s Peace Community group as they travelled to Uraba, a territory marked by violent crime and paramilitary conflict, close to Colombia’s border with Panama. ‘In Enemy Territory’, made for Al Jazeera, has won the two journalists places as finalists in the 2020 Rory Peck News Features Award category.
Over three days, Bernal and Campos followed German Graciano and his Peace Community activists through the Uraba mountains to a meeting with other peace groups. The film records the resilience of the local farmers turned peace activists, as they try and push back the forces threatening the stability and security of their way of life.
It’s a perilous undertaking – paramilitaries and organised criminals have murdered community leaders for taking a stand against their control. The film conveys how the threat of violence creates a prevailing tension, destroying the peace and tranquility of farming life in Uraba. “As Colombians, we have to defend the peace agreement,” said Alejandro,” Without the agreement, we would go back 30 years…back to war.”
The journalists had security concerns too – along the route the group was tracked by elusive paramilitaries hiding in the mountains. In the end, the big group of peace activists protected the journalists, while international media exposure guaranteed safe passage for the farmers. Alejandro said he hoped the film would foster wider support for peace in Colombia.
“It is a responsibility for my generation to defend the peace agreement, and this film is part of that.”