UF in Colombia Day 1: First impressions, Lotten Collin & Football

Hola a todos!

We’d like to start off this first post by introducing ourselves: we are this semester’s travel group consisting of 16 people lead by our phenomenal travel duo Valentina Torres Ahlqvist and Emmie Lindström Leister. The majority of us are studying political science or peace and development, but we also have some medical and engineering students to spice things up a little. On Saturday 5th of May we left Uppsala for a long flight journey to Bogotá, the capital of Colombia.

Our dreamy hostel in Bogotá.

On Sunday, after catching up on some sleep (read sleeping for about 11 hours) we were very excited to begin our first full day in Bogotá, especially since the first stop was a fika with Sveriges Radio’s Latin American correspondent Lotten Collin. We were all very starstruck about her inviting us over for delicious colombian coffee in her apartment and it was great to start off the trip by talking to someone who knows so much about Colombia and everything that is going on in the country.

Lotten told us about the ongoing implementation process of the peace agreement that was voted through in the congress in November 2016 and consists of a deal between the government and FARC (the former guerrilla movement that has now transformed into a political party). According to her, FARC has kept their part of the deal which means handing in their weapons and resettling in special areas of the country, known as ETCR. However, the government haven’t been able to provide everything that they promised in the peace agreement, such as decent housing for the former guerrilla members. In the parliamentary elections that were held in March, FARC did poorly and only received 0.33 % of the total votes, something that shows that the Colombian people might not be ready to let the former guerrilla onto the political stage.

We also talked a bit about the upcoming presidential elections that are held on the 27th of May. There are currently five candidates for the presidency and the one that is most likely to win is either the conservative Ivan Duque (Centro Democrático) or the leftist Gustavo Petro (Movimiento Colombia Humana). If no candidate reaches 50 % of the total votes on the 27th there’s going to be a second round on the 17th of June. Ivan Duque is an outspoken critic of the peace agreement and it’s hard to say what’s going to happen to the deal with FARC if he wins the election.

Meeting with Lotten Collin at her home office.

After the meeting with Lotten we decided to go to the neighborhood Usaquén which is located a bit further up north in Bogotá. There we wandered around for a bit, had some lunch (plus amazing ice cream at the popular Crepes & Waffles, can highly recommend the Coffee Toffee flavor!!) and then we went directly to the football stadium El Campín where there was a derby between the local Bogotá teams Millonarios and Santa Fe. It was a cool experience to watch the game with the sunset and mountains in the background, and the supporters of both teams were really dedicated and continued to sing and cheer through the whole game.

This day represented much of what I love about UF trips – to get to meet someone like Lotten Collin who has so much knowledge about everything that’s going on in Colombia, but also combining that with stuff like visiting different neighborhoods or going to a football game to get another perspective of the country and it’s citizens. All in all, an amazing first day in Bogotá!

/Anna Tybrandt