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CrisisWatch Database

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Colombia

  |  1 Jul 2016

Improved

Govt and FARC 23 June signed agreement on “end of conflict” and referendum mechanism for population’s approval of final deal, constituting final step of peace process. Agreement spells out functioning of ceasefire and cessation of hostilities; process for arms abandonment; security guarantees and preparation of “reincorporation” for FARC guerrillas; 23 cantonment sites and eight smaller sites where FARC will assemble forces; and adoption of Constitutional Court’s ruling on mechanism for referendum on final peace deal. Outstanding issues include agreement on FARC “reincorporation” to civilian life and transformation into a political movement, and monitoring and implementation mechanisms for all commitments. Kidnappings by National Liberation Army (ELN) persisted amid continued disagreement with govt over issue, stalling opening of formal talks. Úsuga Clan, or Gulf Cartel, country’s largest criminal group, suffered series of setbacks with two commanders killed 7 and 11 June in military operations.

Colombia

  |  1 Jun 2016

Unchanged
President Santos 11 May said govt hoped to reach peace deal with FARC in “very near future”, as difficult issues including arms abandonment continue to delay signing . Govt and FARC 13 May agreed on legal mechanisms to protect future peace deal; govt stated that if plebiscite vote favours peace deal, it will be defined as a special international agreement according to Geneva conventions and be temporarily included as part of constitution. Govt and FARC 15 May announced agreement for rebels to release all fighters aged fifteen years and younger from camps. Issue of kidnapping still stalling start of formal negotiations with ELN as govt stated it will not negotiate as long as group continues to kidnap and/or retain hostages; ELN said it rejected any such preconditions. ELN 28 May released three journalists, one Spanish and two Colombians, kidnapped 21 and 23 May respectively. Govt 6 May authorised use of military force against neo-paramilitary groups created or strengthened after 2003-2006 paramilitary demobilisation, creating new category of “organised armed group” comprising Úsuga Clan, Pelusos and Puntilleros.

Colombia

  |  2 May 2016

Unchanged

FARC and govt negotiating teams 14 April indicated progress has been made on issue of “abandoning arms”. Following failure to meet self-imposed 23 March deadline for signing final peace deal, FARC 10 April stated agreement could be signed in next round of talks, but govt 19 April said it would be “some months”. National Liberation Army (ELN) mid-April reported peace talks with govt will begin in May and first round will be held in Ecuador, following 30 March joint govt/ELN announcement of opening of formal peace talks. Neoparamilitary group Clan Úsuga/Urabeños 31 March-1 April carried out “armed stoppage” in north west, prohibiting all transportation and forcing all businesses to close under threat of violence; during the stoppage the Urabeños killed four, attacked military and towns, burned vehicles, blocked roads and carried out propaganda-focused actions, affecting at least 36 municipalities. Govt 11 April said Urabeños is purely criminal, rejected any possibility of negotiations with group.

Colombia

  |  1 Apr 2016

Improved Resolution Opportunity

Govt and National Liberation Army (ELN) 30 March announced opening of formal peace talks; six agenda points will be discussed in negotiating tables with “sessions” in five countries: Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador and Venezuela. ELN 20 and 23 March released two hostages, one allegedly after payment of ransom. ELN had continued to carry out violent attacks during month, mostly in NE, with some nine armed forces members killed and two kidnapped; seven guerrillas reportedly killed 14 March in western department Chocó as govt continued retaliatory military operations. Govt and FARC failed to meet self-imposed 23 March deadline to sign a final accord or a bilateral ceasefire as differences emerged between negotiators over document drafted by technical sub-committee, specifically concerning arms abandonment. Social organisations 14 March expressed concern over killing of 29 members of political left across country early-March; victims reportedly include community leaders, land claimants and members of peasant movements. President of left-wing Patriotic Union (UP) party Aída Avella tied killings to potential spoilers of FARC peace process, others, such as analyst Ariel Avila, alleged killings carried out by new paramilitary groups.

Colombia

  |  1 Mar 2016

Resolution Opportunity Unchanged

National Liberation Army (ELN) 14-17 Feb carried out some 35 attacks, prompting increased attacks by armed forces. President Santos 8 Feb stated ELN can either support peace or face intensified military response. Govt 18 Feb suspended further visits to Colombia by FARC negotiators, stating they violated terms of travel to country from talks in Cuba including ban on contact with civilians, after FARC negotiators met with local community in town of Conejo, reportedly to provide updates on progress of peace talks. FARC 10 Feb said it would no longer recruit children. U.S. President Obama 4 Feb announced new 2017 “Peace Colombia” aid package to support country while it seeks to consolidate peace with FARC. Negotiators in Havana scheduled to resume talks 2 March to address pending issues on termination of conflict, ahead of 23 March deadline for final agreement. Police 29 Feb arrested former President Uribe’s son Santiago in Medellín on charges of murder and conspiracy; accused of setting up “Twelve Apostles” paramilitary group in 1990s, Santiago denied any involvement with group.

Colombia

  |  1 Feb 2016

Unchanged

Peace talks between govt and FARC resumed 12 Jan; parties 22 Jan agreed on creation of “executive commission” to make decisions over final drafting of pending agreements in attempt to speed up last stage of negotiations. FARC 13 Jan publicly expressed doubt over possibility of meeting 23 March deadline for final agreement. Govt and FARC 19 Jan issued joint statement on creation of three-party mechanism for verification of disarmament and bilateral ceasefire; would include govt, FARC and UN political mission made up of observers from Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) member states. UNSC 26 Jan unanimously accepted govt and FARC formal request for creation of political mission; mission would be unarmed and have one-year mandate. ELN violence continued despite late-Dec statement by top ELN commander Nicolas Bautista, alias Gabino, that peace agenda with govt had been finalised: clashes with security forces reported 10 Jan in Catatumbo, two soldiers killed.

Colombia

  |  4 Jan 2016

Unchanged

Progress continued in govt-FARC peace talks: agreement on “victims” announced 15 Dec outlining several victim-centred mechanisms tasked with “finding truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-repetition in context of conflict”. Agreement confirms those responsible for most serious crimes would be prosecuted under special jurisdiction; amnesty law to be passed for political and other connected crimes. Truth commission, special mechanism to search for disappeared and set of undetermined reparations measures will complement transitional justice institutions. Human Rights Watch 22 Dec issued statement strongly criticising agreement. Further negotiations will address two outstanding issues: end of conflict measures (DDR), and verification, implementation and ratification of peace agreement. President Santos 16 Dec pushed back bilateral ceasefire date, originally planned to begin same day, after “end of conflict” agenda points not resolved. Govt negotiator Jorge Enrique Mora 1 Dec rejected FARC proposal for special areas “Terrepaz” where insurgents can formally give up their arms. Choice of mechanism to confirm peace agreement remains contentious: Congress 14 Dec approved govt-supported bill for plebiscite on ratification of peace, as FARC reiterated need for constituent assembly. National Liberation Army (ELN) top commander Antonio García 9 Dec signalled willingness to fully commit to peace during interview amid ongoing exploratory ELN talks with govt; Ombudsman’s office 7 Dec warned of increased ELN violence in Pacific region.

Colombia

  |  4 Jan 2016

Unchanged

Progress continued in govt-FARC peace talks: agreement on “victims” announced 15 Dec outlining several victim-centred mechanisms tasked with “finding truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-repetition in context of conflict”. Agreement confirms those responsible for most serious crimes would be prosecuted under special jurisdiction; amnesty law to be passed for political and other connected crimes. Truth commission, special mechanism to search for disappeared and set of undetermined reparations measures will complement transitional justice institutions. Human Rights Watch 22 Dec issued statement strongly criticising agreement. Further negotiations will address two outstanding issues: end of conflict measures (DDR), and verification, implementation and ratification of peace agreement. President Santos 16 Dec pushed back bilateral ceasefire date, originally planned to begin same day, after “end of conflict” agenda points not resolved. Govt negotiator Jorge Enrique Mora 1 Dec rejected FARC proposal for special areas “Terrepaz” where insurgents can formally give up their arms. Choice of mechanism to confirm peace agreement remains contentious: Congress 14 Dec approved govt-supported bill for plebiscite on ratification of peace, as FARC reiterated need for constituent assembly. National Liberation Army (ELN) top commander Antonio García 9 Dec signalled willingness to fully commit to peace during interview amid ongoing exploratory ELN talks with govt; Ombudsman’s office 7 Dec warned of increased ELN violence in Pacific region.

Colombia

  |  1 Dec 2015

Unchanged

Following landmark agreements on transitional justice and bilateral efforts to find disappeared victims of conflict, govt 22 Nov approved legal pardons for 30 FARC guerrillas as part of “measures of confidence”; also offered to study 106 additional cases of FARC members with health problems to provide care. FARC 25 Nov agreed to proposal for uninterrupted negotiations under lockdown in order to accelerate speed of peace process. FARC negotiators 10 Nov expressed commitment to bilateral ceasefire, promised to stop recruiting fighters and purchase of arms. President Santos 18 Nov received support from UNSC permanent members for UN monitoring and verification mission for ceasefire. 11 Nov poll showed improved public perception of peace process, with 69% supporting negotiations, up from 60% in Aug, and 53% optimistic about success, up from 39%. Congress 18 Nov approved govt initiative to hold plebiscite on final text of peace agreement; FARC 10 Nov noted preference for referendum, which requires points of eventual agreement to be approved individually. Senate legislators 3 Nov rejected law guaranteeing FARC’s political participation post-conflict; FARC negotiators expressed discomfort despite Santos’ assurances to “revive” law. Inspector General Alejandro Ordonez expressed support for proposed review of pardons and amnesties granted to M-19 guerrilla fighters involved in 1985 Palace of Justice siege, raising uncertainty about long-term validity of any agreement negotiated in Havana. Former Presidents Andres Pastrana and Alvaro Uribe publicly accused FARC of maintaining links to transnational crime organisations and drug trade, citing 4 Nov report by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Armed forces 2 Nov carried out first-ever bombing raid against New Illegal Armed Group (NIAG), killing twelve members of Los Urabeños (aka Clan Usuga) in Choco province.

Colombia

  |  2 Nov 2015

Unchanged
Govt-FARC peace talks progressed further, as parties 18 Oct struck deal to address plight of tens of thousands of victims of enforced disappearances: parties committed to immediately implementing humanitarian measures for search, location and dignified handover of disappeared; deal calls for establishment of high level search unit once final peace agreement has been signed. Deal followed “mini-crisis” in Havana triggered by differing interpretations over last month’s transitional justice agreement; parties 9 Oct agreed to recall group of lawyers who drafted initial agreement to iron out differences. Former President Andrés Pastrana 15 Oct resigned from high-level peace advisory commission established March 2015 by President Santos over disagreement with transitional justice agreement. FARC 6 Oct began publishing its “minimal proposals” for “end of the conflict” agenda point. Santos 29 Oct announced he will “immediately” ask UN for mandate to deploy mission-supported verification of bilateral ceasefire to enter into force possibly as soon as Dec. High level business representatives 19 October met Santos to express both support and concerns over peace process. Eastern Warfront of the National Liberation Army (ELN) 27 Oct acknowledged responsibility for 26 Oct attack in Güicán (Boyacá) that killed at least twelve members of security forces; announced intention to liberate two captured soldiers “in the next days”. Santos ordered intensified military offensive against ELN, casting doubt over hopes formal peace talks would be announced soon. Attorney general 6 Oct called on Supreme Court to initiate proceedings against former President Álvaro Uribe for alleged involvement in 1997 El Aro massacre. Special forces 1 Oct killed leader of dissident faction of Popular Liberation Army (EPL) “Megateo”. Attorney general 20 October confirmed identification of three women disappeared during the 1985 Palace of Justice siege. Local elections held 25 Oct; Santos noted elections day had been “most peaceful and less violent in decades”.

 

Colombia

  |  1 Oct 2015

Improved Resolution Opportunity

Govt and FARC 23 Sept reached breakthrough agreement on transitional justice, establishing special “Jurisdiction for Peace” to try those deemed responsible for most serious and representative crimes committed during conflict. President Santos and FARC leader Timochenko same day agreed final peace agreement will be signed within six months. 41st round of FARC-govt negotiations ended 17 Sept with progress on “end of the conflict” issues, including first visit to Havana of UNSG and UNASUR representatives to discuss options for monitoring and verifying future bilateral ceasefire and disarmament. FARC lead negotiator Iván Márquez 17 Sept said guerrillas ready to start discussing transition to legal political movement. Interior Minister Juan Fernando Cristo 15 Sept sent to Congress constitutional reform project for implementation of future peace agreement; creates Legislative Commission for Peace proportionally drawn from current Congress to accelerate formulation of necessary laws and constitutional reforms, and gives president temporary decree powers to implement final accords. Critics include former President Uribe and FARC, which warned unilateral attempts to design implementation mechanism could jeopardise peace. Chief Commander of National Liberation Army (ELN) Gabino 9 Sept said exploratory talks with govt nearly complete amid continuing ELN violence; including early-Sept forced displacement of over 200 members of indigenous Embera communities in Carmen de Atrato, Chocó. President Santos 22 Sept launched new counter-drug strategy, emphasising voluntary coca crop substitution and social investment. Army commander General Alberto José Mejía 25 Sept announced complete revision of military doctrine. Tensions with Venezuela over border closure continued (see Colombia/Venezuela).

 

Colombia

  |  1 Sep 2015

Unchanged

40th round of FARC-govt negotiations ended 30 Aug amid optimism. Sub-Commission on gender 24-25 Aug received representatives from ten women’s organisations; joint humanitarian demining pilot in Briceño, Antioquia department resumed 31 Aug. FARC 20 Aug extended month-long unilateral ceasefire indefinitely. 39th round had ended 2 Aug with seventeen new FARC members switching with counterparts to join talks, including several commanders of regional fronts. New legal advisory teams named by both parties joined talks to support discussions on transitional justice. UNSG Ban 13 Aug appointed former head of UN mission in Guatemala Jean Arnault as his delegate to Sub-Commission on End of Conflict Issues. President Santos 12 Aug suggested creation of “mini-congress” consisting of lawmakers from both chambers and FARC members to implement future peace accords; guerrillas 26 Aug rejected proposal as “unilateral”. FARC 24 Aug admitted its Daniel Aldana mobile column responsible for 3 Aug murder of Afro Colombian leader in Tumaco (Nariño). ELN commander Gabino 24 Aug confirmed progress in exploratory talks with govt but said no date has been set for start of formal negotiations. Press rumours 16 Aug suggested security forces had killed Megateo, regional leader of dissident faction of Popular Liberation Army (EPL). “We are Defenders” right group released report 19 Aug showing 105% increase in violence against human rights defenders in first semester of 2015 compared to same period last year. Tensions with Venezuela spiked amid serious border crisis (see Colombia/Venezuela).

Colombia

  |  3 Aug 2015

Improved

Peace process re-emerged from deepest crisis yet with new temporary, unilateral FARC ceasefire starting 20 July; govt responded 25 July suspending bombardments on guerrilla camps. Came after 12 July joint announcement to accelerate confidence building measures and speed up talks by shifting work to parallel working groups; also agreed to invite representatives from UNSG and UNASUR presidency to join technical discussions on bilateral ceasefire and FARC disarmament. Compliance with commitments to be reviewed after four months, when President Santos will decide if talks continue. In another positive step, FARC 19 July released army lieutenant Cristian Moscoso, held since 7 July. Joint humanitarian demining program temporarily suspended following 15 July accident killing military deminer. Santos 6 July announced new military commanders: Alberto Mejía (army), Carlos Bueno (air force) and Leonardo Santamaría (navy). Talks with ELN continue to move slowly: Commander Gabino’s 4 July message stating group ready to negotiate disarmament failed to generate positive public dynamic amid accusations ELN was behind two small bomb attacks 2 July in Bogotá; in reaction, authorities detained thirteen social leaders alleged to be members of ELN urban cell, triggering accusations of criminalising social movements. UNODC 2 July reported 44% increase in coca cultivation in 2014, and 52% hike in potential cocaine production. Attorney general’s office 27 July began exhumation work at Medellín rubbish dump thought to be one the world’s largest mass graves. Former paramilitary leader El Alemán released 30 July after completing maximum eight year prison term stipulated under 2005 Justice and Peace law.

Colombia

  |  1 Jul 2015

Unchanged

Govt and FARC negotiators 4 June reached first partial agreement on transitional justice, defines “Commission for the clarification of truth, co-existence and non-repetition” as independent, impartial and extrajudicial mechanism; negotiations to continue 3 July amid growing expectations that a separate agreement on reparations could be announced soon. Increase in violence that followed 22 May collapse of FARC’s unilateral ceasefire continued, representing worst escalation in years; clashes and spike in guerrilla attacks on oil and energy infrastructure caused significant environmental damage and large humanitarian impact, including mass displacements, power cuts and mobility restrictions; South and SW regions most affected. Killing of two police in Nariño 12 June sparked outrage. Security forces reportedly “neutralised” 278 guerrilla members between 21 May and 17 June. Post-conflict Minister Óscar Naranjo reportedly stepped down 17 June over frustrations with job. New Defence Minister Luis Carlos Villegas took office 22 June, swapping positions with Juan Carlos Pinzón who will take over as ambassador to U.S. Army 14 June confirmed death of Marcos, highest ranking ELN leader killed in combat in recent years. Peace commissioner Sergio Jaramillo 11 June repeated govt remains open to talks with ELN if guerrillas accept disarming after agreement is reached. ELN 29 June took responsibility for 22 June attack on Black Hawk helicopter in Teorama (Norte de Santander) which killed at least four soldiers. Attorney general 23 June summoned four retired generals, including a former army commander, to respond to allegations of involvement in extrajudicial executions.

Colombia

  |  1 Jun 2015

Deteriorated

37th round of negotiations between govt and FARC continued amid most serious crisis yet triggered by 22 May suspension of FARC’s five-month-old unilateral ceasefire. Suspension followed 21 May govt air raid in Guapi (Cauca) that left at least 26 guerrillas dead, including one former member of FARC’s negotiating team; attack also displaced some 400 inhabitants. Violence accelerated with military operations in Antioquia and Chocó; leader of 18th FARC front killed in latter. FARC bombing 24 May in Tumaco (Nariño) left one police officer dead, two wounded. Guarantor countries Cuba and Norway 27 May called on parties to continue negotiations on remaining agenda items, including definitive bilateral ceasefire. Delegations informed 29 May about progress in implementing joint humanitarian demining pilot in Briceño (Antioquia). Earlier, in sign of continued commitment to peace process, President Santos 20 May named FM María Ángela Holguin and well-connected businessman Gonzalo Restrepo to negotiating team. Long-expected position swap between Defence Minister Juan Carlos Pinzón and Colombian ambassador to U.S. Juan Carlos Villegas officially announced 19 May. Govt peace commissioner Sergio Jaramillo 13 May confirmed Santos consulted U.S. about Simón Trinidad, high ranking FARC leader serving 60-year sentence in U.S., joining talks. Santos 11 May confirmed he authorised late-April meeting in Havana between ELN leader Gabino and FARC leader Timochenko. ELN Central Command 17 May rejected responsibility for landmine incident in Convención (Norte de Santander), offered localised ELN ceasefire to facilitate enquiry. National Drug Council 14 May endorsed Health Ministry recommendation to suspend controversial aerial coca spraying program.

Colombia

  |  30 Apr 2015

Deteriorated

36th round of Govt-FARC negotiations began 28 April amid high political tensions following 14 April FARC ambush in Buenes Aires, Cauca region, which killed eleven soldiers and wounded twenty; two FARC members also killed. President Santos 15 April declared attack violation of group’s Dec 2014 unilateral ceasefire, announced resumption of airstrikes days after renewal of March decision to temporarily suspend bombings. FARC 16 April said incident was “legitimate reaction” to continued counter-insurgent operation. Attack had no discernible immediate impact on ongoing negotiations: 35th cycle concluded as planned 20 April, with FARC reporting significant progress on detailed protocol for implementation of early-March joint humanitarian demining initiative. However attack raised risks of new military escalation and triggered political backlash. In 17 April speech, Santos suggested being open to calls to impose deadline on peace process, widely perceived to be stalling. FARC 20 April weakened conditions for abstaining from violence, from not being attacked, to not being “permanently harassed” by military, tried to argue “offensive actions” can be part of its “legitimate defence”. Santos administration 14 April substantially modified its proposal on controversial military justice reform to appease criticism from human rights groups who argued original proposal could lead to impunity for serious international crimes. Interior Minister Cristo 21 April denied plans to seek referendum on peace process in Oct local elections. ELN leader Gabino 24 April said during interview 80% of future negotiation agenda has been agreed on, but doubts about swift opening of formal negotiations persist. Health minister 27 April recommended suspending controversial aerial spraying of coca crops; fumigations continue, pending final presidential decision.

Colombia

  |  1 Apr 2015

Improved

33rd round of talks between govt and FARC ended 7 March with agreement on joint humanitarian demining scheme; implementation initially to focus on Meta and Antioquia. President Santos 10 March ordered 30-day suspension of bombardments on guerrilla camps; move helped bolster FARC’s unilateral ceasefire amid ongoing counter-insurgency operations, including 9 March killing of José David Suárez alias Becerro, leader of 57th Front. Five high-ranking members of armed forces 5 March joined “technical sub-commission” tasked with preparing bilateral ceasefire, FARC disarmament. 34th cycle of govt-FARC negotiations ended 27 March with discussion focused on transitional justice. In nod to FARC, Santos 6 March denied extradition to U.S. of paramilitary leader Julián Bolívar, citing his collaboration with truth telling, reconciliation, justice; also suspended extradition of Manuel Pérez Martínez alias El Cura, brother of FARC negotiating team member Fabían Ramírez. In response to recent spate of attacks, Santos 10 March announced intensified operations against ELN; group blamed, inter alia, for 12 March bomb attack on police in Bogotá that left seven wounded. ELN 16 March accused govt of violating confidentiality rules governing ongoing exploratory talks; in positive gesture, liberated four kidnapped geologists 10 March. Two leading figures from Conservative Party, Andrés Pastrana and Marta Lucía Ramírez, accepted Santos’ invitation to join newly created Peace Advisory Commission early March. Constitutional Court president Jorge Pretelt 4 March temporarily vacated position amid growing scandal involving allegations he had requested money in return for influencing court decision; also alleged to own land that is part of restitution claim by victims of paramilitary displacement. Santos 24 March proposed wide-ranging judicial reform in light of scandal.

Colombia

  |  2 Mar 2015

Unchanged

33rd cycle of govt-FARC negotiations began 25 Feb. Previous round of talks saw first meeting of joint “technical sub-commission” on “the end of the conflict” 4 Feb. Negotiators 10 Feb received delayed final report of Historical Commission on the Conflicts and its Victims: no consensus on origins or causes of conflict, but FARC praised 800-page report for ending “official distortion” of history. FARC 12 Feb announced minimum recruitment age raised from fifteen to seventeen, 16 Feb said thirteen current under-fifteen members would be released soon. Former president Gaviria 16 Feb suggested transitional justice model covering FARC members, state forces and “non-combatant sectors” including politicians and businessmen. Proposal received broad political support, but also triggered concerns over impunity for serious crimes. President Santos 19 Feb said some 13,000 judicial processes underway could be covered by transitional justice scheme. U.S. 20 Feb announced appointment of Bernard Aronson, former U.S. Asst Sec State for Inter-American Affairs, as special envoy to talks. Prospects for new talks with ELN suffered setback with 24 Feb confirmation of kidnapping of four employees of geology contracting firm. ELN 11 Feb released Dutch kidnapping victim, 1 March released mayor of Alto Baudó, who they had kidnapped over corruption allegations. Supreme Court 27 Feb convicted former head of secret police DAS, María del Pilar Hurtado, for her role in illegal wiretapping operations during Uribe govt. Clashes during protests in Cauca dept left 44 indigenous and twelve police injured to date.

Colombia

  |  2 Feb 2015

Unchanged

As FARC continued to maintain unilateral ceasefire, in force since 20 Dec, intensity of conflict has dropped significantly, though opposition alleges FARC continues extortion in stronghold regions. Despite apparent (but not officially acknowledged) reduction of counter-insurgency operations, FARC repeatedly claimed ongoing military attacks threaten ceasefire. President Santos 5 Jan called for ending “disconnection” between Havana talks and violent dynamics in Colombia; 14 Jan ordered negotiators to start discussions on bilateral ceasefire as soon as possible. Parties in Havana 18 Jan agreed next negotiation cycle, due to begin 2 Feb, to focus on mandate and methodology of joint technical sub-commission assigned with proposing ways of ending conflict. Efforts to open parallel peace talks with ELN progressing slowly. ELN 7 Jan reaffirmed willingness to engage in new negotiations and announced that guerrillas would consider disarming in case of successful talks; also made public nomination of group’s possibly most powerful figure Pablo to Central Command (Coce). Coce member Antonio García 16 Jan said parties remain divided over details, but had reached broad agreement on six point agenda. Santos caused stir 26 Jan when not “ruling out” that demobilised FARC members could join a future rural police force; right-wing opposition strongly rejects this option.

Colombia

  |  5 Jan 2015

Improved

FARC 17 Dec declared unilateral ceasefire entering into force 20 Dec, to be indefinite unless military attacks guerrilla forces; requested national and international monitors to verify ceasefire, including ICRC, UNASUR, Community of Latin American States and civil society umbrella group Broad Front for Peace. Govt welcomed ceasefire but rejected third party verification, said security forces would continue operations; FARC 31 Dec warned that “provocative movements” of state troops could jeopardise ceasefire. Hours before truce entered into force FARC killed five soldiers and captured one in ambush in Cauca department; kidnapped soldier unilaterally released 26 Dec in another “step in the right direction”, according to President Santos. Following temporary suspension triggered by kidnapping of General Alzate, talks in Havana between govt and FARC reinitiated 10 Dec with short-term aim of de-escalating conflict and establishing permanent mechanism to solve future crises. Fifth and last group of conflict victims 16 Dec gave inputs on transitional justice; round ended with commitment to victims’ rights. FARC 18 Dec recognised responsibility for emblematic Bojayá massacre in 2002 and promised reparations. FARC 28 Dec confirmed that Secretariat member and Southern Block commander Joaquín Gómez had joined negotiating team. Santos early Dec called for flexibility to accommodate drug trafficking in connection to political crimes; opposed by Inspector General and opposition. Peace talks with ELN appear remote after ELN commanders 2 Dec referred to continuing “deep differences” with govt, but expectations building again following 29 Dec ELN statement promising “special announcement” for 7 Jan.

Colombia

  |  1 Dec 2014

Deteriorated

FARC 30 Nov liberated army General Alzate, army lawyer and corporal, whose kidnapping had prompted President Santos to suspend peace talks 16 Nov; despite release of the three, impact of temporary suspension of talks on peace process uncertain. FARC 25 Nov also released two soldiers, captured in Arauca 9 Nov. FARC considered captured military personnel prisoners of war, govt insisted they were victims of kidnapping. FARC’s commander in chief “Timochenko” 24 Nov slammed suspension for “destroying confidence” in peace process. Tensions high after FARC 5 Nov killed two guards of indigenous Nasa community in Cauca; indigenous court 9 Nov sentenced five FARC members to up to 60 years’ imprisonment. Trial criticised by UN; FARC stated regret for guards’ deaths but regard trial as biased. FARC 30 Oct admitted their actions have adversely affected civilian population, but saying they did not target civilians or commit war crimes. Transport paralysed in Chocó after ELN 25 Nov initiated “armed strike” in region.

Colombia

  |  1 Nov 2014

Unchanged

Further negotiations on transitional justice and preliminaries on bilateral ceasefire opened 24 Oct; FARC 26 Oct proposed creation of “national census of victims” of armed conflict. Prior, FARC had reshuffled its delegation; newcomers include secretariat members Pastor Alape and Carlos Antonio Lozada. ELN 21 Oct released kidnapped local politician from Norte de Santander with message to govt to expedite talks after ELN commander Pablito 15 Oct said exploratory talks made little progress. ELN’s Central Command 20 Oct suggested negotiations would be held separately from FARC-govt talks. Ex-high commissioner for peace Frank Pearl withdrawn from Havana to focus on bringing ELN into process. Tensions between President Santos and ex-President Uribe continued: Uribe accused of hypocrisy over opposition to current negotiations after journalist 4 Oct published article documenting Uribe administration’s attempts to establish negotiations with FARC and ELN. Inspector General Ordóñez 23 Oct called for broad dialogue on peace process between govt, FARC and Uribe’s supporters. Santos agreed with Ordóñez’s three minimum conditions for viable peace: that FARC dissolves as criminal organisation after signing peace treaty, accepts its responsibility for numerous crimes, it attends to rights of victims. National Peace Council 8 Oct held first session since disbanded in 2002, composed of representatives from civil society organisations, indigenous peoples, Catholic Church, govt.

Colombia

  |  1 Oct 2014

Unchanged

29th round of govt-FARC negotiations began 23 Sept; parties 24 Sept published full texts of 3 outline agreements reached thus far in “measure of transparency”. Previous cycle ended 10 Sept; FARC 9 Sept presented proposals on transitional justice. FARC 2 Sept announced creation of “Guerrilla Normalisation Command” to “study the army’s return to its constitutional role” following late Aug govt creation of “Transition Command” to oversee the guerrilla’s disarmament. FARC 20 Sept assumed responsibility for 16 Sept attack on police convoy in Córdoba which left 7 police dead, rejected allegations attack carried out in alliance with Urabeños armed group. Senator Clara Rojas, kidnapped by FARC in 2002 for 6 years, 8 Sept resigned seat in Congressional peace commission in protest at statement appearing on FARC website questioning whether she should be considered a FARC victim. Some 120 Colombian and transnational companies 8 Sept launched large reconciliation campaign “Soy CaPAZ”, first major public statement in favour of peace process from private sector. Left-wing senator Iván Cepeda 17 Sept accused former president Uribe of collusion with paramilitaries and drug traffickers; accusation caused major political upheaval, string of counter accusations and law suits. Govt’s chief negotiator 27 Sept said his communications had been wiretapped illegally. Paramilitary groups Aguilas Negras and Los Rastrojos throughout month issued “hit list” threatening over 150 political leaders, activists and journalists.

Colombia

  |  1 Sep 2014

Unchanged

President Santos sworn in for 2nd term 7 Aug; promised successful conclusion of peace negotiations in near future but also warned FARC his patience with continued attacks on civilian infrastructure not “indefinite”. 27th cycle of Cuba-based govt-FARC peace negotiations ended 22 Aug with significant progress in transitional justice discussions. Joint statement called first of five meetings between conflict victims and negotiators 16 Aug “watershed moment”; success helped to reduce tensions over composition of victims’ delegation. Clarification Commission on the Conflict and its Victims 21 Aug began working on academic report examining causes and effects of conflict. Sub-commission of military and civilian experts travelled to Havana 22 Aug to start consultations on the “End of the Conflict”, last substantive agenda item. Commission member Gen Javier Flórez 25 Aug resigned from Joint Chiefs of Staff to work full time on peace process. Constitutional Court 6 Aug upheld for second time Legal Framework for Peace, main legal base for current talks. “We are Defenders” activist group 18 Aug reported decrease in murders of human rights activists in first quarter of 2014 to 30 killed, but increase in number of attacks. President Santos 25 Aug called for investigations into “criminal ring” after detained presidential campaign advisor for opposition claimed in 23 Aug interview he received orders to spy, inter alia, on politicians and peace talks. Prosecutor 28 Aug announced 32 local politicians arrested for alleged ties to right-wing paramilitary groups. Authorities 26 Aug released “Popeye”, former head of Medellin cartel hitmen and right hand of Pablo Escobar, from prison, after having served 22 of a 30-year sentence.

Colombia

  |  1 Aug 2014

Unchanged

Govt and FARC 17 July reached agreement on mechanisms for victims’ participation in transitional justice discussions; Cuba-based peace talks will resume 12 Aug, with first victims’ delegation expected in Havana 16 Aug. Three regional forums held 4-18 July prepared inputs amid heated debate over the alleged underrepresentation of FARC victims. National Liberation Army (ELN) 4 July celebrated 50th anniversary with string of attacks and three-day “armed strike” in north-eastern stronghold regions. President Santos 29 July warned intensifying guerrilla offensive could lead to rupture of talks; Southern Putumayo department particularly hit, with repeated FARC attacks on oil and transport trucks causing significant environmental damage. Police 20 July detained leader of FARC’s 30th Front in Cauca Valley. Dissident group of demobilised EPL guerrillas asked in 25 July open letter to join current peace process. Jailed AUC leader “Macaco” 25 July called for revision of transitional justice rules amid growing concerns over approaching liberations of paramilitaries having served 8-year maximum prison sentences ordered under special legislation. President Santos 20 July inaugurated newly elected Congress likely to play crucial role in implementing future peace agreements.

Colombia

  |  1 Jul 2014

Unchanged

President Santos secured re-election in 15 June presidential runoff, beating Uribist-Democratic Centre candidate Óscar Zuluaga in narrow 51%-45% victory; polls relatively peaceful, reflecting FARC’s 7 June ceasefire declaration. Results seen as boost for peace process. Govt 10 June confirmed exploratory talks with National Liberation Army (ELN) underway since Jan; also confirmed agreements for future agenda on transitional justice and participation of society. FARC, govt 7 June presented landmark “Declaration of Principles” to guide discussions on transitional justice (5th point on Havana agenda); amid highly polarised political debate, key message was pledge that parties would not mutually grant themselves impunity. Parties also recognised victims’ rights to truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-repetition will not be up for negotiation, but talks will focus upon how best to satisfy them. In exchange for ruling out impunity, govt gave in to longstanding FARC demands to set up exploratory commission to look into historical narrative of conflict. Both sides agreed to receive delegation of victims of armed conflict in Havana.

Colombia

  |  1 Jun 2014

Unchanged

Govt, FARC representatives 16 May reached preliminary agreement on drug policies, 3rd issue under discussion in Havana peace talks; parties agreed, inter alia, on national crop substation program and demining initiative; first time FARC has implicitly recognised wider links to drug-economy. Agreement followed 16 May historic announcement of joint FARC/ELN unilateral ceasefire 20-28 May. Óscar Iván Zuluaga, peace talks sceptic, won first round of presidential elections 25 May; faces incumbent President Santos in 15 June run-off. Turnout historically low at 40%. Video released 17 May showed Zuluaga apparently discussing ways to use classified military intelligence to undermine peace process; followed 6 May arrest of Zuluaga campaign aide for allegedly spying on Santos and FARC negotiator email accounts. Santos’ chief campaign manager resigned 5 May, accused of having received $12mn from notorious drug trafficker. Ombudsman’s Office 12 May said some 2,500 indigenous people from High Baudó region (Chocó) displaced by fighting between ELN and NIAG Urabeños. Police 30 May arrested 46 NIAG Rastrojos members in Barranquilla, Atlantico dept. Govt 8 May created national platform to discuss peasant demands established during March meeting of “Agrarian Summit”, end new wave of social protests; FARC 13 May praised grassroots organisations for achieving “formidable triumph".

Colombia

  |  1 May 2014

Unchanged

New round of peace negotiations between govt and FARC started 24 April amid increasing expectations of decisive progress on illegal drugs, 3rd substantial issue under consideration. FARC rallied behind process when Rodrigo Granda, member of FARC negotiating team, 6 April told press that “never before now have existed real conditions” for successful peace process. President Santos 10 April said he would “think twice” before ordering killing of FARC leader Timochenko, causing uproar in Uribista opposition circles who accuse Santos of being weak with guerrillas. Alleged ELN kidnapping victim found dead 20 April in Saravena (Arauca). News network Noticias Uno 13 April revealed that leaders of New Illegal Armed Group (NIAG) Urabeños and organised crime group Envigado Office reportedly willing to engage in negotiations with govt; Justice Minister Alfonso Gómez Méndez 13 April responded that only a “surrender” to justice could be acceptable. Upon judicial order, Santos 23 April reinstated Bogotá Mayor Gustavo Petro, removed from office in March over alleged mismanagement. New agrarian “strike” started 28 April, seen as likely to have less impact than 2013 protests; Interior Minister Aurelio Iragorri 28 April claimed protests in some regions infiltrated by FARC.

Colombia

  |  1 Apr 2014

Unchanged

Congressional elections took place 9 March amid high abstention rate, allegations of fraud and election of 69 candidates allegedly linked to illegal armed actors, but relatively few security incidents overall. Polls brought no radical change in balance of political forces; preliminary results showed President Santos’ ruling coalition lost clout but still boasts strong majority in Lower House (92/166 votes) and remains well positioned in Senate (47/102 votes); opposition Democratic Centre led by former President Uribe came 2nd in Senate (19 votes). Santos 19 March signed decree removing Bogotá mayor and former M-19 guerrilla Gustavo Petro from office, executing highly controversial decision of Inspector General; move came day after Inter American Human Rights Commission (IACHR) asked govt to suspend dismissal; govt argued IACHR measures non-binding. 22nd cycle of peace talks between govt and FARC ended 30 March; parties optimistic to conclude discussions on illegal drugs “soon”. FARC 21 March acknowledged responsibility for earlier killing of 2 policemen in Tumaco (Nariño), but 26 March refused to hand over perpetrators. National Liberation Army (ELN) 6 March liberated in Antioquia police official kidnapped in Feb; 17 March reiterated its willingness to engage in new talks. Santos 26 March said peace process had sufficiently matured to re-activate National Peace Council. Social movements participating in “National Agrarian Summit” 16 March threatened new strike for early May. Santos 6 March announced major security force intervention in Buenaventura (Valle) to combat escalating criminal violence.

Colombia

  |  1 Mar 2014

Unchanged

20th cycle of negotiations ended 13 Feb with parties claiming they “worked non-stop” on construction of agreement on illicit drug problem. Weekly news magazine Semana 3 Feb revealed military intelligence running covert operations under code-name “Andrómeda” against number of targets including govt’s chief negotiator in Havana and High Commissioner for Peace. Defence minister next day dismissed army’s chief of intelligence and head of technical intelligence. Semana 16 Feb published details of alleged corruption network within army; evidence from taped conversations also seemed to confirm that corrupt or diverted monies benefited some officers sentenced for involvement in extrajudicial executions. President Santos 18 Feb fired head of armed forces Gen Leonardo Barrero, recorded advising to “organise mafia” in effort to put pressure on prosecutors and stop human rights investigations. Presidential candidate of left-wing Patriotic Union Aída Avella suffered attack 23 Feb in Tame (Arauca); After initial denial, ELN took responsibility, apologised. 25 Feb bomb attack in Quibdó (Chocó), carried out by unknown perpetrators, left 4 dead, 10 injured. Santos 24 Feb named former Interior Minister Germán Vargas Lleras as running mate for May electoral contest. “We are Defenders” coalition annual report noted increase in killings of human rights defenders to 78 in 2013.

Colombia

  |  1 Feb 2014

Unchanged

19th round of peace talks between govt and FARC ended 23 Jan; negotiations to restart 3 Feb; FARC 14 Jan published detailed proposal for state-funded “National Programme to Substitute Illicit Uses of Coca, Poppy and Marijuana Crops”, drawing on ideas already formulated during ill-fated 2002 Caguán talks, including suspension of aerial fumigation, community-driven alternative development plans, creation of legal market for coca, poppy and marijuana crops. Month-long unilateral FARC ceasefire ended 15 Jan; violations occurred, but generally well-respected. 1 killed, over 60 injured in FARC motorcycle bomb attack in Pradera (Valle) 16 Jan; unusually strongly-worded Secretariat communiqué 23 Jan acknowledged attack, expressed “rejection and disapproval” for high civilian impact. Military reacted with offensive killing 27 FARC fighters and capturing 21 19-22 Jan. Prosecutor General Alejandro Ordóñez 13 Jan rejected appeal against Dec decision to remove Bogotá mayor Gustavo Petro from office; several Bogotá court decisions subsequently suspended removal, offering lifeline for Petro to stay in office until 2 March recall referendum. According to list published 18 Jan by left-wing movement Patriotic March, 29 members killed between April 2012-Jan 2014; 3 members allegedly forcefully disappeared. Conservative Party thrown into turmoil over 26 Jan convention decision to elect former defence minister Marta Lucía Ramírez as candidate for May presidential poll.

Colombia

  |  2 Jan 2014

Unchanged

Peace talks between govt and FARC continued with discussions centred on illegal drugs; FARC 3 Dec presented 10 “minimal proposals” for counter drug policy, calling for immediate halt of areal fumigation, adoption of public health focus and stimulation of traditional, medical and industrial uses of coca leaf, marihuana and poppy. Talks concluded for year 20 Dec, set to resume 13 Jan. FARC 8 Dec announced unilateral 30-day ceasefire effective 15 Dec-15 Jan; 4 alleged violations occurred by 23 Dec. President Santos declared military offensive against guerrillas “will continue” following 7 Dec attack on police station in Inzá (Cauca) which left 9 dead, 40 injured. Prosecutor General 9 Dec dismissed Bogotá mayor and former M19 guerrilla member Gustavo Petro over allegations of “incompetence” and violating free enterprise principles in 2012 row with private garbage collectors; Petro also banned from holding public office for 15 years. FARC 10 Dec slammed decision as “heavy blow” for peace process. Talks with ELN again appeared to move closer; ELN 1 Dec released engineer abducted in Antioquia dept July 2012, 24 Dec released kidnapped oil worker in Arauca dept. ELN commander Gabino said group had accepted as “challenge” to negotiate without ceasefire, but later retracted. Ombudsman’s Office 11 Dec said clashes between ELN and NIAG Urabeños in Chocó dept could cause displacement of 1,900 residents. Police closing in on Urabeños leader Otoniel with 12 Dec detention of cousin and sister. Security forces 27 Dec killed at least 10 FARC, including regional commander Jhon 26, in Meta dept. UN 30 Dec accused FARC of continuing to recruit children.

Colombia

  |  2 Dec 2013

Unchanged

Significant step forward in govt-FARC peace talks 6 Nov with announcement of partial agreement on political participation, 2nd of 5 agenda issues; agreement calls for end in using arms in politics and democratic opening of political system. President Santos 26 Nov appointed María Paulina Riveros and Nigeria Rentería to become first female lead negotiators. Talks resumed 28 Nov with discussions on issue of illegal drugs. Defence Minister Pinzón 12 Nov revealed alleged FARC plans to kill former President Uribe, critical of talks, and Attorney General Eduardo Montealegre, strong supporter of talks; FARC’s Southern Bloc 27 Nov denied plans. Hopes revived that progress in Havana could help overcome apparent impasse in attempts to start peace talks with National Liberation Army (ELN); ELN’s Central Command 11 Nov praised political participation accord as early “Christmas gift”, but also said “magic wand” needed to convert it into reality. ELN 4 Nov released 3 oil workers kidnapped in Arauca in Sept, 5 Nov announced plan to free engineer working for Chilean timber company held hostage since mid-2012. Military strike in Fortul (Arauca) 24 Nov killed at least 10 ELN members. Govt 27 Nov recalled ambassador to Nicaragua amid worsening row over maritime borders; decision comes day after country launched legal action at ICJ, alleging Colombia “made threats of force”.

Colombia

  |  1 Nov 2013

Unchanged

16th round of govt-FARC peace talks started 23 Oct with discussions still centred on political participation. With 2014 electoral cycle approaching fast, President Santos 8 Oct discussed with senators and representatives of his party whether to pause, continue or end negotiations, with majority of Congress supporting continuation of talks but parties yet to discuss option in Havana. Amid increased FARC attacks on military targets and energy infrastructure mainly in E and SE, Santos 9 Oct launched large-scale counter-insurgency initiative targeted at FARC’s southern strongholds; denied contradiction with peace talks. FARC released former U.S. marine Kevin Scott Sutay 27 Oct after 4 months’ captivity. ELN 14 Oct said its delegation for exploratory talks with govt has been “ready” for a year, but process has not gone beyond “attempts to start”. Regional leader of New Illegal Armed Group Urabeños in Norte de Santander department “El Mico” surrendered and was captured alongside 17 members 23 Oct. Authorities 12 Oct arrested governor of La Guajira department Juan Francisco “Kiko” Gómez, accused of involvement in 1997 murder of local politician and 2 other killings. Convention of Democratic Centre movement led by former president Uribe 26 Oct elected former Finance Minister Óscar Iván Zuluaga as presidential candidate. Constitutional Court 23 Oct struck down over “procedural defects” constitutional reform and implementing legislation aimed at expanding military jurisdiction. Indigenous communities and govt 23 Oct signed agreement to boost judicial, administrative and political autonomy.

Colombia

  |  1 Oct 2013

Unchanged

New cycle of govt-FARC peace negotiations ended 19 Sept amid increasing tensions; talks to resume 3 Oct. President Santos 24 Sept said before UNGA peace will not lead to impunity for serious crimes, also called for faster negotiation results as “time for decisions” had come. In reaction, FARC leader Timochenko 25 Sept slammed Santos for supposedly “unilaterally imposing” restrictions on talks. Security forces 25 Sept killed high-ranking member of FARC’s Daniel Aldana mobile column in Tumaco, Nariño. VP Garzón 9 Sept announced peace talks with ELN would begin “over next days and in different place to Havana”, but new setback 10 Sept when ELN allegedly kidnapped 3 pipeline workers in Saravena, Arauca. ELN 30 Sept reaffirmed willingness to participate in peace talks. Santos 4 Sept announced cabinet reshuffle, replacing inter alia embattled interior and agriculture ministers; 12 Sept presented “National Agrarian Pact” to confront agrarian crisis, but initiative rejected by peasant grassroots. Amid social protests, Santos approval ratings down to 21%. Former President Uribe 16 Sept announced he will run as head of list for Senate in March 2014 elections.

Colombia

  |  1 Sep 2013

Unchanged

13th cycle of govt-FARC peace negotiations ended 28 Aug with discussions still centred on political participation. Talks had been suspended 23-25 Aug as FARC studied implications of 22 Aug govt draft legislation to allow referendum on possible peace agreement to coincide with 2014 national elections. Parties 26 Aug called for organisation of public discussions in Sept on illegal drugs, 4th agenda point. FARC 20 Aug recognised for first time it had caused “pain”. FARC 24 Aug reportedly killed 14 soldiers in Arauca department. President Santos 28 Aug said he was ready to start peace talks with National Liberation Army (ELN), after it released Canadian hostage after 7 months’ captivity 27 Aug. Constitutional Court 28 Aug approved Legal Framework for Peace while setting certain “interpretation parameters” regarding prosecution of serious crimes. “National Agrarian Strike” began 19 Aug. Santos 30 Aug ordered 50,000 military to guarantee mobility throughout country in reaction to violent protests 29 Aug which media said left 5 dead and 250 injured. 2-month peasant strike in Catatumbo region stopped after 2 Aug agreement to hold negotiations; first agreement on drug eradication reached 28 Aug.

Colombia

  |  1 Aug 2013

Unchanged

FARC chief negotiator Iván Márquez 15 July expressed confidence country is nearing end of conflict, however FARC ambush in Arauca dept 20 July left 15 soldiers dead, prompting President Santos to order army “not to stop shooting” until conflict over. Constitutional Court 25 July held hearing on constitutionality of Legal Framework for Peace; judgment expected Aug. Speaking at hearing, Santos acknowledged state responsibility for violations of rights and IHL during conflict. Report released by govt’s Historical Memory Group found 218,094 Colombians killed by armed conflict 1958-2012, 80% of victims civilians. Prosecutor General’s Office 29 July confirmed army executed over 3,900 civilians since 1986 to inflate apparent success in fight against leftist rebels. State Council 9 July ruled Patriotic Union party, established as part of previous peace process and which lost legal status in 2002, can again run candidates for office beginning in 2014 elections. FARC chief Timochenko and National Liberation Army (ELN) commander Gabino 1 July issued joint communiqué calling for ELN’s inclusion in peace talks but ELN 16 July rejected govt preconditions for talks. ELN 29 July said release of Canadian mining hostage forthcoming, as Braeval Mining Corporation reportedly preparing to return mining titles to local communities. FARC 19 July announced it was holding former U.S. serviceman captive since 20 June, pledged to release him as “gesture” towards peace talks. Tensions between peasant communities and security forces in Norte de Santander continued, 4 protester deaths reported; UNOHCHR 15 July criticised govt for alleged “excessive” use of force; Santos 16 July stated Colombia no longer needed presence of OHCHR, then agreed one-year extension of its mandate. Authorities 27 July captured 20 alleged members of New Illegal Armed Group (NIAG) “Los Rastrojos”; 2 police suspected of acting as informants.

Colombia

  |  1 Jul 2013

Unchanged

Peace negotiations between govt and FARC resumed 11 June to discuss 2nd agenda item, political participation. Govt’s chief negotiator Humberto de la Calle 13 June confirmed agreement would centre on steps to create legal, sustainable political presence for guerrillas. FARC 19 June submitted 10 “minimum” proposals for eventual agreement, including guarantees of political representation, participation of marginalised communities, rights for political opposition, also called for popular election of positions such as Attorney General and Prosecutor General. Major point of contention is FARC demand for achieving structural reform of state through constituent assembly, which govt rejects. Protests over coca eradication and peasants reservations turned violent in Norte de Santander’s Catatumbo region; 4 people killed.

Colombia

  |  1 Jun 2013

Improved

Agreement announced 26 May between govt and FARC on rural development – 1st agenda item in peace talks – in major boost to process; details unlikely to be released until conclusion of entire process, but President Santos said 4 main points are access to/use of land, rural development programs, health and education for rural poor, food security/improved nutrition. Govt and FARC will discuss political participation next. Prospects that peace talks with ELN would begin in May suffered setback when ELN killed 11 soldiers; ELN currently holding one captive following ambush in Norte de Santander 22 May. Security forces 4 May killed FARC commander Caliche in Nariño dept; 20 May killed leader of FARC’s Antonia Santos mobile column El Negro Eliécer in Norte de Santander dept; 15 May killed ELN commander Almeida in Arauca dept; 29 May arrested top commander of New Illegal Armed Group (NIAG) Urabeños Martin Bala. Constitutional Court ruled 17 May that Victims Law protections must be extended to include victims of forced displacement caused by NIAGs.   

Colombia

  |  1 May 2013

Unchanged Resolution Opportunity

President Santos 9 April said hoped talks with ELN will begin “sooner rather than later,” amid increasing speculation that official announcement of negotiations with Colombia’s second guerrilla group will come in May. Peace talks with FARC set to resume 17 April postponed until 23 April for scheduling and logistical reasons; FARC negotiating team joined by 4 new members, including influential Pablo Catatumbo, commander of Alfonso Cano bloc. Sides have yet to announce agreement on any of 5 major agenda items. UN and National University held public forums in Bogotá on potential political participation of FARC 28-30 April; all major political parties participated except supporters of former president Uribe. FARC, ELN 1 April announced cooperation in Arauca dept and elsewhere in east to fight extractive projects, multinational companies. Amid rumours of possible splits within organisation, FARC’s Southern Bloc 9 April said it would comply with possible peace agreement “to the letter”. Killing of prominent land restitution activist Ever Antonio Cordero in Córdoba 9 April prompted widespread condemnation, underscored worries about escalating violence against civil society leaders. Death of “Emerald King” Víctor Carranza 4 April prompted concerns of violent conflict over access to emerald resources.

Colombia

  |  1 Apr 2013

Unchanged

Govt and FARC 1 March indicated significant progress towards agreement on rural development, first issue on Havana peace talks’ agenda. Agriculture Minister 14 March publicly rejected FARC proposal to increase to 59 number of Peasant Reservation Zones (ZRC). On closing latest round of talks 21 March, both sides confirmed advances, called for preparation of public discussion on political participation, second point on agenda. President Santos 13 March said possible to conclude talks within “months”. Senator Roy Barreras 5 March said deal must be signed by July to allow Congress time to draft and debate legislation before 2014 elections. Barreras and 5 others travelled to Cuba 3 March for discussions with FARC, officially focusing on victims and legislative perspectives on peace. Several security personnel and FARC guerrillas killed during month in continued violent confrontations, and many injured in series of suspected FARC bombings. Santos 11 March claimed fewer than 8,000 remaining FARC fighters. Govt 5 March destroyed large drug laboratory thought to be financing 5 FARC fronts, with much of output reportedly destined to be sold to Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel. ELN released 2 German hostages 8 March; ELN commander Gabino 24 March confirmed negotiating team ready for talks, but denied exploratory contacts. ELN brigade leader “Omar” reported killed 28 March during clash between guerillas and military in SW.

Colombia

  |  1 Mar 2013

Unchanged

Peace talks between govt and FARC resumed in Cuba 18 Feb, with both sides reportedly optimistic about prospects for agreement; FARC 6 Feb proposed legalising cultivation of coca, marijuana and poppy for therapeutic, medical, industrial and traditional uses, 27 Feb demanded “high-level commission to clarify the truth” over govt allegations FARC stole large expanses of land from people, also suggested former U.S. president Carter participate. President Santos 23 Feb threatened to end talks if no progress achieved but 25 Feb noted negotiations were going in right direction. FARC 15-16 Feb released 2 policemen, 1 soldier held since late Jan. In weeklong break between talks, confrontations resulted in deaths of 7 soldiers in Caquetá and 2 in Antioquia, 6 guerrilla members 13-15 Feb. 3 soldiers killed 15 Feb during patrol in rural area outside Bogotá. FARC also reportedly responsible for bomb that destroyed police station in Putumayo, explosion targeting energy tower in Antioquia, attack on restaurant in Putumayo which left 2 dead. ELN 4 Feb announced holding 2 German hostages, reportedly captured Nov 2012 in Norte de Santander; 15 Feb released 5 mining company employees kidnapped 18 Jan, but kept hostage Canadian manager. NGO Somos Defensores released annual report, found 69 rights defenders killed in 2012, growing number of threats, assassinations, attacks on rights workers.

Colombia

  |  1 Feb 2013

Unchanged

Peace talks resumed 14 Jan; FARC presented 10-point plan for agricultural development concentrating on poverty reduction, land inequality, rural development, food sovereignty. FARC also called for creation of Constituent Assembly to confirm results of peace process; President Santos 16 Jan ruled out possibility of assembly but opened door to referendum mechanism. FARC resumed hostilities 20 Jan following expiration of 2-month unilateral ceasefire; ceasefire period saw great reduction of FARC offensive operations compared to corresponding period in 2011/2012. FARC 25 Jan abducted 2 police officers in Valle del Cauca dept, provoking tensions at negotiation table; 29 Jan killed 1 soldier in La Guajira dept; 30 Jan killed 4 soldiers in Narino dept. Security forces 31 Jan killed 5 FARC in Antioqui dept. FARC late Jan declared group will carry on capturing military personnel despite warnings it could undermine peace talks. ELN 18 Jan kidnapped 6 mine workers, including 3 foreigners, in Bolívar dept. At least 9 people killed 31 Dec in Antioquia dept during meeting reportedly organised by criminal Envigado Office group. Justice Minister Correa 29 Jan said govt will seek to decriminalise personal use of synthetic drugs; also set up advisory commission including former president Gaviria tasked with analysing drug policy over the last 10 years.

Colombia

  |  30 Dec 2012

Unchanged

Some 1,300 delegates from 522 civil society organisations gathered in Bogotá 17-19 Dec to prepare input on rural development for FARC peace talks; negotiations set to resume mid-Jan. President Santos 2 Dec set deadline for talks to end in deal by Nov 2013. Alleged FARC attack 9 Dec left 1 dead, 3 injured in SW Cauca dept, but FARC armed activities reportedly dropped 70% since Nov ceasefire. Counter-insurgent operations ongoing; security forces 2-3 Dec killed at least 20 FARC rebels in Nariño dept near Ecuador, 4 Dec killed at least 7 alleged FARC rebels in Guianía dept near Venezuela and FARC guerrilla Franklin Pipas in central Meta dept 1 Dec; 20 Dec killed 2 alleged ELN leaders in western Chocó dept. FARC negotiation team member Sandra Ramírez in 2 Dec press interview claimed group still holding hostages, plans to exchange them for imprisoned guerrillas; denied by Rodrigo Granda 3 Dec. Community leader and rights defender Miller Angulo killed in Tumaco, Nariño dept, after receiving death threats from New Illegal Armed Group “Águilas Negras”. U.S. court 14 Dec sentenced retired police Gen Mauricio Santoyo, who served as former President Uribe’s security chief, to 13 years jail for aiding paramilitaries and fine for drug trafficking. Rights groups slammed newly-approved military justice reform as “setback for human rights”; EU 29 Dec said expects govt will assuage concerns over impunity generated by reform. Gunmen 19 Dec killed respected indigenous leader Ismael Hurtado in Medellín.

Colombia

  |  1 Dec 2012

Unchanged

Peace talks between govt and FARC resumed in Cuba 19 Nov with discussions on rural development; FARC leading negotiator Iván Márquez announced 2-month unilateral ceasefire from 20 Nov to 20 Jan. Talks adjourned 29 Nov, expected to resume 5 Dec. Media reported govt plans to meet with country’s second largest insurgent group ELN in Dec; former AUC paramilitary leaders also reiterated demand to join talks. Amid doubts over compliance, FARC 36th Front, which is part of FARC’s north-western bloc known as Ivan Ríos, 24 Nov said ceasefire order did not reach it in time for 20 Nov attack on energy towers in Antioquia. Before ceasefire, FARC attack 31 Oct killed 2, injured 31 in Valle del Cauca dept; FARC 2 Nov raid on Timbiquí town in Cauca dept left 2 dead, 2 injured; 6 Nov attack on 5 vehicles in Cesar dept killed 1. Massacre 7 Nov reportedly carried out by New Illegal Armed Group (NIAG) Los Rastrojos killed 10 farm workers in Antioquia dept. Clashes between gangs in Bellavista prison left at least 28 inmates injured. Ombudsman 16 Nov called for declaration of “humanitarian emergency” in Buenaventura, after clashes between illegal armed groups triggered displacement of at least 4,000.

Colombia

  |  1 Nov 2012

Unchanged

Peace talks between govt, FARC began in Oslo 18 Oct; FARC chief negotiator stoked controversy by criticising govt’s efforts to hand back land seized during conflict as a “trap”, also called for “profound demilitarisation” and “radical socio-economic reforms”. Both parties agreed to resume talks in Cuba 15 Nov. Hostilities ongoing as security forces 1 Oct captured FARC’s Southern Bloc intelligence chief Ninfa Lozada in Casanare dept, and 34th front commander Fernando Salazar Palacios alias “El Niche” in Medellín. FARC 15 Oct attack on soldiers in Arauca dept left 2 civilians dead, 19 Oct killed 5 soldiers in Putumayo, 20 Oct killed 5 soldiers near Ecuador border, 23 Oct killed 3 soldiers in Arauca dept, 29 Oct killed 6 police in Cauca dept. National Liberation Army (ELN) 8 Oct wounded 3 soldiers near Venezuela border. Leader of dissident “Meta” faction of New Illegal Armed Group (NIAG) ERPAC, José Antonio López alias “Jean-Claude”, 17 Oct surrendered to authorities. 17 NIAG Rastrojos members 22 Oct surrendered in Valle del Cauca dept. Argentinian authorities 30 Oct arrested NIAG Urabeños leader Henry de Jesus López alias “Mi Sangre”.

Colombia

  |  1 Oct 2012

Resolution Opportunity Unchanged

President Santos 4 Sept announced pre-accord to reach political deal with FARC; both sides pledged to begin negotiations in Oslo early Oct while military operations still ongoing, continue talks in Cuba until final agreement reached; possibility second largest guerrilla group National Liberation Army (ELN) could participate. Agenda presented 6 objectives: integrated agrarian development, political participation, termination of conflict, solution to illicit drugs problem, victims, implementation and monitoring. El Espectador 29 Sept reported talks may not begin 8 Oct as initially planned due to delays in suspending arrest warrants of rebel negotiators. Operations against FARC continued with killings of 33rd front leader in Norte de Santander 5 Sept, 10th front commander in Arauca 23 Sept, 37th front commander in Antioquia 27 Sept. Security forces 18 Sept captured major drug kingpin Daniel “El Loco” Barrera in joint operation in Venezuela. Blows to New Illegal Armed Groups (NIAGs) with detentions of ERPAC group leader “El Flaco Fredy” in Meta 16 Sept, 18 Urabeños members in Magdalena 22 Sept, and Paisas leader “El Puma” in Antioquia 24 Sept. Attorney General 21 Sept said will increase number of prosecutors investigating murders of some 3,000 “false positives”, warned “poor results” could lead to ICC intervention. Drug trafficker Griselda Blanco, “Godmother of Cocaine”, killed by unknown gunmen in Medellín 3 Sept.

Colombia

  |  1 Sep 2012

Resolution Opportunity Unchanged

President Santos 27 Aug confirmed “exploratory” talks with FARC held earlier this year, announced formal peace talks to start soon. National Liberation Army (ELN) guerilla group 27 Aug said willing to hold peace talks, Santos welcomed offer. Former president Uribe’s Security Chief General Mauricio Santoyo 20 Aug pleaded guilty to leaking anti-drug operations intelligence to paramilitary groups 2001-2008. Police 8 Aug arrested Oficina de Envigado narcotrafficking group leader Erickson Vargas Cardona alias “Sebastian”, 21 Aug arrested key FARC Eastern Bloc member Yordani Gonzalez Paredes alias “El Gordo”. Govt, indigenous leaders in Cauca dept 16 Aug agreed to establish peace negotiations. Indigenous spiritual leader Lisandro Tenorio Tróchez assassinated 12 Aug, killing attributed to FARC.

Colombia

  |  1 Aug 2012

Unchanged

Clashes early month between FARC, armed forces left 6,000 displaced in Cauca dept; indigenous communities 10 July issued security forces, FARC ultimatum to leave territory, mid-July destroyed police and FARC barricades, 17 July clashed with anti-riot police after indigenous group forced soldiers to abandon post near Toribio municipality. Govt, indigenous leaders 23 July started dialogue to resolve crisis; FARC 25 July said will leave Cauca dept “once security forces and neo-paramilitaries leave area”. Army 30 July killed 4 FARC in northern Bolivar dept. “Anti Restitution Army” 5 July issued death threats to 13 human rights defenders involved in land restitution process. ELN early July said seeking political end to conflict, called for “open dialogue without conditions”, 30 July claimed responsibility for kidnapping of journalist Élida Parra Alfonso, environmental engineer Gina Paola Uribe. New political coalition launched 5 July by former President Uribe and allies in opposition to Santos govt.

Colombia

  |  1 Jul 2012

Unchanged

Congress 14 June passed constitutional reforms opening door to truth commission: reforms allow govt to apply judicial and non-judicial transitional justice mechanisms in context of peace process, authorise selection and prioritisation of crimes for prosecution, introduce possibility of limited political participation of demobilised fighters. President, Congress 27 June repealed reform potentially preventing investigations into politicians’ ties to armed groups following 22 June resignation of Justice Minister Esguerra in protest. Army killed 12 FARC fighters in Nechí and Antioquia; FARC killed 4 security force members, 2 civilians in S, NW. Police 16 June arrested new illegal armed group Los Rastrojos leader in Antioquia.

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