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CrisisWatch Database

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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 Ex-high commissioner for peace Frank Pearl withdrawn from Havana to focus on bringing ELN into process.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.

Colombia

  |  1 Jun 2012

Unchanged

Colombia Bomb targeting former Interior and Justice Minister Fernando Londoño 15 May left 2 dead, 54 injured; perpetrator unknown. FARC attack (59th Front) 21 May killed 12 soldiers, injured 4 in Guajira dept. At least 10 police killed, 25 injured as result of other FARC attacks across country. FARC 30 May released France24 journalist Romeo Langlois held since 29 April. New illegal armed group Rastrojos leader Javier Calle Serna, alias ‘Comba’, 4 May surrendered to U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency; concerns he may evade prosecution in Colombia, receive reduced sentence in U.S. Venezuelan priest/journalist Pedro José Palmar 25 May alleged FARC leader Rodrigo Londoño, alias ‘Timochenko’ and FARC secretariat members frequently spend night at estate of Adán Chávez, President Chávez’s brother and governor of Barinas state. 6 soldiers jailed 26 May for 30-50 years for role in ‘falsos positivos’ scandal. 

Colombia

  |  1 May 2012

Unchanged

FARC 2 April released last 10 military/police hostages, held captive for over 12 years, fuelling hopes for peace; President Santos said release important but FARC needs to free all remaining civilian hostages. FARC leader “Timochenko” 19 April reiterated willingness to discuss peace but refused to surrender; FARC Secretariat member Ivan Marquez warned group not weakened, remains “ready to fight”. Some 1,500 social, political groups 21 April founded new left-wing National Patriotic Council (NPC), supported by prominent leaders including Piedad Córdoba, Iván Cepeda; NPC celebrated by some as opportunity for peace, stigmatised by others as infiltrated by FARC. FARC 27 April killed 8, including 5 soldiers, in 2 attacks in SW; 29 April killed 4 during raid on army patrol, “abducted” France24 journalist Romeo Langlois.

Colombia

  |  1 Apr 2012

Unchanged

Following FARC killing of 11 soldiers 17 March, security forces 21 March killed 33 rebels in Arauca dept near Venezuela, 26 March killed 36, including 3 military commanders, in central Meta dept. 7 Autodefensas Gaitanistas paramilitaries killed 29 March in clashes with FARC in Antioquia dept. President Santos 18 March accused FARC of dishonesty after 17 March FARC statement that group would only release hostages if peace negotiators allowed to visit jailed guerrillas, said rebels lying to international community as added condition never agreed as part of deal; govt still expected to free jailed guerrillas 2-4 April. FARC front 1 March imposed 8 day blockade in Chocó department.

Colombia

  |  1 Mar 2012

Unchanged Resolution Opportunity

Hope for peace process boosted as FARC 26 Feb announced intention to free all remaining military, police hostages, abandon longstanding practice of ransom kidnappings; President Santos said “important” but “insufficient” step. Spate of FARC attacks mid-late Feb concentrated in Nariño, Cauca depts left dozens dead. Authorities 9 Feb issued arrest warrant for former High Commissioner for Peace Luis Carlos Restrepo for alleged false demobilisation of FARC unit in 2006, exacerbating tensions between Santos and former President Uribe. Santos 11 Feb led high-level delegation to attend 14,000 strong victims’ march in Necocli, boosting support for victims’ reparation, land restitution.

Colombia

  |  1 Feb 2012

Unchanged

Urabeños illegal armed group leader Juan de Dios Úsuga killed 1 Jan by police; group retaliated by imposing “armed blockade”, paralysing trade, transportation in 6 departments, offered rewards for killing of police. FARC leader “Timochenko” 9 Jan proposed reviving failed peace talks agenda; President Santos 10 Jan rejected idea, claimed FARC not yet shown commitment to peace. In video published 25 Jan, FARC commander Iván Márquez named 3 military, police captives to be released along with another 3, identified 27 Dec, proposed constitutional change to allow swap for jailed guerrillas; govt rejected proposal. Suspected FARC attacks in Norte de Santander 13 Jan killed 3, govt announced increased military presence in Catatumbo border region; guerrillas 13 Jan bombed seat of former peace talks in Caguán, injuring 2. Law regulating compensation of some 4 million victims of Colombia’s armed conflict took effect 2 Jan.

Colombia

  |  2 Jan 2012

Unchanged

Widespread protests against FARC 6 Dec following Nov killing of 4 hostages; FARC 27 Dec pledged to free 6 of 11 police and military still held hostage. 31 Dec bomb attack on police station in South killed 2; FARC believed responsible. President Santos 19 Dec met Ecuadorian President Correa in Quito (see Ecuador). Controversial judicial reform bill advanced 14 Dec with Congress approval in 4th of 8 debates. UN, rights groups expressed concern over expansion of military courts jurisdiction; reform also opposed by high courts, attorney general and public prosecutor fearing concentration of power within legislative, executive branches. Justice Minister 8 Dec said state would prosecute “false victims” of 1997 Mapiripán massacre who allegedly fraudulently claimed reparation money; Inter-American Court of Human Rights to reconsider its ruling on case. 21-23 Dec surrender of 284 fighters from Anti-terrorist Popular Revolutionary Army of Colombia (ERPAC) spurred controversy after only 19 members, including leader “Caracho”, initially detained; judges later issued remaining arrest warrants. Episode raised questions over govt role, lack of legal norms, power vacuum in group’s Eastern Plains strongholds, fate of estimated up to 900 fighters who did not surrender.

Colombia

  |  1 Dec 2011

Unchanged

Colombian military 4 Nov scored major victory against FARC, killing commander-in-chief Guillermo León Sáenz, alias “Alfonso Cano” in Cauca department. FARC refused govt’s call for guerrillas to demobilise, but indicated possibility of talks still open. FARC appointed Rodrigo Londoño alias “Timochenko”, known to be politically orthodox, as successor. President Santos 21 Nov said he trusted Venezuelan President Chávez to arrest FARC leader if found on Venezuelan soil. Santos 28 Nov met Chávez in Caracas, discussed FARC, trade issues (see Venezuela). Police 30 Nov arrested 3 FARC members believed involved in Sept kidnapping of Fortul mayor’s daughter. Bomb explosion in SE city Toribio 12 Nov injured 10, including mayor; FARC believed responsible. 4 police officers held hostage by FARC for over a decade killed by guerrilla 26 Nov during failed rescue attempt; 1 escaped.

Colombia

  |  1 Nov 2011

Unchanged

30 Oct municipal, departmental elections preceded by violence: 41 candidates killed, many abandoned campaigns due to threats; 20 soldiers killed 21, 22 Oct in attacks allegedly carried out by FARC in Nariño and Arauca departments; President Santos 23 Oct admitted military, police failures. Former left-wing rebel Gustavo Petro elected mayor of Bogota. Constitutional reform proposal including framework for demobilisation of illegal armed groups, submitted to Congress Sept, 11 Oct passed 1st of 8 debates; controversial issue of political rights for former combatants not debated. Santos 31 Oct dissolved scandal-plagued domestic intelligence service (DAS). Army 8 Oct said it killed 5 suspected ELN rebels near Venezuelan border during search for 10-year old daughter of mayor of Fortul, kidnapped late Sept, freed 17 Oct; FARC believed responsible but deny involvement. Defence Minister Pinzón 20 Oct said army killed Jose “Mincho” Neftali, top FARC leader. U.S. Congress 12 Oct passed U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement.

Colombia

  |  1 Oct 2011

Unchanged

Against backdrop of deteriorating security indicators, President Santos’s chief of staff and ally Juan Carlos Pinzon appointed as defence minister 31 Aug, replacing Rodrigo Rivera; entire military high command also replaced. Senator Roy Barreras 12 Sept presented constitutional reform project to Congress providing transitional justice framework for future demobilisation of illegal armed groups, including political rights for former combatants after serving alternative sentences; Santos welcomed initiative. Supreme Court 14 Sept sentenced former director of presidential security under Uribe, Jorge Noguera, to 25 years prison for collaboration with paramilitary leaders and homicide, passing on confidential information; 2 senior officials still under investigation. 7 people including 1 counsellor killed, 1 official kidnapped 25 Sept by unidentified armed group in Tumaco town. U.S. State Department 15 Sept declared Colombia met statutory criteria related to human rights, released military funding.

Colombia

  |  1 Sep 2011

Unchanged

FARC guerrillas early month expressed support for dialogue with govt in statements to Barrancabermeja grassroots peace conference; President Santos 16 Aug said open to talks, but guerrillas should give “more reliable proof” of willingness to end conflict. Senate Peace Commission 10 Aug submitted recommendations for new framework for future demobilizations, eventual peace process. July report by NGO Nuevo Arco Iris predicted 2,200 rebel attacks for 2011, up from 1,947 in 2010; increase attributed to changing guerrilla tactics, guerrillas fortifying in SW. Govt 7 Aug announced new security strategy in response. 5 police killed in explosion 27 Aug by suspected rebels in North. Ahead of Oct local elections, NGO Electoral Observation Mission 17 Aug stated 544 out of 1,102 municipalities at risk of electoral fraud, 447 face risk of violence. Fight within Cambio Radical party over candidate endorsements triggered change in party leadership, withdrawal of support for over 300 candidates. U.S. 22 Aug denied media report that U.S. aid to Colombia had been used by intelligence service DAS to fund illegal wiretappings. Defence Minister Rodrigo Riviera resigned 31 Aug.

Colombia

  |  1 Aug 2011

Unchanged

President Santos 3 July said FARC commander Alfonso Cano narrowly escaped 30 June military raid on FARC camp in Cauca-Huila border region. FARC 9-10 July killed at least 6, injured dozens in series of attacks on towns in Cauca; believed to be responsible for 12 July kidnapping of Nariño mayoral candidate, local councillor; and 18 civilians later released. Army 16 July killed 4 FARC rebels, including 10th front commander “Efrén”, in Arauca. Leader of armed group Rastrojos “Sebastián” killed 25 July by his bodyguards seeking govt reward. Gunmen 30 June killed witness in trial investigating links between local politicians and paramilitaries in Antioquia department. Political parties rejected more than 1,000 candidates for Oct local elections due to possible criminal records. UNODC 23 July reported coca cultivation in Colombia decreased by 15% from 2009 to 2010, potential production decreased by 19%.

Colombia

  |  1 Jul 2011

Unchanged

President Santos 11 June signed Victims Law into effect, providing reparations to some 4mn victims of violence; rights groups warned of increased violence against victims’ rights activists, accused govt of failing to provide adequate protection following 7 June murder of land activist in Medellín. Army 6 June killed “Arnulfo”, bodyguard of FARC commander Alfonso Cano, in Tolima. Violence continued to rise ahead of Oct local elections: local NGO said 14 candidates already killed in 2011. State prosecutor 8 June asked Interpol to arrest María del Pilar Hurtado, former intelligence chief currently seeking asylum in Panama, over involvement in illegal wiretapping scandal. Senate 14 June approved new law to reform intelligence service DAS to protect citizens against wiretapping.

Colombia

  |  1 Jun 2011

Improved

Senate 24 May approved Victims Law after final debate, providing reparations to more than 4 million victims of guerrilla, paramilitary and state violence. President Santos praised “historic” legislation; Senate, Congress expected to make final ratification shortly. Attorney General 18 May charged Bernardo Moreno, former secretary of Uribe presidency, and María del Pilar Hurtado Afanador, former head of presidential security service DAS, over involvement in illegal wiretapping scandal; both close allies of ex-president Uribe. Santos 4 May admitted Colombia facing “armed conflict” rather than terrorist threat. UK thinktank 10 May released analysis of documents seized from FARC ex-no 2 Raul Reyes during March 2008 airstrike on FARC camp in Ecuador; alleged ties between FARC and Ecuador, Venezuela govts (see Ecuador and Venezuela). FARC 21 May detained several passenger boats in Chocó; media reports suggested the hundreds detained were moved by local politicians to register to vote in the candidates’ municipalities.

Colombia

  |  1 May 2011

Unchanged

Victims Law (providing reparations to victims of guerrillas, paramilitaries and state agents) 6 Apr passed third commission debate in Congress, leaving law 1 debate from passing. Relations with Venezuela improved: President Santos signed 16 economic agreements with Venezuelan President Chávez 10 Apr. Govt 13 Apr announced extradition of suspected Venezuelan drug trafficker Walid Makled to Caracas, despite U.S. request for his extradition there. Santos 12 Apr said he believed FARC camps in Venezuela had disappeared; later toned down remarks following criticism from, among others, ex-president Uribe. Santos, U.S. President Obama 7 Apr announced timeframe for implementation of U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement: discussion in U.S. Congress to begin 15 June, 90-day deadline for ratification. Congress 14 Apr began debating bill regulating security agencies; follows 2009 wiretapping scandal. FARC 27 Apr killed 5 police in 2 incidents, including car bomb in Cauca.

Colombia

  |  1 Apr 2011

Unchanged

Army 15 March killed “Oliver Solarte”, FARC’s key contact with Mexican drug cartels, in Putumayo; 22 March killed “Jerónimo Galeano”, in charge of security for FARC commander Alfonso Cano, in Huila. FARC 7 March kidnapped 23 oil workers in Vichada, but 22 were released hours later due to army pressure. Regional body UNASUR 11 March appointed former Colombian FM María Emma Mejía as new secretary-general for 1 year. In Arauca, unidentified gunmen late month murdered 3 land restitution activists and judge investigating killing of 3children.

Colombia

  |  1 Mar 2011

Unchanged

FARC unilaterally released 6 hostages; govt welcomed move, but continues to condition peace talks on release of 16 remaining “political” hostages and ceasefire. President Santos 10 Feb accused FARC of double standards after rebels 9 Feb kidnapped 2 contractors in Cauca. Colombian NGO 7 Feb reported 32% increase in kidnappings in 2010; first annual increase since 2002. Military late month intensified campaign against FARC in southern Cañón de las Hermosas region, where rebel commander Alfonso Cano believed to be in hiding. Govt 7 Feb announced new “unprecedented” military operation against paramilitary successor groups (“bacrims”); UNHCHR 25 Feb reported bacrim massacres up 40% in 2010.

Colombia

  |  1 Feb 2011

Unchanged

Top FARC commander “Alfonso Cano” 7 Jan said will “redouble” efforts in 2011 while reiterating interest in political solution to conflict; coincided with 7 Jan FARC attack in Caquetá killing 9; FARC 13 Jan attacked house of daughter of Puerto Asís, Putumayo mayor, killing 1. Police 21 Jan said will increase security for victims’s rights activists after 3 NGO workers found dead early month. UN 17 Jan expressed concern over growing violence from paramilitary successor groups after at least 36 people killed in Córdoba department early month; govt deployed 1,300 security forces in response.

Colombia

  |  3 Jan 2011

Unchanged

Supreme Court 2 Dec elected Viviane Morales new attorney general; post had been vacant for 16 months. FARC 8 Dec announced unilateral release of 5 hostages; President Santos accepted ex-senator Piedad Cordoba as facilitator along with govt representative to coordinate release. Govt 10 Dec suspended governor of Magdalena department in context of corruption investigation; Santos 20 Dec appointed ex-army chief to fill position. House of Representatives 13 Dec approved Victims Law providing reparations to victims of guerrillas, paramilitaries and state agents; law yet to be approved by Senate. Relations with Ecuador formally restored (see Ecuador); U.S. 23 Dec extended trade preferences for Colombia, Ecuador for 6 weeks.

Colombia

  |  1 Dec 2010

Unchanged

President Santos and Ecuadorean President Correa 26 Nov agreed to re-establish ties (see Ecuador). Constitutional Court 23 Nov overturned law halting prosecution of low-level demobilised paramilitaries and guerrillas; suspension could potentially force attorney general to open tens of thousands of new cases. Govt 29 Nov responded presenting bill to create truth commission. Santos and Venezuelan President Chávez met in Caracas 2 Nov to discuss strengthening economic ties, agreed on closer cooperation in fight against drug-trafficking. Panama 19 Nov granted political asylum to former head of govt intelligence agency DAS implicated in illegal wiretapping scandal; Colombian govt, victims’ organisations criticised. Santos 3 Nov presented new shortlist of attorney general candidates after nearly a year without incumbent; decision applauded by rights advocates, criticised by supporters of his predecessor. Following corruption revelations, Santos 12 Nov ordered takeover of Fondelibertad, govt agency charged with fighting kidnapping and victim support; 3 Nov ordered takeover of National Narcotics Office. Army 15 Nov bombarded FARC camp in Nariño department leaving 14 dead.

Colombia

  |  1 Nov 2010

Unchanged

Congress’ Accusation Commission 12 Oct opened preliminary investigation of ex-President Uribe’s alleged involvement in illegal wiretapping of journalists and opposition by govt intelligence agency DAS; public prosecutor 4 Oct imposed sanctions against 9 former high-ranking officials connected to scandal. President Santos 21 Oct initiated national “shock plan” to redistribute land to victims of conflict, aimed at restituting 312,000ha by April 2011; measures came parallel to debate over “land law” in congress. Senate 26 Oct unanimously confirmed suspension of pro-govt senator Javier Cáceres in first application of “empty chair” policy sanctioning senators linked with illegal armed groups.



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