In November 2016, the government and FARC rebels signed an agreement ending five decades of guerrilla war, yet peace remains elusive as new armed groups have stepped in to compete for territory and illicit businesses. To defend the gains of the peace process and stop a new cycle of conflict from taking hold, the state must redress the inequality underlying social discontent, make peace with Colombia’s last major insurgency, the ELN, and design security strategies that put protecting people first. Crisis Group has worked on Colombia’s conflicts since 2002, publishing over 40 reports and briefings and meeting hundreds of times with all parties in support of inclusive peace efforts. We monitor the FARC deal’s progress and carry out field research on issues ranging from new patterns of armed conflict to Colombia’s relations with its troubled neighbour, Venezuela.
Migrants from far and wide are trekking northward through the Darién Gap, a dense jungle where they face dangers including criminal predation. Steps to improve law enforcement, ease crises in countries of origin and provide more humanitarian aid would push policy in the right direction.
Peace talks with FARC dissident faction and ELN suffered setbacks, though ceasefires held.
Govt negotiations with FARC dissident faction suffered setback. Fallout from late Oct local elections rocked three-month bilateral ceasefire between govt and dissident Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) faction known as FARC-EP Estado Mayor Central (FARC-EMC). Parties had reached agreement for military presence in El Plateado town, Cauca department (Pacific coast), for election day but disagreed on when military would leave. FARC-EMC’s Carlos Patiño Front, dominant in El Plateado, 5 Nov pressured unarmed civilians to surround soldiers and force them to withdraw, which they did; FARC-EMC same day said it would pull out of negotiations for internal consultations but that bilateral ceasefire would remain. President Petro 7 Nov said pause in violence would only be upheld if dissidents returned to talks; group 17 Nov said it would return to talks with re-configured negotiating team; discussions due to restart early Dec.
Kidnappings strained negotiations with ELN. National Liberation Army (ELN) 2 Nov admitted to kidnapping Luis Manuel Díaz, father of Liverpool footballer Luis Díaz, in Barrancas municipality, La Guajira department (north), 28 Oct and his wife; police same day rescued wife but group held Luis Manuel until 9 Nov, sparking outrage over continued ELN abductions during ceasefire and talks with Petro administration. Govt 9 Nov issued statement urging ELN to stop kidnappings, which group 10 Nov rejected as “blackmail”. Govt 17 Nov announced delay in starting fifth round of talks after ELN failed to respond to govt lead negotiator Otty Patiño’s letter demanding meeting to discuss abductions. Amid public concerns over “total peace” policy, Petro 22 Nov replaced Peace Commissioner Danilo Rueda with Patiño. Meanwhile, ELN 6 Nov declared 72-hour armed strike in parts of Chocó department (Pacific coast) where group is under significant pressure from Gaitanista Self Defence Forces.
In other important developments. Gunmen 12 Nov assassinated second place mayoral candidate in Toribío, Cauca; attack follows late-Oct local elections, which saw significant losses for Petro’s governing coalition and at least 77 protests or riots around voting stations and verification centres.
The ELN [in Colombia] has made very clear they have no intention of ceasing their economic activities which includes kidnapping.
By the time the Colombian state signed a peace accord with the former FARC rebels [in 2016], kidnapping nearly disappeared … But in recent years that trend has reversed.
None of the armed groups [in Colombia] will give up anything significant unless they are under military pressure.
Indigenous communities have suffered disproportionately from targeted violence, displacement and massacres throughout Colombia’s conflict.
In this video, personal narratives from migrants, smugglers, and locals shed light on the perilous journey through the Darién Gap, a treacherous migration route between Central and South America marked by criminal control.
Despite peace talks between the government and armed groups, levels of violence in Colombia remain high. In this excerpt from the Watch List 2023 – Autumn Update, Crisis Group outlines how the EU can promote negotiations and encourage inclusiveness therein.
The Darién – a patch of dense jungle on the strip of land connecting Colombia and Panama – is one of the most treacherous routes in the Americas. In this multimedia commentary, Bram Ebus follows the journey of Yeimy, a Venezuelan migrant, and her sons.
El evento explora los principios de la "paz total" y explica el papel de la comunidad internacional para ayudar a Colombia a abordar la violencia que afecta a la sociedad.
The new Colombian government has resolved to curb violence throughout rural areas where guerrillas and criminals hold sway. Its approach – dialogue and security reform – is admirable but risky. Any deal it strikes should seek to halt all the types of coercion the illicit groups employ.
After a three-year diplomatic conflict between Colombia and Venezuela, Bogotá and Caracas are now resuming relations. Starting in 2019, this timeline presents the events that led to the rupture and the significant steps taken toward rebuilding ties between the two states.
As part of his commitment to bringing “total peace” to Colombia, President Gustavo Petro has inaugurated new talks with the country’s last leftist insurgency. In this Q&A, Crisis Group expert Elizabeth Dickinson explains why this round of negotiations could differ from failed past attempts.
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