Colombia’s 2016 peace accord has brought over 10,000 FARC fighters to the cusp of civilian life, but in their wake rival armed groups are battling for control of vacated territory and lucrative coca crops. In order to roll back booming drug production and expanding non-state groups, the Colombian government should provide local farmers with alternative livelihoods while developing grassroots security and local governance.
CrisisWatch is a monthly early warning bulletin designed to provide a regular update on the state of the most significant situations of conflict around the world.
Violence is escalating in Venezuela, killing 70 people in over two months of ever-angrier popular protests against a government that is abandoning representative democracy. Regional states should avert a humanitarian catastrophe by pressuring the Maduro regime to withdraw plans to elect a phony constituent assembly on 30 July.
Revised and ratified after its shock rejection in October 2016’s referendum, Colombia’s peace agreement still lacks sustainable political support. Reversing public distrust will need swift and effective implementation of the accord – including full apologies for past crimes and the visible handover of weapons by insurgents.
With a collapsing health care system, sky-rocketing inflation and crippling state controls, Venezuela is beset by unprecedented social and economic crises. To end the root problem of political paralysis, the Chavista government and opposition must use outside-mediated negotiation to restore democratic and responsible economic governance.
To convert August’s historic peace deal into a durable end to 52 years of conflict, the government and FARC rebels must redouble efforts to achieve a full cessation of hostilities, a successful plebiscite, and UN-monitored ceasefire and weapons handover process.
Venezuela is in full-fledged crisis: food and medicine are scarce, violent crime is surging, and the government is blocking democratic ways forward. The international community and the Organization of American States should press for political dialogue, the opening of legal paths to a presidential recall referendum in 2016, and permission for humanitarian aid to enter the country.
La realidad socioeconómica de Colombia no ha cambiado desde la firma del acuerdo [sobre sustitución de la coca formalizado en 2014]. Existen grupos armados interesados en controlar la coca, la minería ilegal o la extorsión.
Antes de[l pacto de alto el] fuego con el gobierno [colombiano], que termina en enero, el [Ejército de Liberación Nacional] se estaba expandiendo hacia nuevas regiones, como el área del Pacífico. Es parte de una estrategia para ganar cierto poder en la mesa de negociación.
[Colombian armed groups] offer quite an outlet for frustrated Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) members, for whom the peace agreements are not living up to expectations.
There is malaria now even in urban areas [of Venezuela]. The government's anti-malaria programme has effectively been dismantled.
It’s very hard to create critical mass [in Venezuela] without being found out. In an era of instant digital communications, authorities can be alerted to the risk of destabilization very quickly.
Should [violent] events recur, Venezuela’s political conflict could morph into a low-intensity civil war.
Over the last seven years, the government of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has worked strenuously to dissociate the country from its image as a cocaine exporter. In 2016, Santos struck a peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the guerrilla group that for years stood watch over coca farms and had become the wholesaler and arbiter of the cocaine trafficking business.
Originally published in Foreign Affairs
One of the most pressing security threats in Colombia following the signing of the the FARC peace agreement is fighting between armed groups trying to gain control over territories and illegal business, such as coca production, previously dominated by the FARC. In this video, Senior Analyst for Colombia Kyle Johnson and Latin America Program Director Ivan Briscoe highlight main findings of Crisis Group's report Colombia’s Armed Groups and the Fight for the Spoils of Peace.
The Venezuelan government has dissolved the elected, opposition-led parliament and initiated de facto rule. Foreign governments and multilateral organisations should regard all government actions carried out in contravention of the 1999 constitution as invalid and press the government to take urgent steps toward the restoration of democracy.
As the Venezuelan government prepares to create an all-powerful constituent assembly to replace the country’s democracy, unrest is likely to reach new levels of violence. In this excerpt from the Watch List 2017 – Second Update early warning report for European policy makers, Crisis Group urges the European Union and its member states to support regional actors’ efforts to bring about genuine negotiations while insisting on the restoration of constitutional rule.
Crisis Group’s second update to our Watch List 2017 includes entries on Nigeria, Qatar, Thailand and Venezuela. These early-warning publications identify conflict situations in which prompt action by the European Union and its member states would generate stronger prospects for peace.