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.
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.
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.
After a crushing defeat in parliamentary elections, Venezuela’s Chavista government needs to move away from confrontation. The executive must join the new legislative majority in a cooperation pact that can lead the country from deadlock to open democracy, and save it from a looming economic and humanitarian disaster.
Alongside Venezuela’s growing political tension, the collapse of the country’s economy and health care system are leading to an equally dangerous social crisis. To stave off a humanitarian disaster that could well turn today’s polarisation violent, Venezuela needs an emergency program, careful reform of price controls, political consensus, and international support.
[The FARC rebel leader] “Pollo” wanted to return to the peace process since at least January, and in March he submitted a list of 333 dissident militia members who wanted to surrender.
The [Venezuelan] government controls nearly all levers of power while the opposition has the support of the voters. That's why the opposition needs to have elections and why the government doesn't.
If you live in a poor area [in Caracas], you have to get up so early in the morning to leave your house – and many robberies and assaults take place in the early dawn.
The ELN [in Colombia] has still not renounced kidnapping. They might kidnap someone else in the future and we'll be back in the same difficulties.
Not everyone is going to be happy, but I still expect there to be a positive reaction in general [to the revised Colombian peace deal]. We do have an agreement, and I would expect there to be more political pressure on the opposition to accept this new agreement as well.
The peaceful electoral solution has been taken off the table so what's left to the opposition is to put as much pressure as they can [on President Maduro of Venezuela] in order to persuade the army to change sides and to invite international pressure.
Since Colombia ratified a revised peace accord to end the country’s long insurgency, FARC rebels have moved rapidly to ad hoc cantonment sites where they will demobilise under UN supervision. But the FARC leadership’s commitment to the deal is under pressure from disparate elements in its rank and file.
Facing social and economic collapse, Venezuela is likely to continue to be Latin America's most urgent crisis in 2017. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2017 annual early-warning report for European policy makers, Crisis Group urges the European Union and its member states to work closely with governments in the region, particularly Caribbean nations with close ties to Caracas, toward the restoration of democracy in Venezuela.
Originally published in Colombia Reports
El anuncio de la instalación de la mesa ha producido mucha expectativa, pero el tiempo para negociar parece ser muy corto y la inmadurez política que ha demostrado esta guerrilla podría complicar aún más el panorama.
Originally published in Razon Publica
Beset by relentless hyperinflation, collapsing public services and increasingly dictatorial rule, Venezuela is at risk of becoming a failed state. The best hope for change lies with neighbouring countries, which must sustain pressure to find a solution.