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Colombia

After four years of up-and-down negotiations, the Colombian government and rebel FARC guerrillas signed a peace agreement in November 2016. To implement it, the country must now deploy major financial, institutional and human resources to address the inequalities that sustained the conflict for five decades. Working on the conflict since 2002, Crisis Group has published more than 36 reports and briefings and had over 500 meetings with all parties. We monitor deal implementation and carry out field research on issues ranging from local corruption to drug trafficking and local institutions. We are well-positioned to influence all stakeholders in the peace process in order to support sustainable and inclusive peace efforts in Colombia.   

CrisisWatch Colombia

Unchanged Situation

Clashes between security forces and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) dissidents continued, while govt’s continued suspension of peace talks with second guerrilla group National Liberation Army (ELN) prompted fears for escalation of violence. In Yarumal, Antioquia province (north west), govt 2 Oct bombed camp supposedly housing FARC’s 36th Front dissident group commander, alias “Cabuyo”, and killed two dissidents in 10 Oct clash, after group killed three employees of mining company 20 Sept. Army 8 Oct captured high-ranking dissident in Arauca (east). Military reported that 40th Front dissidents 15 Oct killed two soldiers in La Macarena, Meta province (south), while dissidents also attacked army in police barracks in Cauca (south west) 10 Oct. With govt-ELN negotiations still suspended, spate of attacks attributed to ELN during month reinforced fears that talks may collapse completely. Kidnap of five-year old son of mayor 3 Oct in town of El Carmen, Catatumbo (north east), caused outrage, with many believing ELN responsible; child released 9 Oct. Govt continued to demand ELN release remaining hostages (reportedly numbering ten) before talks resume; however full number of kidnapped unknown, eight presumed dead. ELN 18 Oct suspected of carrying out mass killing of at least sixteen people in Bolívar state in Venezuela, seen as sign of guerrillas’ expanding operations. Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia (AGC) – country’s main drug trafficking group – clashed with splinter group Caparrapos in Antioquia department 28 Sept, displacing over 300 people. Political killings of community activists continued, including murder of women's rights activist Maria Caicedo Muñoz, kidnapped 20 Oct by unidentified assailants and found dead 26 Oct in Rio Macay, Cauca. President Duque continued to call for tougher approach to drug trade and more international support for Colombia to deal with influx of Venezuelan refugees (see Venezuela). Duque also ordered deployment of additional 5,000 troops to Catatumbo, on border with Venezuela, to fight drug trafficking and illegal armed groups.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

29 Jun 2018
It’s essential that the state will take responsibility for [FARC fighters] basic needs so that they can become an integrated part of Colombian society. [The healthcare issue] raises the fundamental question that goes through the whole implementation of the peace process, which is: how much has the Colombian state oversold itself? News Deeply

Ivan Briscoe

Program Director, Latin America and Caribbean
25 Mar 2018
El Eln [colombiano] estuvo en consultas internas hasta el martes pasado y si en esas reuniones acordaron hacer un desescalamiento podríamos estarlo viendo en este momento. Vanguardia

Kyle Johnson

Senior Analyst, Colombia
13 Mar 2018
Increased prices can be charged to [Venezuelan] migrants because of their sheer desire to cross [the border to reach Colombia]. IRIN

Ivan Briscoe

Program Director, Latin America and Caribbean
6 Mar 2018
[Colombia's FARC-EP guerrilla] is one of the few conflicts that has been solved at a negotiating table in recent decades, so I think we really have to support it, and make sure it does not fail. Prensa Latina

Robert Malley

President & CEO
5 Mar 2018
There is a massive diversity of views [in Colombia]. But the sense that only through compromise can you bring about peace tends to be much stronger in those areas that suffered the worst violence. U.S. News

Ivan Briscoe

Program Director, Latin America and Caribbean
2 Mar 2018
[Colombia's FARC leader] Timochenko’s discourse has to do with trying to pressure the government, not only for FARC’s own political game but also because of the elections coming up. Colombia Reports

Kyle Johnson

Senior Analyst, Colombia

Latest Updates

Colombia’s Uneasy Peace and Troubled Borders

President Iván Duque Márquez entered office in August 2018 as armed groups expand and the humanitarian situation in neighbouring Venezuela drives thousands across the border every day. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2018 annual early-warning update for European policy makers, Crisis Group urges the EU to work to shore up the peace agreement and help Colombia respond to the humanitarian emergency.
 

Also available in Español

¿Se puede derrotar militarmente al Eln?

Negociar sigue siendo la mejor opción frente al Eln. Sin embargo, el grupo recientemente ha minado fuertemente la viabilidad política de la negociación en más de una ocasción. Si no se le puede derrotar y no parece querer negociar en serio, ¿qué se debería hacer? 

Originally published in El Espectador

¿Tienen futuro las negociaciones con el ELN?

La decisión del gobierno colombiano de levantarse de la mesa después del atentado en Barranquilla profundiza la crisis del proceso de negociación con el Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN). Las divisiones internas del ELN y el hecho de no pactar otro cese al fuego podrían darle el golpe de gracia a las negociaciones.

Originally published in Razón Pública

Security and Electoral Perils for Colombia’s Peace Accord

Growing distrust of Colombia’s outgoing government combined with deteriorating security in rural areas is undermining faith in the country’s peace accord. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2018, Crisis Group urges the EU and its member states to engage with opposition leaders to discuss the costs of ditching the deal.

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Kyle Johnson

Senior Analyst, Colombia
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