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Colombia

In November 2016 the government and FARC rebels signed an agreement ending five decades of guerrilla war. To consolidate this achievement, the state must redress the inequalities that sustained that conflict as well as make peace with Colombia’s last major insurgency, the ELN. 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 ELN talks to drug trafficking to Colombia’s relations with its troubled neighbour, Venezuela. 

CrisisWatch Colombia

Unchanged Situation

Amid implementation of 2016 peace deal’s justice provisions, court ruled case of former army chief charged in false positives scandal should remain with transitional justice tribunal. Attorney general 25 Aug accused former army commander Gen Mario Montoya of overseeing killings of 104 civilians in 2007-2008 as part of “false positives” scandal, during which soldiers murdered civilians and registered them as guerrilla fighters killed in combat; Bogota’s Superior Tribunal 30 Aug however refused to allow trial in ordinary courts, said Montoya is under jurisdiction of special transitional justice tribunal (JEP) created by 2016 peace accord between govt and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). President Duque 3 Aug ratified law creating 16 reserved seats in Congress for victims of decades-long civil conflict, as mandated in 2016 peace deal; seats will be up for election in forthcoming 2022 ballot. In first address to Truth and Reconciliation Commission, non-binding transitional justice body, former President Uribe 16 Aug said he did not recognise legitimacy of commission or any institution deriving from 2016 agreement; also denied responsibility in “false positives” scandal, arguing that while he had demanded strong results, soldiers had “tricked” him with body counts. Two former enemies during civil conflict, former top commander of right-wing paramilitary group Salvatore Mancuso, and former FARC leader Rodrigo Londoño, 4 Aug appeared together before truth commission, apologised to victims for war atrocities. Govt 5 Aug said police had foiled attack by FARC dissident group Segunda Marquetalia in capital Bogotá, detaining two people and seizing explosives; police 4, 16 Aug said authorities had re-activated Interpol Red Notices for four Segunda Marquetalia members, including group’s leader Ivan Marquez, also requested latter’s extradition from Venezuela. Authorities 15 Aug killed Anderson Perlaza Caicedo (alias Borojó), alleged leader of FARC dissident group Guerrillas Unidas del Pacífico in Tumaco town, Nariño department in south. Govt 19 Aug for first time extradited alleged members of National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrilla group to U.S., with two of them due to appear before U.S. federal court on drug trafficking charges. Thousands of U.S.-bound migrants still stranded at month’s end in Necoclí town (Antioquia province).
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Reports & Briefings

In The News

29 May 2021
There is no armed or military solution to this crisis [in Colombia]. But agendas on all sides are increasingly tempted to look for one. Al Jazeera

Elizabeth Dickinson

Senior Analyst, Colombia
6 May 2021
There is no way you could credibly claim that any armed or criminal group is motivating or coercing protesters to the street [in Colombia]. Al Jazeera

Elizabeth Dickinson

Senior Analyst, Colombia
26 Apr 2021
There’s a lot of work to be done to fix social cohesion [in Colombia] because violence is at times the default answer, which is a legacy of so many years of conflict. The Telegraph

Elizabeth Dickinson

Senior Analyst, Colombia
13 Sep 2020
The history in Colombia is when you start a wave of violence it accelerates and it’s very hard to stop. New York Times

Elizabeth Dickinson

Senior Analyst, Colombia
1 Nov 2019
The string of assassinations of indigenous leaders in Cauca illustrates some of the fundamental tensions at the center of the debate about protection for human rights defenders in Colombia. Twitter

Elizabeth Dickinson

Senior Analyst, Colombia
8 Aug 2019
As long as each side [in Venezuela] pursues a winner-take-all approach, they are less willing to make concessions and a deal will remain elusive. Associated Press

Phil Gunson

Senior Analyst, Andes

Latest Updates

The War on Drugs in Colombia’s Countryside

This week, Richard Atwood and Naz Modirzadeh talk to Beth Dickinson, Crisis Group’s Colombia expert, about the violence in Colombia’s countryside over coca production and why the government’s forced eradication of coca is making things worse. 

Deeply Rooted: Coca Eradication and Violence in Colombia

Coca crops have set record yields in Colombia since the 2016 peace accord with FARC guerrillas, persuading the government to expand its forced eradication campaign with the backing of U.S. authorities. Bogotá claims that eliminating the plant will reduce rural violence.

Coca and Violence in Colombia (Online Event)

Online event joining together experts on drug policy from the Washington Office on Latin America's (WOLA), field-level expertise from Corporación Viso Mutop and Crisis Group senior analysts to discuss our new report: "Deeply Rooted: Coca Eradication and Violence in Colombia." 

Deeply Rooted: Coca Eradication and Violence in Colombia

Coca gives Colombian small farmers a stable livelihood but also endangers their lives, as criminals battle over the drug trade and authorities try to shut it down. Bogotá and Washington should abandon their heavy-handed elimination efforts and help growers find alternatives to the hardy plant.

Also available in Español

A Refuge from Violence in a Forgotten Corner of Colombia

Throughout Colombia, social leaders are a staple of community life, providing services and defending rights that the state does not. But these activists face growing dangers from the criminals, ex-paramilitaries and self-styled guerrillas whose rackets they disrupt. This is one woman’s story.

Also available in Español

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Elizabeth Dickinson

Senior Analyst, Colombia
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