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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

Bomb attack at military base injured dozens and helicopter carrying President Duque struck by bullets; National Strike Committee suspended weekly protests. Car bomb 15 June exploded inside military base in Cúcuta city, Norte de Santander department (north east near Venezuelan border), wounding 36 soldiers; Defence Minister Diego Molano Aponte same day blamed National Liberation Army (ELN) or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) dissident factions for attack; ELN next day denied involvement. Unidentified assailants 25 June shot at helicopter transporting Duque and other govt officials to Cúcuta; no casualties reported. Suspected armed groups 27 June killed nine including four police officers in spate of attacks across country. Meanwhile, thousands 2 June marched in capital Bogotá and other cities, renewing calls for reform in security, health and education sectors. Majority of rural protesters and some urban demonstrators early June complied with National Strike Committee’s decision to start lifting or loosening blockades in good-will gesture amid stalled talks with govt; blockades however remained in Valle de Cauca department and its capital Cali, in west along Pacific coast. National Strike Committee 6 June pulled out of negotiations with govt, accusing it of delaying talks, while President Duque same day announced plan to reform police, largely made up of institutional changes already under way; Committee 15 June suspended weekly demonstrations, announced it would turn focus on convening local public assemblies and building political consensus, and convened next protest for 20 July. Govt 18 June amended decree on right to peaceful protest to exclude roadblocks, said use of force to remove them legitimate. During Inter-American Commission on Human Rights visit 8-10 June to assess human rights situation in context of protests, local NGOs Temblores and Indepaz reported 69 people killed during protests, including 41 by police; govt confirmed total of 19 deaths, with only four resulting from police brutality. Colombia 21 June reached 100,000 COVID-19 deaths amid peak in cases and warnings of risk of medical supply shortages.
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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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