In November 2016, the government and FARC rebels signed an agreement ending five decades of guerrilla war, yet peace remains elusive as new armed groups have stepped in to compete for territory and illicit businesses. To defend the gains of the peace process and stop a new cycle of conflict from taking hold, the state must redress the inequality underlying social discontent, make peace with Colombia’s last major insurgency, the ELN, and design security strategies that put protecting people first. 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 new patterns of armed conflict to Colombia’s relations with its troubled neighbour, Venezuela. 

CrisisWatch Colombia

Improved Situation

Govt’s landmark ceasefire with National Liberation Army (ELN) took effect, marking important step forward in President Petro’s “total peace” efforts; govt announced negotiations with FARC dissidents will begin in Sept.

Bilateral ceasefire with ELN commenced. 180-day ceasefire between ELN and state security forces — longest bilateral ceasefire ever concluded with guerrilla group – 3 Aug got under way, marked by ceremony in capital Bogotá. Parties same day inaugurated public participation mechanism with 81 national delegates who are meant to organise several dozen regional consultations; purpose of consultations unclear. Govt and ELN negotiators 14 Aug began fourth round of talks in Venezuelan capital Caracas. Despite progress, Attorney General Francisco Barbosa 8 Aug alleged guerrillas planned to assassinate him, which ELN next day denied. UN Security Council 2 Aug expanded UN mission mandate to include monitoring of ELN ceasefire and expressed willingness to consider covering potential future agreement with Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) dissidents.

String of attacks by FARC dissident faction threatened progress toward talks. Petro administration 12 Aug announced it would begin formal peace negotiations with dissident FARC faction known as FARC-EP Estado Mayor Central (FARC-EMC) on 17 Sept, likely in Caquetá department (south). Group launched series of attacks in Cauca department (west). Notably, FARC-EMC 12 Aug killed three police officers in Morales town; several car bombs 13 Aug killed police officer in Buenos Aires town; local Indigenous communities reported at least five assassinations 12-13 Aug; and attack 24 Aug on police station in Santander de Quilichao town wounded four. Attacks follow 1 Aug video circulated by group naming ceasefire with military as first priority in talks and saying it would not consider wider cessation of hostilities; Petro 14 Aug stated that govt would seek cessation of hostilities against civilian population before agreeing to ceasefire.

In other important developments. Official campaigning for Oct local elections began amid concerns poll may escalate political tensions in conflict-affected regions as armed and criminal groups seek to assert influence. Petro’s son, charged with money laundering, 3 Aug reportedly said some of these dubious funds financed president’s 2022 election campaign.

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In The News

8 Feb 2023
None of the armed groups [in Colombia] will give up anything significant unless they are under military pressure. The Economist

Elizabeth Dickinson

Senior Analyst, Colombia
1 Nov 2022
Indigenous communities have suffered disproportionately from targeted violence, displacement and massacres throughout Colombia’s conflict. Al Jazeera

Elizabeth Dickinson

Senior Analyst, Colombia

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Elizabeth Dickinson

Senior Analyst, Colombia
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