Colombia

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

Unchanged Situation

Govt renewed ceasefire with FARC dissident faction and resumed talks with ELN, with latter discussions focused on continuation of six-month ceasefire; confrontations between armed groups persisted. 

Govt renewed ceasefire with FARC dissident group. Providing important continuity for Petro’s “total peace” policy, govt and dissident Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) faction known as FARC-EP Estado Mayor Central (FARC-EMC) 14 Jan agreed on six-month extension of bilateral ceasefire. During negotiations in capital Bogotá, parties reiterated commitments to protect civilians, release kidnapped persons and end kidnap-for-ransom, work toward environmental protection, increase community participation in talks and create joint agenda, though specifics remained unclear. In further positive step, govt and rebels 4 Jan inaugurated joint monitoring mechanism that will eventually have national as well as regional chapters, and is intended to receive information about possible ceasefire infractions and prevent or de-escalate clashes. 

Govt and ELN resumed talks but did not agree on six-month ceasefire renewal. Govt negotiations with National Liberation Army (ELN) 22 Jan resumed in Cuban capital Havana; group said it would end kidnappings if ceasefire is renewed, but conditioned on govt filling gap in financing that lack of ransom payments would incur for rebels; sides 29 Jan said they would extend bilateral ceasefire for seven days while they determine if and under what terms to continue truce for another six months. UN 11 Jan presented report to Security Council detailing 170 possible incidents of ceasefire violation from both sides since 30 Nov, though none officially adjudicated. Meanwhile, govt and country’s largest armed organisation, Gaitanista Self Defense Forces, 21 Jan expressed willingness to enter dialogue, though lack of mutual trust could hinder prospects for talks. 

Armed violence between rival groups continued in several regions. ELN and FARC dissident group Segunda Marquetalia 13 Jan announced alliance in Nariño department in apparent attempt to stem advance of FARC-EMC; fighting between these groups in south west displaced at least 3,000 people in first two weeks of Jan. ELN mid Jan clashed with Jaime Martínez faction of FARC-EMC on southern outskirts of Colombia’s largest port city, Buenaventura, Valle del Cauca department, displacing and confining hundreds. Fighting between Gaitanistas and ELN in Chocó confined 9,000 families.

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In The News

21 lut 2024
The trend of violence against ex-combatants [in Colombia] is a strong deterrent to disarmament. AP

Elizabeth Dickinson

Senior Analyst, Colombia
7 lut 2024
Violence in Colombia has long come from combats between illegal groups, and from the pressure they exert on civilians. AP

Elizabeth Dickinson

Senior Analyst, Colombia
5 lut 2024
State presence [in Panama] overly focuses on border control and does not prioritise the protection of migrants. The Guardian

Bram Ebus

Consultant
9 lis 2023
The ELN [in Colombia] has made very clear they have no intention of ceasing their economic activities which includes kidnapping. Financial Times

Elizabeth Dickinson

Senior Analyst, Colombia
31 paź 2023
By the time the Colombian state signed a peace accord with the former FARC rebels [in 2016], kidnapping nearly disappeared … But in recent years that trend has reversed. The Sun

Elizabeth Dickinson

Senior Analyst, Colombia
8 lut 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

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Elizabeth Dickinson

Senior Analyst, Colombia
Elizabeth Dickinson

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