Entries with label farc .

The group reaches 2,000 members, including demobilized elements returning to arms and new recruits.

  • Coordination between FARC remnants and ELN detected, with participation of "demobilized" members of the old guerrilla leadership such as Iván Márquez.

  • Iván Duque's government reacts to U.S. pressure with committed eradication of 70,000 hectares of coca crops

  • The highest concentration of coca production on the border with Ecuador pours violence on this country, where throughout 2018 "El Guacho", ex-FARC, was active.

Walter Patricio Arizala, alias "El Guacho", before falling in a Colombian Army operation.

▲ Walter Patricio Arizala, alias "el Guacho", before falling in a Colombian Army operation.

report SRA 2019 / María Gabriela Fajardo[PDF Version].

The doubt that existed when in December 2016 the Colombian peace agreement was signed, about whether the dissidence of the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) would be something residual or rather would reach a certain entity, assuming a clear security problem, has been cleared. The dissidents have been growing in issue progressively and throughout 2018 they have consolidated in their criminal activity.

In the first half of 2017, some 6,800 FARC guerrillas were demobilized following the submission of nearly 9,000 weapons. The government estimated that of the total number of FARC troops, some 400 fighters (a residual 5%) would likely refuse to follow the instructions of the guerrilla leadership. In November 2017, on the first anniversary of the signature of the Havana agreement , the Peace and Reconciliation Foundation published a report estimating that the dissidence had reached around 700 members. In February 2018 the Ideas for Peace Foundation raised the figure to between 1,000 and 1,500. At the end of 2018 two intelligence reports, both disseminated by Colombian media that claimed to have had access to their contents, placed the dissident bulk between 1,750 and 3,000 troops.

The maximum figure in this range was established by a report released in October, of which hardly any details were given, while the lowest was provided by an alleged document from the Defense department sent to congress and revealed in December. The latter fixed the issue number of members of all illegal groups in the country at 7,260, of which 2,206 belonged to the ELN (National Liberal Army, the last guerrilla as such still active in Colombia), 1,749 to the FARC dissidence and 1,600 to the Clan del Golfo, an organized crime group . If both estimates on the size of the dissidence really come from government agencies, we would be facing a lack of contrasted information on the part of the State, although everything could be due to the fact that the reports were elaborated at different times, besides not corresponding to the time of their diffusion in the media.

In view of the evolution of the phenomenon, it would probably not be wrong to think that at the beginning of 2019 the issue number of FARC dissidents may be around 2,000. This volume includes both people who never demobilized, as well as former combatants who took up arms again in the face of the difficulties encountered in the transition to civilian life and also new recruits.


With the political banner transferred to the new Revolutionary Alternative Force of the Commons (which thus maintains the FARC acronym), the dissidents no longer have the narrative of social struggle that previously accompanied the activities they continue to carry out: drug trafficking, smuggling, extortion and other illicit businesses. So they have become another example of organized crime, articulated in different groups that, although they are converging, do not have the hierarchical structure of the old guerrilla leadership.

The leadership could be strengthened if some of the leaders who have expressed disagreement with the implementation of the peace process and have disappeared for some time, such as Iván Márquez, return to the guerrillas. For the moment, in any case, what is being observed is rather an organizational confluence with the ELN. Thus, several media outlets published in December 2018 about that coordination, aimed especially at getting cocaine shipments out through Venezuela, a country where the ELN has increased its activity. Army commanders have confirmed this cooperation. A high-level meeting would have involved, in addition to Iván Márquez, other FARC leaders who had supposedly laid down their arms, such as El Paisa and Romaña.

These contacts took place after the talks between the government and the ELN, opened on Ecuadorian soil to explore a peace agreement , were suspended in September by decision of President Iván Duque when no progress was made and it was understood that, in reality, the ELN were getting stronger, occupying territories formerly controlled by the FARC. The dialogue was broken off following the ELN attack against the General Santander National Police Cadet School in Bogota on January 17, 2019, which left 21 dead and 80 wounded.

On the other hand, the demobilization of the FARC, although incomplete as we can see, has given rise to the presence in Colombia of Mexican cartels, which are thus trying to extend their dominance to cocaine production sites as well, something that has been highlighted by the Attorney General of the nation.


Map 1: yellow, FARC front that did not accept the agreement peace agreement; pink, deserters who did not join agreement. 

Map 2: blue, ELN presence in municipalities formerly controlled by FARC; red, municipalities formerly controlled by FARC.


Coca and domain disputes

Among the priorities of the new government of Iván Duque, who became position president of the country in August 2018, has been to try to reduce the high production of coca leaf and cocaine, which in recent years has seen a sharp increase. Between 2013 and 2017, the issue of hectares with coca bush rose from 48,000 to 171,000 hectares, according to The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. The United States makes those estimates up ward for the same period: from 80,500 to 209,000 hectares (the latter figures would have meant a jump in potential cocaine production from 235 to 921 tons).

The outgoing government of Juan Manuel Santos committed in March 2018 to the eradication guide of 70,000 hectares of coca bush over the course of the year (compared to the 52,000 that, according to Colombian authorities, were eradicated in 2017), in the framework of a five-year plan agreed with the United States, whose Administration had complained about the substantial increase in cocaine production in the country in recent years. The Colombian Ministry of Defense announced that as of June 2018, 42,000 hectares had been voluntarily replaced, according to the latest report of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, which, for its part, certified that between May 2018 and January 2019, almost 35,000 hectares had been eradicated. These figures represent over 90% compliance with the Comprehensive National Program for the Substitution of Illicitly Used Crops (PNIS) at various Departments. However, the urgency to achieve the objectives of reducing production space could be leading to forced eradication, not followed by other plantings, which in the medium term deadline could mean a return to coca cultivation.

In 2018, the murders of social leaders and human rights defenders continued to increase, amounting to a record issue of 164. According to the Ombudsman's Office, from the beginning of 2016 to the end of 2018, more than 420 activists who developed a leadership role in different communities in the country were killed. This violence is related to the territorial reorganization of criminal groups. There was particular incidence in some Departments of access to the Pacific, such as Cauca and Nariño, where a higher concentration of cocaine production and the initial demobilization of the FARC caused tensions between criminal organizations to ensure dominance of the territory. These frictions caused casualties among community leaders who wanted to free themselves from the control that cartels and criminal groups had been exerting. Meanwhile, a total of 85 former FARC members were killed since the signature of the peace agreement , as recorded in the 2018report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Colombia.

Increased criminal activity in the border area with Ecuador, with a cocaine export hub in the port of Tumaco, has led to violence spilling over to the other side of the border. In early 2018 several attacks on Ecuadorian police and army installations, as well as several kidnappings, were attributed to FARC dissidents led by "el Guacho." Colombia and Ecuador proceeded to increase the deployment of soldiers along the border to address status. In December 2018 "el Guacho" was killed in Nariño by a Colombian Army unit.

Categories Global Affairs: Security and defence Articles Latin America

The change of government and its stricter vision have slowed down the implementation of agreement, but it is making progress in its application.

The implementation of the agreement peace agreement in Colombia is proceeding more slowly than those who signed it two years ago expected, but there has not been the paralysis or even the crisis predicted by those who opposed the election of Iván Duque as president of the country. The latest estimate speaks of a compliance with the stipulations of the peace agreement agreement close to 70%, although the remaining 30% is already not being complied with.

Colombian President Iván Duque at a public event [Efraín Herrera-Presidencia].

▲ Colombian President Iván Duque at a public event [Efraín Herrera-Presidencia].

article / María Gabriela Fajardo

Iván Duque arrived at the Casa de Nariño - the seat of the Colombian presidency - with the slogan "Peace with Legality", degree scroll that synthesized his commitment to implement the peace agreement , signed in November 2017, but reducing the margins of impunity that in his opinion and that of his party, the Democratic Center, existed for the former combatants of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). One year after his election as president, it is worth analyzing how the implementation of the peace agreement agreement is going.

agreement About 70% of the provisions of agreement have already been fulfilled, totally or partially, or will be fulfilled within the stipulated time, according to the estimate of high school Kroc, in charge of making the official estimate of the implementation of the peace process. According to its third report, published in April, 23% of the commitments have been completely fulfilled, 35% have reached advanced levels of implementation, and 12% are expected to be completely fulfilled by the stipulated time. However, almost 31% of the content of the agreement has not yet begun to be implemented, when it should have been underway.

The United Nations, to which the agreement grants a supervisory role, has underlined the efforts made by the new Government to activate the various instances provided for in the text. In his report to committee Security, the University Secretary of the UN, António Guterres, highlighted at the end of 2018 the launching of the Commission for the Follow-up, Promotion and Verification of the Implementation of the Final agreement (CSIVI) and of the committee National Commission for Reincorporation (CNR).

As indicated by Raúl Rosende, chief of staff of the UN Verification mission statement in Colombia, Guterres' report positively estimated that it had "obtained the approval of 20 collective projects and 29 individual projects of ex-combatants in the process of reincorporation, valued at 3.7 million dollars and which will benefit a total of 1,340 ex-combatants, including 366 women". These projects have involved the participation of the governments of Antioquia, Chocó, Cauca, goal, Santander, Sucre and Valle del Cauca, which have facilitated departmental reincorporation roundtables to coordinate local and regional efforts, thus involving Colombian civil society to a greater extent.

The UN has also expressed some concerns, shared by Colombian civil society. The main one has to do with security in some of the historical conflict zones where a high issue number of social leaders have been killed. The murders have been concentrated in Antioquia, Cauca, Caquetá, Nariño and Norte de Santander. Thus, throughout 2018 at least 226 social leaders and Human Rights defenders were killed, according to data of the high school of programs of study for development and Peace(Indepaz). The Ombudsman's Office put the figure at 164.

In addition, as Rosende has recalled, many of the indigenous communities have suffered assassinations, threats and forced displacement. This has occurred in ethnic territories of the Awá, Embera Chamí and Nasa peoples in Caldas, Cauca, Chocó, Nariño and Valle del Cauca.

Along with the successes and concerns, the UN also points to a series of challenges that lie ahead in the post-conflict period. On the one hand, there is the challenge of guaranteeing former combatants the necessary legal security, generating confidence and producing real progress in terms of social and political reintegration. Another great challenge is to achieve the autonomous and effective functioning of mechanisms core topic such as the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) and the Commission for the Clarification of Truth, Coexistence and Non-Repetition or Truth Commission. In addition, there is also the social challenge to attend to the communities affected by the conflict, which demand security, Education, health, land, infrastructure and viable alternatives against illegal economies.

Controversial aspects

Issues related to the SJP have been the focus of Duque's most controversial actions. In March, the president presented formal objections to the law regulating the SJP, which he wants to modify six points of its 159 articles. Two of them refer to the extradition of former combatants, something that is not contemplated now if they collaborate with the transitional justice system, especially in the case of crimes committed after the signature of agreement. Duque also proposes a constitutional reform that excludes sexual crimes against minors from the JEP, determines the loss of all benefits if there is recidivism in a crime and transfers to the ordinary justice system the cases of illegal conducts started before the agreement and continued after. The objections were rejected in April by the House of Representatives and also by the Senate, although the validity of the result in the latter was left in question, thus lengthening the discussion.

A new controversy may arise when the Territorial Spaces of training and Reincorporation (ETCR) are to be closed in August. Around 5,000 ex-combatants are still in or around them. The High Counselor for the Post-Conflict, Emilio Archila, has stated that by that time, with the financial aid of the FARC (the political party that succeeded the guerrilla) and the Government, the ex-combatants must have work, be clear about what their residency program will be and be prepared for reincorporation into civilian life.

Within the reincorporation process, the lack of compliance by FARC leaders with their commitment, stipulated in the peace agreement agreement , to remain until the end in the ETCRs in order to contribute with their leadership to the smooth running of the process, is a cause for concern. However, in recent months, several leaders have left these territories, among them "El Paisa", who has not presented himself before the JEP, which has demanded his capture.

Nor is former ringleader Ivan Marquez cooperating with the transitional justice system, successively delaying his appearance before the JEP citing security concerns. Márquez has cited the murder of 85 former guerrillas since the signature of the peace agreement , and has accused the government of serious failures to comply.

There is also the case of Jesús Santrich, who like Márquez had acquired a seat in the congress thanks to the implementation of the peace process. Santrich has been detained since April 2018 based on an Interpol red notice at the request of the United States, which accuses him of the shipment of 10 tons of cocaine made after the signature of the agreement peace .

A topic quite addressed from the time of the negotiations has to do with forced eradication and crop spraying. The illicit crop substitution program began to yield results in 2018, resulting in thousands of peasant families agreeing with the government to replace their coca crops with other licit crops. Although in some Departments such as Guaviare there was voluntary crop eradication, this was not enough to offset the increase in plantings in 2016 and 2017. In 2018, close to 100,000 families - responsible for just over 51,000 hectares of coca - signed substitution agreements and this issue is expected to continue to increase throughout 2019. According to the Colombian government, citing figures from the U.S. State Department's department , more than 209,000 hectares of coca leaf have been planted, far more than in the era of Pablo Escobar, according to figures presented by President Iván Duque last month before the Constitutional Court.

The benefits of peace are indisputable and much remains to be done to consolidate it. It is a task that cannot be left in the hands of the Government alone, but requires the support of former combatants, their former leaders and civil society. The great challenge is to accelerate the implementation of agreement and reduce political polarization, all in the search for national reconciliation.

Categories Global Affairs: Security and defence Articles Latin America


The report American Regional Security (ARS) that we are launching has the purpose to address annually the most recent threats to the security of American countries. It deals with a space that is largely the security region of the United States, so that many aspects transcend the national sphere and become a geopolitical consideration. The security of the Western Hemisphere is therefore also the concern of the European Union or Spain, which have an interest in stability and prosperity on the other side of the Atlantic. Our SRA is a radar-like sweep of the most significant issues that have occurred in this field over the past year.

AMERICAN REGIONAL SECURITY, report 2019Open the full PDF of the report [pdf. 19,7MB] [pdf. 19,7MB


summary EXECUTIVE[PDF version].

The present global geopolitical tension is being played out in the near abroad of the three major powers. This term applies specifically to the space that was once part of the USSR and now surrounds Russia: the Kremlin's foreign policy is aimed both at securing its influence in these areas and preventing some of them from becoming the pawns of others. But such a struggle, like the one occurring in Ukraine or the Baltic republics, is also taking place in China's near abroad: the East and South China Seas. And similarly, albeit with less drama, the geopolitical game has also reached that near abroad of the United States, which goes beyond the backyard of the Greater Caribbean and could extend at least as far as the Equator.

Over the past year the security region of states has fully entered this new phase of acute geopolitics. This is due in particular to Russia's increased presence in the region, especially in Venezuela, where economic aid has in recent months given way to a succession of military gestures that defy the US. Furthermore, the agreement signed by Cuba to install a Glonass station, the Russian satellite navigator, raises the possibility that Moscow may once again want to use the island for intelligence work, as in the Cold War. Similar suspicions exist regarding a station already opened in Managua, where a Russian-run police academy has also been viewed with suspicion by the Pentagon.


Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, July 2018 [Shealah Craighead].

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, July 2018 [Shealah Craighead].


Alongside such Russian activity in the region, Washington sometimes places China's activity in the region. While not seeking to anger the US, as can be attributed to the Kremlin's desire to reciprocate the pressure it has received in Ukraine, Beijing's commercial moves are perceived by the Americans as unfriendly. This is especially true in Central America, where in a few years China has been displacing the peculiar influence of Taiwan, which in 2018 lost the support of El Salvador and the Dominican Republic. Throughout the year, various US authorities expressed discomfort with China's position-taking in the Panama Canal area. Moreover, after a 2016 with hardly any loans to Venezuela and a blank 2017, Beijing granted in 2018 a 5 billion dollar loan to the Chavista regime (now 67.2 billion dollars).

The Venezuelan crisis is not only generating friction between the three main powers, but is also a source of insecurity for the surrounding countries. The space that Maduro's government has continued to give to Colombian guerrillas has contributed to the fact that 2018 can be considered the year of consolidation of the criminal activity of FARC dissidents, at partnership with the ELN, a guerrilla group that is still active as such and is also increasing its radius of action in Venezuela. The last year also saw a strengthening of the ELN, which, following the failure of its negotiations with the government, carried out an attack in Bogotá in January 2019, causing 21 deaths. FARC dissidents numbered around 2,000 at the end of 2018, including demobilised elements returning to arms as well as new recruits. Their coca production activity, concentrated in southwestern Colombia, spilled over into violence across the border with Ecuador in 2018, in part because of the activity of "el Guacho", a former FARC member eventually killed by Colombian security forces.

The worsening of the Venezuelan status , on the other hand, has reduced surveillance at sea, increased corruption of maritime authorities and coastal municipalities, and pushed the inhabitants of these localities to seek livelihoods. As a result, episodes of piracy off the coasts of Venezuela and its eastern neighbours have increased markedly. In a single attack in April 2018 in Surinamese waters, fifteen Guyanese fishermen were killed, while the authorities of Trinidad and Tobago decided to create an elite air unit to combat these actions.

It is not the only special alert in Trinidad and Tobago. The outflow of ISIS jihadists that is resulting from the pacification of Syria has put both Washington and Port of Spain on guard against the possible return to the Caribbean country of those who went to fight in the Middle East. Trinidad and Tobago was the nation that sent proportionally the most fighters to Syria: a total of 130, out of a population that may reach two million, of whom barely five per cent are Muslim. Authorities arrested four suspected jihadists in February 2018 for planning an attack on the capital's carnival. Urged by the US, which fears the spread of Trinidadian extremists in the region, the island government developed a new counter-terrorism strategy in 2018.

International success in ending the ISIS 'caliphate' thus shifts the risk to other parts of the world. The Trump Administration's pressure on Iran may also be encouraging greater Hizbollah activity in certain enclaves of South America - such as the TBA - to compensate for the reduction in funding that could result from the effectiveness of US sanctions on Tehran. In any case, 2018 saw a revival of the White House's interest in disrupting the drug trafficking, money laundering and smuggling networks carried out by Hezbollah operatives in Latin America: the Justice department reconstituted a specific research unit and the State department labelled group, already classified by the US as a terrorist organisation, as a transnational criminal organisation. Last year also saw a leap in the cooperation of the three TBA countries - Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay - which led to the arrest of Assad Ahmad Barakat, a major Hizbollah financial operator, and some 15 members of his clan.

While migration issues are constantly topical in the Americas, 2018 can be described as "the year of the caravans", due to the various marches that left Honduras for the US border and which met with a harsh response from the Trump Administration. One of the controversial aspects was the denunciation of the possible use of these marches by alleged Islamic extremists in order to reach the US unnoticed. What is certain is that Washington has been paying attention to the Central American route of people from other continents.

Thus, in 2018 it agreed to help Panama increase control of the Darién crossing, a jungle region on the border with Colombia where almost 9,000 migrants were located that year, 91% of them Africans and Asians. Of these, 2,100 entered the US grade as 'persons of concern' (from Bangladesh, Eritrea, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, among other countries).

The region has also seen some progress, such as halting the rise in opioid overdose deaths in the United States, an epidemic that set a record high in 2017. Throughout 2018, the eradication of poppy crops in Mexico, whose B increase in heroin production had pushed up consumption in the US (mixed with the synthetic fentanyl, mostly also coming through Mexico), and greater legislative and sanitary control by the US authorities, seem to show signs that the problem has stopped growing.

Categories Global Affairs: North America Security and defense Latin America Reports

signature of the agreement in Cartagena, in September 2016, before the referendum that rejected it and led to some modifications to the text [Government of Chile]

▲signature of the agreement in Cartagena, in September 2016, before the referendum that rejected it and led to some modifications to the text [Government of Chile]

ANALYSIS / Camila Oliveros

The agreement The peace agreement signed on November 26, 2016 between the Colombian government and the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) is one of the most decisive issues in the elections of June 17, in its second round, and of the next presidential term.

After lengthy negotiations between the government and the FARC in Havana, and the introduction of modifications to the text initially agreed, following the triumph of the "no" vote in the plebiscite, the agreement The peace agreement was finally signed in November 2016. The long duration of the negotiations and the result of the plebiscite show that the agreement The 52-year conflict has resulted in the deaths of 220,000 people and the forced displacement of nearly 6 million, as well as 25,000 disappeared and nearly 30,000 kidnapped.

Clearly, all Colombians yearn for a lasting peace, but while some believe that what was drafted in Havana is the solution to achieve that peace, others believe that several modifications can still be made to the text. The decision on that and on the speed of the implementation of the agreement it is in the hands of the next president.

Degree Implementation

For now, after more than a year of the signature of the agreement In the end of the Conflict, both negative and positive elements can be highlighted in the implementation of what was agreed in Havana. According to the Observatory for Monitoring the Implementation of the agreement at the beginning of 2018, before the country entered the long electoral process in which it finds itself, only 18.3% of the agreement. That's a relatively small number. leave, which may be partly due to insufficient financial and human resources to implement the agreements quickly and effectively, rather than a lack of commitment on the part of the Government.

However, in the face of this low percentage of what has already been implemented, there are other figures that show that the agreement It's having some positive results. This is the case of the decrease in the homicide rate in Colombia. This became one of the lowest in thirty years, with 24 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants. In addition, the issue The number of displaced persons fell by almost half, from 91,045 displaced persons in 2016 to 48,335 in 2017, according to the Victims Unit. The issue The number of displaced persons had already been declining significantly in previous years, even at a faster rate: in 2002 the figure had been 757,240; in the following 14 years there was a decrease of 47,598 people on an annual average, including the 8 years of the presidency of Álvaro Uribe, who has been the great opponent of the terms of the agreement of peace.

Also the issue The number of victims of landmines has decreased, from 72 in 2016 to 58 in 2017, which has helped to generate a climate of greater trust in rural communities.

It is important to note that in the areas that had been most affected by the armed conflict, agreement with the provisions of the agreement It has been possible to set up new companies that benefit from the mechanisms envisaged for the "areas most affected by the armed conflict" or Zomac. However, these companies find themselves in a complicated environment, because although the FARC has completed the various phases of its demobilization, such as the submission and the return of recruited minors, FARC dissidents and other drug trafficking groups continue to operate in various areas.

Although there has been some progress, most of the implementation of the agreement. How do the two presidential candidates, Iván Duque and Gustavo Petro, deal with it?

Duque or Petro

Iván Duque is a lawyer and politician who has been a senator of the Republic for the Democratic Center, a party headed by former President Uribe, a great opponent of the agreement of peace. That has led many to think that if Duque becomes president, he will leave the agreement of Havana, without complying with it in his four years in office. His proposal is aimed at improving the Economics, reducing taxes on large companies, financing young entrepreneurship and prioritizing investment. In addition, it promotes a major reform of the Colombian justice system.

Gustavo Petro is an economist and politician, but he is also a demobilized member of the M-19 guerrilla group. He is from the center-left Progressive Movement political party. Petro proposes a model that focuses on "changing the model extractivist approach" and to promote agricultural policies. The central axes of its proposal are in the public sphere, fully guaranteed the rights to health, Education "quality, pluralistic, universal and free".

Colombia has never chosen a candidate He is a leftist to be president of the Republic, perhaps because the left is identified with communism and that associates it with the FARC. In any case, Petro has not been against the Havana agreements, and that makes him attractive to many Colombians who want to preserve what was agreed in 2016, in the hope of ending the armed conflict experienced by the country.

The truth is that it is difficult to legally go back on the agreement A constitutional reform established that the next three governments are obliged to comply with the agreement. If Duque wins, the agreement of peace may be subject to further changes, but in no way is Duque synonymous with war and Petro synonymous with peace. 

As Duque has said, making certain modifications to the agreements is not ending them. The candidate of the Democratic Center maintains that the agreement It must have certain adjustments that allow for the achievement of a peace that is "credible, sustainable and based on justice". Of agreement With his proposals, the main changes he would promote would be the following two:

Special Jurisdiction and Political Participation

The first has to do with the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), since Iván Duque in his government plan seeks to simplify the Colombian justice system, going from the current six courts to just one, with the aim of simplifying the Colombian justice system. purpose to achieve greater speed and efficiency in judicial processes. However, with this change, power can be seen as highly concentrated and centralized. A modification of the JEP provided for in the agreement The peace crisis may cause some uncertainty among the former guerrillas, with whom a certain leniency had been agreed.

On the other hand, the big change that Duque could make has to do with political participation. He believes that former FARC members who have been responsible for crimes against humanity cannot be brought to justice. congress without having served a sentence. Duque assures that he does not seek to do away with point 2 of the agreement of peace, which talks about the political participation of former guerrillas in the congress. If a member of the congress A conviction for such a crime is upheld subject, he should leave his seat and be replaced by someone of his own group that he does not have any crimes against humanity.

Although in the event of winning the elections, Gustavo Petro will not propose special modifications to the agreements, whoever the next president is will have serious challenges in relation to the peace process.


Party in Tolima in memory of the victims of the conflict [Victims Unit]

Party in Tolima in memory of the victims of the conflict [Victims Unit]


Most Important Challenges in the Next Presidential Term

The presence of FARC dissidents in border areas of the country is one of the challenges that the next president will face; Not only because of security issues, but also because of its link to drug production, which has increased by 52%. The Government is aware that about 10 per cent of the FARC fighting force has remained in the armed struggle, representing a total of at least 700 individuals, although other entities even double that figure. This dissident group is active in fifteen different groups, which have been concentrated in areas of the country such as Nariño, Norte de Santander and Cauca. In addition, another of the armed groups, the ELN (National Liberation Army), has begun to increase its presence in certain border areas, such as Norte de Santander. This not only poses a threat to Colombian security, but could also trigger a war between guerrilla groups and organized crime for control of the illegal coca production and drug trafficking business.

Faced with the continued presence of armed groups in part of Colombian territory, both candidates defend the increase in military personnel in conflict zones. However, in the face of the eradication of illegal crops, Iván Duque advocates the use of glyphosate, a strong herbicide whose employment it is rejected by Gustavo Petro on the grounds of its environmental effects. The use of this chemical, which is controversial in Colombia, could be seen as an effective way to eradicate illicit crops if their contamination is counteracted, for example, by planting new trees in areas where coca production can be eradicated. In any case, some environmentalists have used the negative image of glyphosate to ask for a vote for Petro in the second round of elections.

Another of the great challenges that the next president is going to face is the topic of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace. The JEP is a body that is in charge of judging former guerrillas. It has judicial powers and "represents the backbone of the agreements signed". It is composed of five organs, each responsible for ensuring that essential parts of the agreement: "The conference room of Truth and Responsibility, the conference room of Amnesty and Pardon, the conference room Definition of Legal Situations, the research and indictment, and the tribunal for peace." The JEP is a complex body that depends especially on the progress of the peace process. In fact, one of the reasons for the major delays in the implementation of the agreement It has been slow in the constitution of this institution, which did not begin to function until last January. However, the obstacles suffered by the JEP have not only had to do with lack of activity, but also with issues such as the case of Jesús Santrich.

Santrich, one of the guerrilla leaders, who was a negotiator in Havana on behalf of the FARC and received one of the positions assigned to the new party in the congress, was arrested in April on charges of participating in a scheme to bring 10 tons of cocaine into the United States. Based on a research of the DEA, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. judicial authorities requested his arrest and are now awaiting his extradition. However, considering that all FARC members must be tried by the JEP, and that this body does not contemplate extradition, Jesús Santrich could not be handed over to the United States. In addition, at the moment there is no evidence of when the alleged drug trafficking crimes were committed, so for now it has not been possible to determine whether they occurred before or after the creation of the JEP. The former guerrilla is imprisoned in a Bogota jail and the FARC insists that he be released. The next president will have to determine how to proceed with the case. This is also a sample that there are gaps in the agreement, which generates a lot of uncertainty and gives room for the next president to take several directions.

Beyond Peace

On June 17, in the second round of the presidential election between Iván Duque and Gustavo Petro, the future of Colombia will be decided. As much as many Colombians believe that the decision is between war or peace, it is wrong to say this. As discussed above, the agreement It is very difficult to go back legally. The substance of the agreement must be respected by the next three governments. Even if it's true that with the candidate of the Democratic Center in power on agreement may undergo more modifications than would be applied by the candidate of the Progressive Movement, the possibility of consolidating peace remains open with either of them. Beyond peace, what is also at stake is the model of Colombian society. Although peace is one of the most important issues, the next president must not leave behind other important elements such as corruption, security, trade and poverty. Economics in the 2018-2022 presidential term of the Republic of Colombia. Candidates' position on these issues should also influence voters.

Categories Global Affairs: Security & Defense Analysis Latin America