BOGOTA (Reuters) - Thirteen people, including civilians, were killed during a confrontation between Colombia’s ELN rebels and dissidents from the now-demobilized FARC guerrilla group in a remote area known for drug trafficking, the country’s ombudsman said on Tuesday.
The incident took place on Nov. 27 in the southwestern Narino region, a place where crime gangs and rebel groups are known to grow, process and smuggle coca, the base ingredient in cocaine. Reuters
According to the Resource Center For Analysis of Conflicts (CERAC), if it weren't for the peace agreement signed a year ago at the Teatro Colón, about 556 families of humble soldiers would be crying over the graves of their loved ones, and the children of more than 1,500 guerrillas would have been added to the list of orphans of what would already be the longest war in the world. Having saved the lives of almost 3,000 Colombians who were condemned to die should be a moral argument strong enough for all political parties, those on the right, those on the left and those in the center, to shed their egos and defend a peace agreement that successfully ended a war. However, one year after the signing of the peace agreement, the political environment is so polluted that even a stubbornly truthful fact -- recognized by the whole world -- as the disarmament of FARC, is being denied with astonishing ease by a horde of politicians who have turned the peace agreements into the antichrist. María Jimena Duzán, Semana
Big leaps towards lasting peace in Colombia on various fronts. Authorities make progress with the Clan del Golfo, a draft law that constitutionally prohibits paramilitarism is approved, the ELN declared a historic ceasefire and the FARC held their first congress as a political party. Veronika Hoelker, Bogota Post.
It fits the good news that the FARC has declared that it will form a new political party, seemingly completing the transition from violent guerrilla to legal political actor. The question now is whether the Colombian government can fulfil the guarantees it has given the FARC in exchange for disarmament. [...] Colombia’s government and the FARC have tried to make peace before – and various of their efforts have ended in violent tragedy. The peace process in the 1980s was particularly traumatic – so traumatic that courts in Colombia declared that a “political genocide” had been committed against the FARC’s last formally organised party, Unión Patriotica (UP). The Conversation.
"Colombia has set the goal of completing demining efforts by 2021. While the challenge is considerable, the signing of a final peace agreement between the government and the FARC in November 2016 has opened up space for innovation in humanitarian demining, from the introduction of new methods (such as the use of demining rats) to new partnerships, such as that with Brazil, through which Brazilian Marines train Colombian personnel in demining. Most notably, Colombia has an unique military brigade dedicated to demining–the Brigada de Ingenieros de Desminado del Ejército, which works along a specialized Navy unit eight and around nine civilian demining organizations. Although area that are still affected by conflict (including with the second largest Marxist guerrilla group, the Ejército de Liberación Nacional – ELN) are still off limits to humanitarian demining initiatives, these innovations can be considered a source of inspiration for incorporating humanitarian demining into peace processes in Colombia and beyond." Adriana Erthal Abdenur is a fellow at Instituto Igarapé -- ReliefWeb
But for all the speculation among scholars about the FARC's transition from armed rebellion to political party—my own included—the end of the conflict remains uncertain. Colombia's violence was never just about the FARC, and peace won't be either. Fabio Andrés Díaz, Pacific Standard
BOGOTA, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations Mission in Colombia on Friday confirmed it has destroyed the arsenal that once belonged to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla group. The 8,994 pieces of weapons the rebels handed over as part of their peace agreement with the government are to be melted down to make three monuments to peace to be installed in Colombia, UN headquarters in New York, and Cuba, which hosted the negotiations. XinhuaNet
BOGOTA, Colombia — Colombia’s largest guerrilla movement sowed a half-century of fear through kidnappings, bombings, extortion and killings. But in a new era of peace, the battled-scarred leftists are launching a charm offensive — trading their guns and fatigues for the soft-lit ads and sport coats of 21st-century politics. Anthony Faiola, The Washington Post
Last week, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos placed the final padlock on a shipment of weapons formerly belonging to the insurgent organization FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia). Santos called the arms turnover the “last breath” of the 52-year-old internecine conflict. FARC has agreed to disband as a military force and reestablish itself as a legitimate political party. [...] Violence has declined rather significantly throughout Colombia, despite the desire by some groups to carry on their resistance. These smaller rebel groups will likely continue to wreak havoc in some areas. But with their smaller numbers, it is unlikely they will become a potent force to rival FARC. William Tucker, In Homeland Security