The Colombo-Venezuelan Guerrillas: How Colombia’s War Migrated to Venezuela

COLOMBIA / 3 OCT 2022

For twenty years, Venezuela was a refuge for Colombia’s Marxist guerrillas, a place where they could hide out from the military, run criminal economies, and carry out political work with impunity thanks to their friendly relationship with the government of President Hugo Chávez. But today, it is so much more.

Guerrillas such as the ELN have spread deep into Venezuelan territory, they are filling their ranks with recruits, taking control of communities, and interfering in politics. Today, they are binational guerrilla groups.

The product of five years of fieldwork along the Colombia-Venezuela border and beyond, this investigation reveals the Venezuelan operations of Colombia’s guerrillas and explores the far-reaching implications for both countries of their evolution into Colombo-Venezuelan groups.

Chapter 1

Rebels and Paramilitaries: Colombia’s Guerrillas in Venezuela

COLOMBIA / 3 OCT 2022

Colombian rebels had long been welcome in Venezuela but now, they have arrived in force, bringing conflict with them.

Chapter 2

How Venezuela Became a Cemetery for the ex-FARC Mafia Leadership

COLOMBIA / 3 OCT 2022

Colombian guerrillas evolved from seeing Venezuela as a safe place to retreat to seeing it as a full-blown expansion of their criminal activities.

Chapter 3

Pablito’s Plan: Rise of the ELN in Venezuela

COLOMBIA / 3 OCT 2022

One of the ELN's most infamous leader, alias Pablito, has been crucial in helping the Colombian guerrilla group move its operations to Venezuela.

Chapter 4

Venezuela and the ELN’s Love-Hate Relationship with Drug Trafficking

COCAINE / 3 OCT 2022

Colombia's region of Catatumbo and Venezuela's state of Zulia jointly form one of the world's busiest cocaine corridors.

Chapter 5

Venezuela, Colombia, and the ELN at the Crossroads of Peace

COLOMBIA / 3 OCT 2022

While now comfortably established in two countries, the ELN have a chance to return to the negotiating table, according to President Gustavo Petro's "Total Peace" plan.

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