Colombia’s peace process is at a critical stage. A growing number of FARC dissidents have taken up arms again, raising the question – is the country condemned to see history repeat itself?
The growth of the ex-FARC mafia, as InSight Crime has named the FARC dissidents, has been worryingly fast. And now that senior commanders have vowed to rebuild the FARC into a nationwide rebel force, their numbers are likely to keep growing.
There were always going to be dissident elements from the FARC, from those who were unconvinced by the peace deal or simply refused to consider it. However, the ex-FARC mafia is now growing at such a rate that Colombia’s entire peace process is at risk.
Even before the signing of the 2016 peace agreement between the FARC and the Colombian government, it was clear that not all of the former guerillas would welcome and join the process.
In August 2019, the nature of the ex-FARC mafia changed from a localized nuisance to a national security threat. Iván Márquez and several of the more notorious FARC commanders announced their intention to take up arms again.
As Colombia produces more cocaine than ever before, the Ex-FARC mafia has all the resources it needs to rebuild.
After 2002, under increasing pressure from security forces, the FARC moved much of their leadership, logistics and funding outside of Colombia, particularly to Venezuela. The same is true for the ex-FARC mafia and the fate of the Maduro regime and that of the FARC dissidents may be inextricably linked.
Colombia is at a crossroads. Several paths lay before it. One sees the ex-FARC mafia consigned to the dustbin of history in a short period of time. However, there are other, less appetizing scenarios.