HomeNewsBriefColombia Demobilization to Separate FARC from Criminal Activities
BRIEF

Colombia Demobilization to Separate FARC from Criminal Activities

COLOMBIA / 10 MAR 2016 BY JAMES BARGENT EN

Colombia's congress has laid down conditions for the "concentration zones" where FARC guerrillas will demobilize in the event of a peace deal, which include plans to separate the rebels from their main criminal interests that could have serious implications for the country's underworld.

Colombia's Senate and House of Representatives passed reforms to the country's Public Order Law that grant President Juan Manuel Santos the power to create areas where guerrilla fighters of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia - FARC) will gather to turn in their arms and begin their reintegration into civilian life after a final peace deal is signed. 

The agreement lays down seven criteria that must be met for such zones, reported El Espectador. These include broad conditions regarding the size and number of zones and how monitoring of disarmament will take place. The criteria also include more specific provisions that the zones must not be in areas where there are coca crops or illegal mining activity or in border areas.

The agreement was struck between the government's congressional bloc and the main opposition bloc headed by ex-President Alvaro Uribe, who led negotiations despite being Colombia's loudest voice against the peace process.

"For us, the rush is not to sign a peace agreement but to put a stop to [the FARC's] crimes," said Uribe.

Despite the progress made on disarmament, President Santos addressed growing doubts that a final deal will be signed by the March 23 deadline established last October, saying that if there is no agreement by that date, negotiators will simply push back the deadline, reported El Colombiano.

The FARC have been in formal peace negotiations with the government since November 2012.

InSight Crime Analysis

The decision to ensure concentration zones for a FARC demobilization that are far removed from the criminal activities with which the rebels fund themselves is likely motivated by several factors. The government is attempting to ensure a swift and complete break between the FARC and their primary criminal revenue streams, while also bringing on board the Uribe-led opposition, who have long professed that ending the FARC's involvement in criminal activity is their priority.

However, it will mean local FARC units will be faced with a stark and sudden choice: abandon their lucrative criminal interests and comply with the peace process or refuse to assemble in the zones and continue to run their criminal activities, either as breakaway revolutionaries or as purely criminal groups. 

SEE ALSO: FARC, Peace, and Possible Criminalization

In addition, there is the possibility that some FARC units or members will later return to their coca or mining interests after becoming disillusioned with the process, which in itself could be problematic. The demobilization process is unlikely to be quick, giving other armed groups such as the guerrillas of the National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional – ELN) or the criminalized paramilitaries of the Urabeños an opportunity to move in on the criminal territories vacated by the FARC. In this scenario, FARC units looking to reclaim their interests would likely be faced with two options: either sign up with the rival groups or attempt to fight them off.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 4 SEP 2012

The life of recently-murdered Griselda Blanco, a Colombian woman who was an early pioneer of cocaine trafficking in Miami, illustrates…

COCAINE / 6 DEC 2016

The seizure of a metric ton of Colombian cocaine and a dismantled international trafficking ring in southwest France illustrate the…

COLOMBIA / 7 AUG 2013

More than two tons of marijuana, destined for export, have been traced back to the rebels of the FARC, revealing…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.

THE ORGANIZATION

Series on Environmental Crime in the Amazon Generates Headlines

17 SEP 2021

InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute have been delighted at the response to our joint investigation into environmental crimes in the Colombian Amazon. Coverage of our chapters dedicated to illegal mining…