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 / 13 MAY 2015

Colombian authorities have recently detained large groups of migrants originating from as far as Asia and Africa, highlighting shifting migration…

COLOMBIA / 1 FEB 2011

In an unprecedented display of non-partisanship, President Hugo Chavez’s government is teaming up with opposition political officials in the Venezuelan…

COLOMBIA / 29 DEC 2010

With the death of Pedro Guerrero Castillo, alias "Cuchillo," and the arrest of his number two, Harold…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime’s Greater Focus on US-Mexico Border

20 JUL 2021

InSight Crime has decided to turn many of its investigative resources towards understanding and chronicling the criminal dynamics along the US-Mexico border.

THE ORGANIZATION

Key Arrests and Police Budget Increases Due to InSight Crime Investigations

8 JUL 2021

With Memo Fantasma’s arrest, InSight Crime has proven that our investigations can and will uncover major criminal threats in the Americas.

THE ORGANIZATION

Organized Crime’s Influence on Gender-Based Violence

30 JUN 2021

InSight Crime investigator Laura N. Ávila spoke on organized crime and gender-based violence at the launch of a research project by the United Nations Development Programme.

THE ORGANIZATION

Conversation with Paraguay Judicial Operators on PCC

24 JUN 2021

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley formed part of a panel attended by over 500 students, all of whom work in Paraguay's judicial system.

THE ORGANIZATION

Combating Environmental Crime in Colombia

15 JUN 2021

InSight Crime presented findings from an investigation into the main criminal activities fueling environmental destruction in Colombia.