HomeNewsBriefColombia's 'Oficina de Envigado' Allegedly Seeks Peace Negotiations
BRIEF

Colombia's 'Oficina de Envigado' Allegedly Seeks Peace Negotiations

COLOMBIA / 15 MAR 2016 BY MICHAEL LOHMULLER EN

Medellín-based crime syndicate the "Oficina de Envigado" is allegedly seeking to negotiate with the Colombian government, a questionable development that raises skepticism over the benefits of such a process given the group's fractured nature.  

The Oficina de Envigado purportedly announced its desire to engage in a dialogue with the Colombian government via a letter (pdf) sent to Colombian magazine Semana.

In the letter -- dated March 9 and signed by "The Associated Directorship of the Urban Armed Groups Outside the Law" (Dirección Colegiada de los Groups Armados Urbanos al Margen de la Ley) -- the Oficina declares its wish to "enter a phase of exploration and rapprochement with the national, regional, and local government to seek a real peace deal."

"We believe this is a historic moment in [Colombia], one in which a legal scenario can be reached for our men to resolve their situation," the letter continues. "We are not asking impunity, but something reasonable for all parties."

Stating a readiness "to open a channel of communication and verification," the letter says the end goal is "a process of dialogue that reaches an agreement facilitating [the Oficina's] abandonment of arms and reintegration into civilian life."

According to Semana, the proposal has been in the works for months and is supported by civil society leaders with experience in previous demobilization processes.

The Colombian government has not yet issued a formal reply to the proposal, reported El Colombiano.

Formed by Pablo Escobar and the Medellín Cartel, and then developed in the 1990s under Diego Murillo Bejarano, alias "Don Berna," -- who was extradited to the United States in 2008 -- the Oficina is currently estimated to have around 7,000 members, reported Semana.

InSight Crime Analysis

News that the Oficina de Envigado is seeking to negotiate its demobilization must be approached with skepticism.

For starters, the unconfirmed source of the letter makes it unclear exactly who is proposing negotiations and whether or not they legitimately represent the Oficina de Envigado. For instance, Dario Antonio Úsuga, leader of Colombian criminal organization the Urabeños, recently denied as false media reports he was negotiating with authorities the Urabeños' dismantlement and his surrender.

SEE ALSO: Oficina de Envigado News and Profile

Perhaps more importantly, however, the fractured nature of the Oficina de Envigado raises doubts over their ability to cohesively engage in demobilization negotiations and fully deliver on terms.

The 2008 extradition of Don Berna threw the Oficina into turmoil, leaving behind a scattered assortment of groups, known as "combos," that do not obey a single leader and engage in locally-focused crimes like extortion, microtrafficking, and robbery. According to estimates by Colombia's Attorney General cited by El Colombiano, the Oficina consists of 120 combos and 15 larger structures known as ODIN, or Criminal Organizations Integrated with Drug Trafficking (organización delincuencial integrada al narcotráfico). The letter being signed by the "directorship" would also imply the Oficina is more a confederation, rather than having a single leader.

Moreover, negotiating with the Oficina de Envigado would present a host of legal hurdles for the Colombian government given the group's dedication to criminal (not political or social) ends. Indeed, Luis Fernando Quijano Moreno, director of the Corporation for Peace and Social Development (Corporación para la Paz y el Desarrollo Social - CORPADES) told El Tiempo the letter's proposal, in its current form, is "ambitious and seems dead-on-arrival."

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

COCAINE / 7 JUL 2022

Ahmet Yilmaz* shouldn’t be in a dangerous profession. He’s not a cop or a criminal. Ahmet is a banana importer…

COLOMBIA / 19 APR 2021

Colombia has downgraded the threat level of one of the country's oldest criminal groups, which means fewer resources and troops…

COCAINE / 9 FEB 2021

Over the last five years, the cocaine trade has enjoyed an unprecedented boom, with production levels at record highs.

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…