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

ÁGUILAS NEGRAS / 2 APR 2019

The name of a supposedly dismantled paramilitary group has appeared on pamphlets and other communiques threatening Colombian politicians, journalists and…

COLOMBIA / 1 JUN 2016

A recent report examining the effect of criminal truces in Latin America is both promising and discouraging; although we have…

COLOMBIA / 27 JAN 2012

Colombian authorities have announced the capture of 27 members of drug gang the Rastrojos, who were reportedly working…

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…