HomeNewsBriefCrime Wave Hits City that Will Host Signing of Colombia Peace Deal
BRIEF

Crime Wave Hits City that Will Host Signing of Colombia Peace Deal

COLOMBIA / 23 SEP 2016 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

A crime wave has hit Colombia's port city of Cartagena just days before government officials and FARC rebels are scheduled to arrive there to sign a peace agreement, foreshadowing the type of security challenges the country will face once the deal is finalized. 

A series of public acts of violence has disturbed the normally calm tourist sectors of Cartagena, leading Mayor Manolo Duque to prohibit passengers from riding on the back of motorcycles in these areas, reported reported La Silla Vacía.

An attempt to assassinate the drug trafficker known as "Pichi" on September 14 ended in a shootout between criminals and police in the upscale neighborhood of Bocagrande. Pichi is a member of the Urabeños, Colombia's most powerful criminal organization, who is currently under house arrest in a luxurious residence replete with an ocean view, according to La Silla Vacía.

More recently, the former baseball player Napoleón Franco Jr. was shot and killed on September 18 in the neighborhood of Pie de la Popa when he refused to hand over his cellphone to a gang of thieves. A few hours later, another group of muggers robbed a Rolex watch from a well-known businessman in Bocagrande, and later that night five armed men attempted to break into the home of the manager of a health insurance company.

The previous day, a botched robbery resulted in a shootout outside a shopping mall in Pie de la Popa.

InSight Crime Analysis

The surge of street crime in Cartagena's tourist areas contrasts with the feelings of hope and peace associated with the city as it prepares to host the September 26 signing of a peace agreement between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia - FARC). The peace deal, which was announced in late August, officially puts an end to over 50 years of armed conflict with the country's largest rebel group. The Colombian people will vote to either approve or reject the agreement in a referendum slated for October 2.

SEE ALSO:  Colombia News and Profiles

However, as InSight Crime has previously noted, Colombia's security challenges will not simply disappear once the FARC demobilize. The Urabeños pose an enduring security threat in areas marked as valuable criminal real estate such as Cartagena, where the port system is used to smuggle large-scale drug shipments to Central America. According to La Silla Vacía, the Urabeños and other neo-paramilitary groups known as "bandas criminales," or BACRIM, have installed three or four leaders in poor areas of the city who hire youths to carry out or facilitate the groups' criminal activities, including murder, drug trafficking and extortion.

This criminal dynamic is not unique to Cartagena; urban micro-trafficking and its attendant violence is on the rise in many parts of Colombia. 

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 / 8 AUG 2012

Once again, statistics on Colombia's cocaine production released by the United Nations and the White House present radically different findings.

COLOMBIA / 25 OCT 2011

Colombia's government is making more effort than ever before to keep criminals from winning political power in the coming…

COLOMBIA / 27 JUN 2014

US authorities have placed Colombia's Oficina de Envigado on its Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers list in spite of the group's…

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…