HomeNewsBriefFARC-Colombia Peace: Mixed Signals on Drug Extraditions

FARC-Colombia Peace: Mixed Signals on Drug Extraditions


The Colombian government has issued mixed signals on how a new transitional justice agreement will deal with extradition requests for FARC guerrillas accused of drug trafficking. 

On September 23, leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and government negotiators announced an agreement on transitional justice — a landmark step towards ending more than 50 years of conflict in Colombia.   

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Colombia Peace Process

A day later, Colombia’s Supreme Court ruled that it was possible to connect the crime of drug trafficking with armed insurgency. This was favorable, in part, for the FARC, because should Colombia eventually pass legislation defining ways in which drug trafficking could be considered a “political” crime, this could shield the FARC from prosecution for their role in the cocaine trade. 

However, the Supreme Court also said this should not impede extradition, and subsequently issued a favorable opinion on the extradition request for Juan Vicente Carvajal Isidro, alias “Misael” — the alleged financial director of the FARC’s 10th Front.

Further confusing the matter, in a recent press conference, Colombia’s High Commissioner for Peace Sergio Jaramillo hinted at leniency for the extradition of FARC members. “No one is going to participate in the peace deal just to be extradited,” he said. However, any definite terms on the issue would be established in the final peace accord, Jaramillo added. 

US courts have indicted at least 60 FARC members on drug trafficking and related charges, meaning they could hypothetically be extradited to the US to stand trial, according to the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA).

InSight Crime Analysis

Over the course of their rebellion, the FARC have relied heavily on drug trafficking to fund their efforts. While the latest advances in Colombia’s peace talks is a cause for much optimism, it seems as though the extradition issue will continue to cast a cloud of uncertainty over the negotiations.  

SEE ALSO: FARC, Peace and Possible Criminalization

Recent comments by US Special Envoy Bernard Aronson suggested that the United States would support — or at least accept leniency — on drug extraditions in order to facilitate the peace process. While the US understandably has an interest in successfully prosecuting as many FARC members as possible, facilitating peace in Colombia — where the United States has already spent billions in security — is also to the country’s advantage. 

In Colombia, vocal opposition to the peace talks remains another obstacle. Former Presidents Alvaro Uribe and Andres Pastrana have both criticized the peace process for being too lenient when it comes to the FARC’s drug crimes.

Combined with President Juan Manuel Santos’ falling popularity ratings, this could mean trouble when the Colombian public eventually votes on the peace deal via a referendum. 

Compartir icon icon icon

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.

About InSight Crime


We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.


InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area


Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…


InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…


InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …


InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas


In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…