HomeNewsBriefGuerrilla Oil Pipeline Attacks Surge Amid Colombia’s Peace Talks
BRIEF

Guerrilla Oil Pipeline Attacks Surge Amid Colombia’s Peace Talks

COLOMBIA / 12 DEC 2013 BY CHARLES PARKINSON EN

Attacks by left-wing rebels on Colombia’s oil pipelines have increased more than five-fold since 2010, and are up from 2012, amid slow-moving peace talks.

According to the Colombian Oil Association (Asociacion Colombiana del Petroleo – ACP), as of November 30 this year, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – FARC) and National Liberation Army (Ejercito Nacional de Liberacion – ELN) — Colombia’s two largest guerrilla groups — had carried out 163 attacks on oil pipelines across the country, reported El Espectador.

The attacks led to an estimated loss of 30,000 barrels of oil daily, according to the ACP, and are up from 151 attacks in 2012, 84 in 2011 and 31 attacks in 2010.

Despite this, ACP President Alejandro Martinez Villegas said 2013 had been a “good year,” owing to a seven percent increase in production compared to 2012, taking the country’s oil output to just over one million barrels per day.

As well as targeting oil infrastructure, the FARC have recently caused havoc by attacking electricity supplies, cutting off 300,000 people’s energy in the southwestern department of Nariño in October. On December 11, the rebels declared there could be an uptick in attacks before a temporary ceasefire scheduled to take effect on December 15.

InSight Crime Analysis

Attacking key infrastructure has long been a tactic for Colombia’s guerrillas, especially in the past decade since US aid and depleted rebel numbers have reduced the FARC’s capacity to engage in conventional warfare against security forces. Oil pipelines are a particularly inviting target because they are extensive and difficult to protect, and the attacks inflict significant economic damage both on state resources and direct foreign investment.

The attacks can be viewed in various ways. First, the increase in attacks could be seen as marking an increase in the FARC’s capacity. Second, given the surge in attacks seen since 2012 — when a peace process began between the FARC and the government in Havana, Cuba — it could also represent a show of force aimed at maintaining leverage at the negotiating table.

SEE ALSO: FARC, Peace and Potential Criminalization

So far, the two sides have reached agreements on two of six items on the agenda, striking a deal last month on the difficult issue of political participation for the FARC. Negotiations have now turned to the fourth issue, drug trafficking, after the parties agreed to postpone talks on the troubling issue of transitional justice.

The unilateral ceasefire announced by the FARC will be the second observed since the beginning of the talks. For his part, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has consistently refused to consider a ceasefire until negotiations are complete and a peace deal is signed.

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.

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 / 22 JAN 2019

The killing of four people in Jamundí, Valle del Cauca, may have been the EPL’s way of announcing its…

COLOMBIA / 19 JUL 2012

Colombian General Mauricio Santoyo has turned himself in to US authorities, while a new report suggests that the general may…

COLOMBIA / 14 MAR 2014

Police in Colombia report that FARC guerrillas and BACRIM groups are working together to mine gold in…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

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.

THE ORGANIZATION

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

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

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…

BRIEF

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…

ANALYSIS

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. …

ANALYSIS

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

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

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…