Peace Timeline 2014

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December 31, 2014

  • The FARC posts an “early warning” stating that if they continue, recent military actions in Antioquia, Cauca, and Chocó could lead the group to “make decisions” about whether to prolong its unilateral cease-fire. “The armed forces will not renounce their constitutional obligation to defend the Colombian people,” responds Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzón. Colombia’s CERAC think-tank, which monitors conflict events, reports that neither side has carried out an offensive action since the guerrilla truce began.

December 22, 2014

  • “Finally, the enemy has noticed that you are invincible and that today we have the best army in our history,” President Santos tells a military audience.
  • Colombia’s Army announces that soldier Carlos Becerra Ojeda has been taken captive by the FARC following a December 19 guerrilla attack in Santander de Quilichao, Cauca. This ambush, which killed five soldiers, was the last major FARC military action before December 20, the first day of the guerrillas’ announced “unilateral cease-fire.”

December 18, 2014

  • A government statement “values” the FARC announcement of a unilateral cease-fire, but rejects the guerrillas’ verification proposal and refuses to withdraw the armed forces until negotiations reach agreement on the final agenda point, “ending the conflict.” President Santos compares the FARC offer to a “rose” with “a stem full of thorns.”
  • FARC negotiators issue an unusually heartfelt apology after meeting with representatives of Bojayá, the Chocó community where, in May 2002, a FARC gas-cylinder bomb killed about 119 civilians who had sought refuge from combat in the town’s church. The FARC statement has “enormous meaning,” says chief government negotiator Humberto de la Calle.
  • The latest Gallup poll finds 62 percent of Colombian respondents agreeing with the government’s decision to start negotiation with the FARC (36 percent opposed), but 52 percent doubting that negotiators will reach an accord (45 percent optimistic).
  • The re-establishment of U.S. diplomatic relations with Cuba will help the peace process, Colombian Foreign Minister María Ángela Holguín says, because “this internal conflict is like that remnant of the Cold War, and it’s good that it ends and that we can live a different panorama.”

December 17, 2014

  • The 31st round of FARC-government talks, the final round for 2014, ends in Havana.
  • “The process should enter the home stretch,” says chief government negotiator Humberto de la Calle.
  • The FARC declares a “unilateral cessation of fire and hostilities for an indefinite period,” effective December 20. The guerrilla negotiators’ statement calls for verification of the cease-fire by the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), The Latin American and Caribbean Community (CELAC), the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the non-governmental Broad Front for Peace. The cease-fire will end, the FARC warns, if guerrillas are attacked by government forces.

December 16, 2014

  • A final group of twelve conflict victims, the fifth since August, visits the negotiators in Havana. Like the others, the visit is arranged by the United Nations, Colombia’s Episcopal Conference, and its National University. The group includes members of the community of Bojayá, Chocó, where a FARC gas-cylinder bomb killed about 119 civilians in 2002. It also includes Piedad Córdoba, a politician (and victim of paramilitary violence) who has led citizen efforts to promote dialogue with the FARC. Colombia’s politically conservative internal-affairs chief (procurador), Alejandro Ordóñez, removed Córdoba from her Senate seat in 2010 citing alleged guerrilla collaboration.

December 15, 2014

  • The peace negotiators’ Gender Subcommittee meets in Havana with the first of three planned groups of visiting “experts in gender issues,” who are tasked with “making recommendations to the negotiators about the vision of gender in the accords’ implementation.”
  • “All of our support to President Santos and to his unbreakable political will to continue on the path to definitive peace in Colombia,” says Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa during a meeting with President Santos on Ecuador’s side of the countries’ border.

December 13, 2014

  • Led by Former President (now Senator) Álvaro Uribe, thousands of Colombians participate in “Peace Without Impunity” marches in several cities, expressing doubts about, and opposition to, the FARC peace talks.
  • FARC negotiator and Secretariat member Pablo Catatumbo says that the guerrillas are “willing to face with revolutionary seriousness” any “hypothetical non-amnesty-able legal infraction,” like war crimes or crimes against humanity, but that its leaders are innocent until proven guilty and should not be imprisoned a priori “while impunity persists for the oligarchy, the political class, and the military forces.”

December 12, 2014

  • During a visit to Bogotá, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry issues lengthy and energetic public expressions of support for Colombia’s peace process and for U.S. assistance during a post-conflict phase. Kerry also echoes President Santos’ call on the guerrillas to pick up the dialogues’ pace, noting that time is “very important. The longer it takes, the harder it may get. And I would urge everybody to use time to advantage and to move, because as with any negotiation, they cannot be open-ended.”

December 11, 2014

  • “For us, the participation and support of the United States to the peace process is crucial,” President Santos says while visiting Miami for an event hosted by the foundation of former U.S. President Bill Clinton. “I want to thank you for continuing to persist in Colombia in the dream of peace,” Clinton tells Santos.

December 10, 2014

December 9, 2014

  • Latin American, Spanish and Portuguese leaders meeting at the 24th Ibero-American Summit in Veracruz, Mexico adopt a declaration [PDF], proposed by Argentina, that “expresses our most decided support to Colombia’s peace process and congratulates the accords reached at the table.” The declaration also calls on the ELN “not to allow this unique opportunity to pass and add themselves to this process.”

December 6, 2014

  • At a series of speeches before military audiences, President Santos says “there is no possibility” that a successful peace process might leave the armed forces “in a disadvantaged position.” Santos adds that in a post-conflict Colombia, the military and police would focus on citizen security.

December 4, 2014

  • President Santos tells a radio interviewer that Colombia will have to alter its laws to include narcotrafficking as a “connected political crime”–in other words, to allow demobilized guerrillas to avoid additional punishment for drug trafficking used to raise funds for their fight against the state.
  • The FARC responds with a December 14 statement insisting, “We are rebels, not narcotraffickers.”

December 3, 2014

  • Negotiators in Havana announce [PDF] agreement for the resumption of peace talks, following a suspension of over two weeks. The next round of talks will begin in Havana on December 10. Negotiators will discuss possible measures to de-escalate the conflict, and will host a visit from the fifth and final group of twelve conflict victims.
  • Chief government negotiator Humberto de la Calle says that the agreement “is not a change in the negotiation model” nor will it “lengthen” the process. “When we talk about de-escalation,” he adds, “we are thinking that there could initially be measures, more of a humanitarian than military character, that work to lower the intensity of the confrontation.”
  • A Datexco poll [PDF] finds 61 percent of Colombian respondents disagreeing with the way in which President Santos is managing the peace process, and 55 percent doubting that an accord will be signed.

December 2, 2014

December 1, 2014

  • “We can no longer wait for gestures that demonstrate to Colombians on the ground that we are nearing the end of the conflict,” says chief government negotiator Humberto de la Calle. “For months we have been discussing de-escalation measures with the FARC. Again, it is time to pass from discussion to action.”
  • “Those who suspended the conversations cannot return with the intention of imposing the date of their re-initiation, as though nothing has happened,” reads a FARC communiqué.
  • “Wars must always have an end, and they often don’t end with a complete victory over the enemy,” former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell tells a forum in Bogotá hosted by Colombia’s El Espectador newspaper. “You used hard power to bring you to this point, and now you are in a position to use soft power to bring the conflict to its end.” Powell endorsed the idea of generous, less military-focused U.S. assistance to a post-conflict Colombia, and advised Colombians that “the FARC must be given a place in society.”

November 30, 2014

  • Two weeks after capturing them, the FARC releases Gen. Rubén Darío Alzate, a civilian lawyer, and a corporal in Chocó. Following an operation that the International Committee of the Red Cross describes as “complex,” the freed individuals are received by a committee of ICRC personnel and diplomats from Norway and Cuba. FARC Secretariat member Pastor Alape, chief of the bloc that operates in the zone one of the negotiators in Havana, travels from Cuba for the handoff.
  • President Santos sends the government negotiating team to Havana to meet with FARC negotiators “for a couple of days to evaluate where the process is, where we’re going, and to do a cold, objective evaluation of the process, to see how we can continue.” Lead government negotiator Humberto de la Calle says that among the issues to discuss is “what we have called the de-escalation of the conflict.”
  • Colombian government communiqué
  • FARC communique
  • Statement of Gen. Alzate

November 19, 2014

  • Following intensive diplomatic efforts by guarantor nations Norway and Cuba, the FARC agrees to release Gen. Rubén Darío Alzate and the civilian lawyer and corporal who were captured along with him in Chocó department on the 16th. The guerrillas also agree to release two soldiers captured in Arauca department on the 9th. President Santos says that once the handover occurs—an operation involving the International Committee of the Red Cross and a temporary cessation of military operations—the suspended peace talks will re-launch.

November 18, 2014

  • The 31st round of negotiations, which will include a fifth and final visit of 12 conflict victims, was scheduled to begin in Havana.

November 16, 2014

  • President Santos suspends peace talks with the FARC after guerrillas, for the first time ever in the conflict, capture an Army general. [According to press reports, the FARC’s 34th Front took Gen. Rubén Darío Alzate, the chief of the armed forces’ Joint Task Force “Titan” in Chocó department, in northwestern Colombia. The general, together with a civilian advisor and a corporal, was visiting a development project in a town not far from Quibdó, Chocó’s capital. He was in civilian dress and without a security contingent. “Tomorrow negotiators were to travel to another round of talks in Havana,” the President announces before dawn on the 17th. “I will tell them not to go and that the talks are suspended until these people are released.”

November 13, 2014

  • Several government peace negotiators and other senior officials speak at a Bogotá forum about the peace process and possible post-conflict challenges. Negotiators insist that there is little difference between the FARC “abandoning” its weapons or “surrendering” its weapons after an accord is signed. Lead negotiator Humberto de la Calle calls for a broader definition of “political crimes” that will allow amnesty, and non-extradition, for activities like narcotrafficking. Colombia’s chief prosecutor (fiscal), Eduardo Montealegre, and internal-affairs chief (procurador), Alejandro Ordóñez, disagree on the severity of imprisonment, or “deprivation of liberty,” for the worst human rights violators. Senator Roy Barreras, chairman of the Senate’s Peace Committee, warns that time is running out for a referendum that could run concurrent with the October 16, 2015 local elections.
  • The latest “Colombia Opina” poll, taken by several media outlets, finds Colombians somewhat more optimistic about the FARC peace talks. The proportion who believe the government and FARC might reach an accord is 42 percent, up from 33 percent in the same poll’s April 2014 sample. 53 percent, down from 63 percent in April, declare themselves pessimistic.

November 12, 2014

  • Rep. Ed Royce (R-California) and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-New York), the chairman and ranking Democratic Party members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issue a joint statement upon their return from a visit to Colombia. It contains language supportive of the FARC peace process: “Now more than ever, the United States must stand with Colombia as President Santos negotiates a historic peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). If a peace agreement is reached, we pledge to do our part in Congress to continue to provide Colombia with the support it needs.”
  • “I want to tell the FARC categorically that the time has come to make big decisions,” lead government negotiator Humberto de la Calle says, calling in particular for the FARC to recognize its victims more explicitly. “Colombian society needs concrete signs that the FARC’s desire for peace is real.”
  • “Demobilization and the abandonment of guerrillas’ weapons are necessary conditions for peace,” says government peace negotiator Sergio Jaramillo, the Presidency’s high commissioner for peace, at a forum in the city of Cúcuta. “If there is no abandonment of weapons, there is no end to the conflict.” Jaramillo continued, “The basic structure of the process is that the accord is signed, a final and definitive phase is entered, a verification mission is established, and everyone begins to do what he or she must do.”

November 9, 2014

  • The FARC captures two soldiers in the department of Arauca, in northeastern Colombia. The army calls the retention of Paulo Cesar Rivera Capela and Jhonatan Andres Díaz Franco a “kidnapping” and a violation of pre-conditions for peace talks. The FARC calls them “prisoners of war”.

November 6, 2014

  • The ELN denounces the disappearance of one of its members who was to participate in exploratory talks with the Colombian government. A guerrilla communiqué says that Eduardo Martínez was captured at a police checkpoint near the city of Cúcuta, in Norte de Santander department near the Venezuelan border, on October 30.

November 5, 2014

  • President Santos meets with Chancellor Angela Merkel while visiting Germany. She says, “Today I have assured him Germany’s total support, not just concerning negotiations with the FARC, but also for those carried out with other rebel groups.” She rejects criticism that the Havana talks are taking too long: “Two years of negotiations are a very short period of time for a fifty-year conflict.” And she announces a 75 million euro per year line of credit for Colombia through 2016 “to build peace and reconciliation.”
  • The day after midterm elections give the Republican Party control of the U.S. Senate, Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio visits Bogotá. At a press conference, Spain’s EFE news service describes him as “extremely prudent” when asked about Colombia’s peace process. He does, however, endorse the idea of maintaining high levels of U.S. aid to a post-conflict Colombia: “If you don’t do that, you’re losing what you invested at the beginning.”
  • “Only with an authentic recognition and expression of regret from the FARC can Colombian society pardon and begin building a stable and long-lasting peace,” reads a column in Colombia’s El Tiempo newspaper by Internal Affairs Chief (Procurador) Alejandro Ordóñez, who has criticized the possibility that the talks might leave guerrilla human rights abuses unpunished.

November 4, 2014

  • President Santos, visiting Brussels, meets Belgian and European Union officials, who offer public expressions of support for the peace process. “We are willing to give concrete assistance to Colombia once a peace accord goes into effect, once the negotiations are over,” says European Parliament President Martin Schultz. Adds European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, “We are on Colombia’s side and we are confident that peace will be made.”
  • FARC members kill two leaders of the Nasa indigenous group in the town of Toribío, in the southwestern department of Cauca. The unarmed leaders had just helped take down a FARC billboard. Guerrillas shot at a third indigenous community leader, and when Manuel Antonio Tumiñá and Daniel Coicué pursued the shooters, FARC members shot them. On November 8, the FARC negotiators posted to their website a statement expressing “grief and concern” about an incident that “could have been resolved through dialogue.” The Nasa community’s Indigenous Guard, an unarmed force, pursued and captured several indigenous FARC members, then held a trial that quickly condemned them to decades in prison. The UN representative in Colombia expresses concerns about due process, and top FARC leader Timoleón Jiménez issues a statement arguing that the FARC members sought to avoid conflict, but ultimately acted in self-defense.

November 3, 2014

  • President Santos visits Spain, where he meets with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and King Juan Carlos. “I hope that the FARC and ELN know to take advantage of the historic opportunity that President Santos offers them, together with the majority of Colombians who re-elected him,” says Rajoy. Santos asks for Spain’s help in setting up a special European Union trust fund for post-conflict assistance, similar to one that the entity set up in July for the Central African Republic.
  • “I have to say with all clarity that I am the worst enemy that the FARC has had in all of its history,” President Santos tells the Spanish daily ABC.
  • A statement from the ELN laments that the government has required secrecy about the progress and challenges of the “formal exploratory dialogue” that has been occurring “for more than a year.”

November 2, 2014

  • The 30th round of peace talks ends in Havana.
  • Joint communiqué upon conclusion of 30th round
  • The round concludes with the fourth of five planned visits of 12 conflict victims. “What we, as survivors of the armed conflict, told the negotiators is that as victims with the moral authority to demand it, we do not allow them to get up from this table,” says Jineth Bedoya, a journalist and victim of the paramilitaries.
  • In statements to the press, chief government negotiator Humberto de la Calle repeats the government’s insistence that the FARC begin disarming upon the signing of an accord. “The basic premise of this whole process is that once we sign a final accord, the FARC will have to begin the process of no longer having weapons.” De la Calle adds that while the FARC’s recognition of responsibility to its victims was important, it did not go far enough.
  • On the eve of a visit to Europe, President Santos publishes a column in Spain’s El País newspaper entitled “Colombia’s Peace Is the World’s Peace.”

October 30, 2014

  • The FARC makes its clearest public recognition of its victims so far. “We explicitly recognize that our actions have affected civilians at different times and under different circumstances throughout the conflict,” negotiator Pablo Atrato says in a declaration to the media. Regarding the FARC’s responsibility to these victims, Atrato says that the guerrillas will “assume the responsibility that concerns us,” but offers no details. He insists that the guerrillas never had a policy of “systematic and deliberate victimization” of the population. Colombian Congresswoman Clara Rojas, a FARC hostage for over six years, called the guerrilla statement “a first step.”

October 29, 2014

  • The weekly newsmagazine Semana reveals that the Colombian Army’s Military Intelligence Center (CIME) has been compiling a database of the mostly personal e-mail addresses of about 500 journalists, foreign citizens, diplomats, and others whom it has never contacted. Those on the list include employees of the Colombian government’s High Commissioner for Peace, International Committee of the Red Cross, and others involved in facilitating negotiations. “This episode,” wrote Juanita León, founder of the La Silla Vacía website, “makes evidence that within the Army there exists a deep and dangerous distrust of the peace process, which the Santos administration has not been able to overcome.”
  • Receiving a visit from Prince Charles, President Santos thanks him for the United Kingdom’s support of the peace process.

October 27, 2014

  • “I know it’s hard for many people to see these personalities who have done so much damage to Colombians… there [in Havana] with some arrogance, I know that is difficult to accept,” says President Santos. “But if we want peace we have to make peace with our enemies. One doesn’t make peace with one’s friends.” He concludes, “Those are some very big toads that one has to swallow. But it is the way to reach peace.”
  • “As we have said on several occasions, we fully support the Colombian government in its efforts to reach a negotiated peace,” U.S. Ambassador Kevin Whitaker tells a radio interviewer. “We are here to help any way they want us to, and confidentially, they share things with us and we must maintain that confidentiality.”
  • The commander of Colombia’s army, Gen. Jaime Lasprilla, makes clear that the military will pursue guerrilla negotiators being returned from Cuba: “Any terrorist within the FARC’s structures, who is generating terrorist acts, becomes a military target.”
  • The FARC publishes “minimal proposals” 1|2 for point 2 of the “Victims” negotiating agenda item, “Recognition of the victims of the conflict.”

October 24, 2014

  • The 30th round of talks begins in Havana.

October 23, 2014

  • The reason for the four-day delay in the launch of the 30th round of talks is revealed: eighteen new FARC negotiators arrive in Havana. They include two members of the FARC’s seven-member Secretariat, Pastor Alape and Carlos Antonio Losada. Also arriving in Havana are four other members of the FARC’s 23-member Central General Staff. Another notable addition is Henry Castellanos, alias “Romaña,” one of the most-wanted guerrilla leaders due to his high-profile role in pioneering kidnapping for ransom on Bogotá’s outskirts during the 1990s. In order to make room for the 18 new negotiators on the guerrillas’ 30-member negotiating team, a similar number are sent back to Colombia. They include Andrés Paris, who has been in Havana since 2012.
  • “It seems unacceptable to me that some critics place the armed forces in a condition that does not correspond to them,” says Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzón. “It’s not true that the armed forces are enemies of the peace process… they are even working on scenarios of transition and transformation.”
  • “There is enormous international expectation with respect to the current peace dialogues and what is to come,” Christian Leffler, managing director for the Americas at the European Union’s External Action Service, tells Colombia’s El Espectador. Leffler was in Bogotá to discuss, among other topics, the possible creation of a European trust fund for post-conflict Colombia.

October 22, 2014

  • Government negotiators Humberto de la Calle and Sergio Jaramillo present a lengthy response to former President Álvaro Uribe’s published allegations that they are “capitulating” to the FARC at the negotiating table. Two days earlier, President Santos had invited Uribe to hold a dialogue about the peace process. Uribe turns him down.

October 20, 2014

  • “There are people, including some who call themselves of the left, provocatively affirming that what has been agreed in the three accords so far constitutes treason to, and a renunciation of, our struggle. This doesn’t keep us from pushing forward,” reads a statement from maximum FARC leader Timoleón Jiménez.

October 19, 2014

  • FARC negotiator Fabián Ramírez publishes a statement indicating the FARC’s willingness to “recognize” and “repair” those who have been victims of “errors” the group may have committed. He denies, though, that the guerrilla group has committed crimes against humanity, adding that “in our actions there has never been bad faith or policies designed to endanger the people’s rights.”

October 17, 2014

  • Government and FARC negotiators announce that the launch of the 30th round of talks, scheduled for October 20, will be delayed until the 24th.
  • Former President Uribe’s political party, the Democratic Center, issues a document entitled “Santos’s 52 Capitulations in Havana,” which sharply criticizes the content of the three recently publicized accords reached with the FARC. Lead government negotiator Humberto de la Calle responds, “There has not been any capitulation.”

October 9, 2014

  • Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzón reveals that during the past year, the Colombian government has allowed maximum FARC leader Timoleón Jiménez, alias “Timochenko,” to travel to Cuba on a small number of occasions. His flights, facilitated by Venezuela and Cuba, originated in Venezuela where the FARC leader is apparently spending much of his time. The visits occurred during breaks in the talks when Colombian government negotiators were not in Havana. They were justified as a means to speed up the FARC’s ability to make negotiating decisions. An analysis by Colombia’s most-circulated newsweekly, Semana, cites a government source saying that the visits are an indicator of the advanced state of the talks.
  • President Santos convenes the National Peace Council, a civil-society advisory body established by law in the 1990s, and asks its members to do more to educate the public about the peace process, especially in rural Colombia.
  • Ambassador to Colombia Lindsay Croisdale-Appleby says that the United Kingdom is “studying” how to contribute to Colombia in the post-conflict period, possibly through a European Union fund being set up to help Colombia implement accords. A UK decision, she said, will coincide with a late October visit to Colombia of the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall.

October 8, 2014

  • U.S. President Barack Obama and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos speak by telephone. According to a White House release, President Obama “underscored continued strong U.S. support for the work done so far by the Colombian government to bring an end to the longest running conflict in the Americas and expressed U.S. readiness to work closely with Colombia during the post-conflict period.”

October 7, 2014

  • Sen. Roy Barreras, president of the Colombian Senate’s peace commission, estimates that implementing a possible peace accord with the FARC would cost a minimum of 90 trillion pesos (about US$45 billion) over ten years. He adds that, in 2015 alone, Colombia may need US$300 million for demobilizations, US$2.5 billion for rural development, US$750 million for justice, and US$1 billion for institutional strengthening.
  • “If the FARC don’t take the deal, the Colombian people will go after them with a vengeance and put an end to this,” U.S. Southern Command commander Gen. John Kelly tells a Washington audience. “They ought to take the deal. If they’re listening, this one time in 50 years, be smart. Take the deal.”

October 3, 2014

  • At the close of the 29th round of talks in Havana, chief government negotiator Humberto de la Calle calls on the FARC to recognize its responsibility to its victims “in a more categorical way.” A FARC communiqué reads, “Peace is not around the corner, just like institutional transformations will not be done from one day to the next, but they must begin.” The guerrillas say that the seven sub-points of the final agenda item, “ending the conflict,” must be negotiated simultaneously.
  • Joint communiqué on conclusion of victims’ visit
  • FARC greeting to victims delegation
  • “You will be even more important in the post-conflict that we are now beginning to design,” President Santos tells a military audience. While he repeats that the armed forces’ future is not a topic at the Havana negotiations, he says that in the post-conflict they “will be protagonists, stronger, more modern,” citing the construction projects carried out by military engineers as an example of their future role.
  • In another communiqué, the FARC rejects the idea of its members facing punishment in Colombian tribunals after a peace accord.

October 2, 2014

  • Prosecutor-General Eduardo Montealegre suggests that former guerrillas accused of human rights abuses might face “substitution of sentences that deprive liberty for other types of alternative penalties like de-mining.”
  • A Datexco poll finds 42 percent of Colombians approving of President Santos’s management of the peace process, the same number as in the firm’s August poll. Twenty-six percent, one point more than in August, believe that the FARC has “legitimate intentions… to reach a peace accord.”

October 1, 2014

  • A third group of 12 victims visits the negotiating table in Havana. Among the group are two government officials who spent years as captives of the FARC: Meta governor Alan Jara and Police Gen. Luis Herlindo Mendieta. FARC negotiators reiterated their insistence that, although they did not detain him according to international humanitarian standards, Gen. Mendieta was a “prisoner of war” and not a “victim.” A UN statement “regrets having to announce” that three of the victims’ delegation members, and two of its organizers, received death threats from armed groups. This delegation, unlike the one before it, admits that it lacks “consensus” in favor of a bilateral cease-fire.

September 30, 2014

  • “The world is not perfect,” President Santos tells interviewer Tim Padgett of WLRN Miami. “Yes, Venezuela and Cuba are helping us, because precisely they have credibility with the FARC. And I really don’t understand people who criticize…What is the alternative? Should I simply declare war on Venezuela?…When you go down to the nitty gritty, for me it’s very clear that sometimes realpolitik is necessary in situations like the one we are living in Colombia.”

September 27, 2014

  • Chief government negotiator Humberto de la Calle announces that, according to information he received from police intelligence, his computer, e-mail, and mobile phone have suffered more than 17 hacking attempts.
  • Statement from FARC negotiators

September 26, 2014

  • Before a National Police audience, President Santos says, “The Police are going to play a very, very important role in the post-conflict, that post-conflict that as of now we have to start imagining, although we also cannot declare victory at this moment, because there is still a long road remaining ahead in the peace process.”

September 25, 2014

  • In his address to the UN General Assembly, President Santos says that “The process we are carrying out with the FARC has been serious, realistic, dignified, and effective, and has made concrete advances.” He adds, “When the post-conflict comes, we will have immense challenges to reincorporate the demobilized, to guarantee state presence in conflict-affected zones, and to guarantee citizen security. The international community’s support and cooperation will be so important then, and we call on it now.”
  • The FARC releases an almost whimsical video explaining the Historical Commission on the Conflict and its Victims.

September 24, 2014

  • Government and FARC negotiators agree to make public the contents of the three draft accords that have so far been agreed. These documents had previously been secret under the principle that they were not final and could be revisited.
  • Draft accord on rural development
  • Draft accord on political participation
  • Draft accord on solving the illicit drug problem
  • Chief government negotiator Humberto de la Calle explains that keeping the accords private “left too large a margin for speculation, including ill-intentioned speculation."
  • President Santos says that making the accords public shows that “there aren’t any hidden cards.”
  • FARC statement upon publication of accords
  • Former President Álvaro Uribe criticizes the draft accords as “terrorism’s launch of a political platform to justify its crimes… with the government’s capitulation.”
  • At the Vatican, Pope Francis meets with a conflict victim and two demobilized ex-combatants.

September 23, 2014

  • A 29th round of government-FARC dialogues begins in Havana.
  • After speaking by phone with U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden during the UN General Assembly sessions in New York, President Santos says, “He reiterated again his support for the peace process. He said that whatever the United States can do, it would be there.” Santos and Biden discussed the possibility of post-conflict Colombia sending more military personnel to participate in UN peacekeeping missions. The White House reports that Biden “reaffirmed unwavering U.S. support for the Colombian government’s efforts to negotiate a lasting and just peace with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.”

September 22, 2014

  • After meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon at the General Assembly sessions in New York, President Santos discusses the United Nations’ possible post-conflict role. “Anything we do with the United Nations in the post-conflict must be agreed with the FARC. … [T]hey gave us a technical presentation of the different options that they have. They have many options on all fronts. On the economic cooperation front, on the accord verification front, on the peacekeeping mission front, on verification and security guarantees.”
  • In a lengthy report, the FARC negotiators provide their view of the dialogues so far. While they complain that government negotiators have greater access to public opinion and are ignoring civil society’s proposals, they “remain firm and optimistic about what has been achieved so far.” (Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5)
  • The UK’s opposition Labor Party approves a resolution in support of Colombia’s peace process.

September 18, 2014

  • In a much-remarked speech, lead Colombian government negotiator Humberto de la Calle warns that Colombia’s polarized political climate could render the peace process “inviable.”
  • Ex-President Uribe responds, “De la Calle acts so smooth over there [in Havana] as the terrorists’ companion, and acts so strict and rigid telling the country that its polarization will impede the accords’ ratification. Let’s not be fooled by these tricks.”
  • In a September 23 column in the Colombian daily El Tiempo, de la Calle clarifies that his speech was not a call to silence critics of the peace process, but a call to improve the tone of the debate.
  • “In a world full of war-torn countries with governments on the verge of failure, Colombia may at last have found the magic recipe to bring about peace,” reads an editorial in the Boston Globe.

September 16, 2014

  • A FARC ambush in the northern department of Córdoba kills seven policemen. Police and defense ministry authorities say that the guerrillas were operating jointly with the Urabeños, a paramilitary successor group. A guerrilla statement denies this.

September 11, 2014

  • “On one side,” the Colombian government “speaks of peace, on the other side its functionaries act like snipers against the process, babbling about surrender and mass demobilizations,” reads a statement from Rubín Morro, commander of the FARC’s Iván Ríos Bloc, which operates in northwestern Colombia. A mid–2013 report from the research organization InsightCrime had identified the Iván Ríos Bloc as “perhaps the weakest of the FARC’s divisions in terms of command and control,” and thus likely to break away and turn into a criminal organization after a peace accord.

September 10, 2014

  • A second group of 12 victims visits the negotiating table in Havana. Nine of them are women. The group’s statement “urgently” demands that the government and guerrillas enter into a bilateral ceasefire.
  • The 28th round of government-FARC talks closes.
  • Joint communiqué on close of 28th round of talks
  • FARC statement upon end of 28th round
  • A FARC greeting to the victims delegation calls for “total recognition and integral compensation” for conflict victims.

September 9, 2014

  • A statement from FARC negotiators invites diverse sectors of Colombian society, government, and business, as well as the U.S. government, to come to Havana for “a respectful debate over ideas and national visions.”
  • FARC document laying out “orienting proposals” for the “Victims” agenda item

September 8, 2014

  • 120 Colombian businesses launch a publicity campaign in favor of efforts to end the armed conflict. The “Soy CaPAZ” (I’m able) theme song features many of the country’s best-known recording artists.

  • Speaking on a Colombian television program, President Santos says that members of the armed forces accused of violating human rights should receive the same penalties that demobilized guerrillas might get after a peace accord. “What the military wants is that there be no repetition of what we’ve seen so many times: that soldiers end up going to jail if they committed some error during the conflict, and the guerrillas are on the streets. That is unfair to the military. They are the ones most interested in seeing that if one side gets [sentencing] benefits, these benefits should also cover them. That is perfectly possible and that is what is going to be done.” The President adds that the presence of active-duty officers to the negotiating table in Havana is “dignifying,” not “denigrating,” to the armed forces.

September 7, 2014

  • Government and FARC negotiators create a “gender subcommittee” that seeks to include the perspective of women in the accords and negotiations. A FARC statement denies allegations of sexual abuse or trafficking of women within the guerrilla group, calling them “defamatory campaigns” and “manipulations.”
  • A new Gallup poll offers insights into the Colombian public’s attitude toward the peace process. 59 percent believe that President Santos took the right step by initiating talks with the FARC, while 39 percent disagree. 47 percent believe that an accord will be possible, while 51 percent disagree. 56 percent believe the government must “keep insisting on dialogue.” 43 percent favor sacrificing some justice to reach peace, 52 percent disagree. 57 percent are willing to pay taxes to assist conflict victims. 81 percent oppose the idea of demobilized FARC members avoiding jail and entering politics. 77 percent doubt that the FARC will make an effort to provide reparations to their victims.
  • Asked by a reporter from Medellín’s El Colombiano whether the FARC are prepared to ask their victims’ pardon, guerrilla negotiator Andrés París is evasive. “We have publicly expressed our willingness to take up any concept that shows our willingness to reconcile. … We’re saying to the church, the government to all actors in this long process of violence, that we should dedicate a day to pray for peace and send a message to Colombians affected by the conflict, that we are willing to make an accord, and that the best tribute and the best message would be the termination of the armed conflict.”
  • FARC “minimum proposals” 5, 6, and 7 for the “Victims” agenda topic

September 6, 2014

  • Speaking before a military audience in Coveñas, Sucre, President Santos reiterates his rejection of a bilateral cease fire. “As they have always taken advantage of cease-fires to arm themselves more, to gain space, we’re not going to accept a cease-fire. To the contrary, the military offensive must be maintained, so we may end this conflict as fast as possible. … [I]f for some reason these people get up from the table, if they don’t accept the conditions that we’re talking about, if this fails, I don’t want anyone to tell me that we gave them a military advantage, a rest, that they somehow benefited from the process.”
  • FARC “minimum proposals” 2, 3, and 4 for the “Victims” agenda topic

September 4, 2014

  • If the FARC disarms, “Who will end up with the weapons? The Colombian military,” President Santos says. He adds that it is “the limit of ignorance” so say—as former President Uribe had—that the presence of active-duty officers at the peace talks in Havana was a “humiliation” for the military.

September 3, 2014

September 2, 2014

  • The FARC publishes to its peace negotiation website an essay claiming that recently elected Congresswoman Clara Rojas, whom the guerrillas held in captivity from 2002 to 2008, “has no right” to consider herself a conflict victim. It claims that Rojas turned down an opportunity to gain her freedom. Lead government negotiator Humberto de la Calle expresses a “most emphatic protest” at the article, which he says “violates her dignity as a person and as a woman.” FARC negotiator Jesús Santrich later says that the essay does not reflect the guerrilla group’s position on Rojas.
  • In a statement, maximum FARC leader Timoleón Jiménez casts doubt on the government’s optimistic declarations indicating that an accord could be possible in the near term.
  • Another FARC statement suggests that, in response to the creation of a “Transition Command” within the Colombian military, the guerrillas might create a “Normalization Command” to study post-conflict reductions in the armed forces’ role.
  • “We have to intensify at this moment, more and more,” President Santos tells a military audience. “Why? To achieve the end of the conflict as soon as possible. Because if we let down our guard, they [the FARC] won’t have any motivation to accelerate that accord.”
  • We carried out a very thorough poll, and more than 60 percent of Colombians are not well-informed about the progress of the peace process," President Santos says.

September 1, 2014

  • A 28th round of government-FARC negotiations begins in Havana.
  • “We are not in the home stretch,” reads a FARC communiqué.

August 31, 2014

  • Lead FARC negotiator Iván Márquez, expressing concern that the Santos government’s legislative agenda may include unconsulted legislation about transitional justice, calls on Interior Minister Juan Fernando Cristo to visit Havana. Cristo turns him down.

August 29, 2014

  • President Santos announces the creation of a “Transition Command” in the Colombian armed forces, which will be charged with planning and executing possible post-conflict disarmament of guerrillas. It is headed by Gen. Javier Flórez, who led the delegation of active-duty military personnel that visited Havana a week earlier.
  • FARC negotiator Iván Márquez rejects the move as an attempt to involve the military in “issues that are of political nature by definition,” noting that the negotiations have yet to arrive at the topic of disarmament and demobilization.
  • High Commissioner for Peace Sergio Jaramillo says about a possible post-conflict phase: “The first challenge is security. The second is which will be the model of reincorporation for the guerrillas. The third is the work of institutionally. The fourth is financing, since Colombia’s peace should be a peace of resources.”

August 28, 2014

  • In a meeting with President Santos, representatives of the OAS Inter-American Human Rights Commission express support for the peace negotiations. As reported by the Colombian government’s High Commissioner for Peace, the commissioners “expressed the Inter-American System’s willingness to contribute to the search for creative alternatives that allow the simultaneous achievement of the end of the armed conflict and the satisfaction of victims’ rights to truth, justice, reparation, and non-repetition.”
  • “The possibility does not exist that the FARC can keep its weapons while submitting the state to a sort of college-entry exam, to see if the government qualifies as complying or not with the accords,” says chief government negotiator Humberto de la Calle.

August 27, 2014

  • “I’m the one responsible for not transmitting, with enough pedagogy, the advances of the process, what we seek from it, and its benefits,” President Santos says, adding that this has allowed “the enemies of the process” to “poison the process, to misinform, and present things the way they are not.”

August 26, 2014

  • “No one has suggested to the FARC, nor have we ever said to the government, that there would be a single moment when we would hand over our arms. I repeat, there will be no photo op of the FARC handing over its arms,” guerrilla negotiator Andrés Paris tells an Agénce France-Presse interviewer. “We see disarmament as a long process.”
  • At the second anniversary of the announcement of talks with the FARC, government negotiators explain their progress at several events in Colombia. Their messages include an insistence that the FARC turn in its weapons, a refusal to consider a constitutional convention, and an intention to allow “transitional justice,” including alternative penalties, for military personnel accused of human rights violations.

August 25, 2014

  • President Santos says that the talks are in their final phase, which is the hardest: “This doesn’t mean we are ad portas, at the point of achieving peace now, but now that we have begun to talk about those issues, it seems to me that it is a very important step.”

August 24, 2014

  • In a lengthy interview with Colombia’s Semana newsmagazine, detained computer hacker Andrés Sepúlveda says that supporters of Former President Álvaro Uribe, along with some intelligence and military elements, hired him to tap into the communications of FARC negotiators in Havana. He adds that these individuals had also hired others to “fully infiltrate” the communications of government negotiators.
  • Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzón tells the Colombian daily El Tiempo that the involvement of active-duty military officers at the negotiating table will guarantee that the FARC turns in its weapons without “trying to trick the country” with hidden caches. The FARC responds with a statement calling on Minister Pinzón to “hold your tongue.”

August 22, 2014

  • At the end of the 27th round of talks, government and FARC negotiators announce the creation of a Historical Commission on the Conflict and its Victims: 14 experts who, during a 4-month period, will draft individual reports and combine them into a consensus report on “the origins and multiple causes of the armed conflict, the factors and conditions that have contributed to it or have facilitated its long duration, and the impact and effect that it has had on the civilian population,” in the words of lead government negotiator Humberto de la Calle.
  • Colombian government negotiators announce the formation of a sub-commission, whose members include active-duty military officers, to craft proposals for the peace talks’ “Ending the Conflict” agenda item. “The motive of this sub-commission,” a statement from Colombia’s Presidency reads, “seeks to begin the discussion of different options and models for relinquishment of weapons, demobilization, and the cease-fire that will only be implemented if a final accord is signed.” The sub-commission has one active-duty general, Javier Alberto Flórez, who steps down from his command position as chairman of the Colombian armed forces’ joint chiefs of staff. The FARC does not name members immediately; lead guerrilla negotiator Iván Márquez laments that “the government can bring the people it wants and we can’t.”
  • “I don’t really understand the criticism,” President Santos says in a speech to a bankers’ convention, referring to Former President Álvaro Uribe and others who voiced anger at the visit to the Havana peace talks of active-duty military officers. “That the military is going to be humiliated by confronting the enemy at the table and agreeing how the enemy is going to give up its arms? Who better than they, who have been the ones who have fought during all this time, to give advice, opinions, about how to achieve an effective, controllable cease-fire and how to guarantee a successful and real disarmament?”
  • FARC statement upon end of 27th round of talks

August 21, 2014

  • A delegation of active-duty military officers travels to Havana, where they meet with FARC negotiators. It is the first such interaction ever between guerrillas and non-retired military personnel. The seven-person group is headed by Gen. Javier Flórez, chairman of the Colombian armed forces’ joint chiefs of staff.

August 17, 2014

  • A group of 12 conflict victims visits Havana and meets with government and FARC negotiators. It is the first of five visits planned as part of the discussion of the peace talks’ “Victims” agenda item, organized by the Episcopal Conference of the Catholic church, the United Nations, and Colombia’s National University. “The meeting was carried out in an atmosphere of solemnity, respect, and, above all, much attention to the testimony and proposals of each of the victims,” reads a joint communiqué from the negotiators. “We consider this to be a transcendental moment in the process.”
  • “The victims delegation demanded that we bring these conversations to a good end, and to set in motion acts of peace,” lead government negotiator Humberto de la Calle says on August 20. “A person who has suffered the violation of his or her rights must not be victimized again, just for having gone to Havana to tell about his or her tragedy.”
  • “Never before has the direct participation of those who have suffered war’s consequences contributed so much to any peace process,” says lead FARC negotiator Iván Márquez on August 20.

August 14, 2014

  • President Santos names Oscar Naranjo, a former National Police chief and member of the government’s negotiating team, to the post of Minister Counselor for the Post-Conflict, Human Rights, and Security. The post, which some view as the embryonic version of a possible future minister of public security, involves planning for such post-conflict activities as demobilizing and reintegrating ex-combatants, confronting new armed groups that might emerge, and reorienting the security forces’ missions.

August 13, 2014

  • “We will assume our responsibilities about victims,” reads a FARC communiqué which calls on the government to “make an unprecedented fiscal effort” to provide reparations.

August 12, 2014

  • A 27th round of talks begins in Havana.
  • FARC statement upon launch of 27th round of talks

August 11, 2014

  • In an interview with the FARC negotiators’ website, maximum guerrilla leader Timoleón Jiménez hints, but does not quite say, that the FARC would get up from the negotiating table if government forces kill another of its top leaders.

August 8, 2014

  • European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, visiting Bogotá, reiterates the European Union’s support for Colombia’s peace talks.
  • Statement from FARC Secretariat member Carlos Antonio Lozada explaining “reasons” for the guerrilla group’s founding

August 7, 2014

  • President Santos is sworn in for a second term in office. “Our first pillar will be peace,” he says in his inaugural address.
  • “In the noble effort of achieving peace, which will encourage the development of all of Colombia’s citizens, you may always count on Spain’s firm and committed support,” says Spanish King Juan Carlos.
  • Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa expresses his country’s support for Colombia’s peace effort.

August 6, 2014

  • Colombia’s Constitutional Court rules that guerrillas accused of committing serious violations of human rights will be ineligible to run for political office after they demobilize.
  • “We are supporting the peace negotiations, and despite some regrettable acts in recent days [referring to FARC attacks], which have affected the civilian population, we still think that the road to peace is a correct road and that it should continue,” says OAS Secretary-General José Miguel Insulza.

August 5, 2014

  • A joint government-FARC communiqué announces agreement on visits of groups of conflict victims to the Havana negotiating table, and rules for a Historical Commission on the Conflict and its Victims to investigate the causes of the conflict and its persistence.
  • “It is not true that we’re discussing with the FARC any reduction or increase, diminution, changes in the military or the police. This issue is not mentioned,” President Santos tells a military audience.

August 1, 2014

  • At a meeting in Cartagena, President Santos thanks Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro for his government’s support of the FARC peace process. “We’re entering what I would call the definitive phase, the final phase, and that’s when we’ll need the most help.”

July 31, 2014

  • “We think that now is the time that there should be much clearer messages from the FARC, much clearer gestures, which can make people think that they’re headed for the end; instead of what they are doing today,” High Commissioner for Peace Sergio Jaramillo tells a forum in Quibdó, Chocó. He adds, “This process does not intend to resolve all of the country’s problems. This process cannot intend to resolve the serious problems that a department like Chocó confronts, but it can lay down some critical foundations.”

July 29, 2014

  • After a wave of guerrilla attacks, including a power pylon bombing that darkens the port city of Buenaventura, President Santos threatens to cut off the talks. “What we are saying to them is, keep this up and you are playing with fire and this [peace] process can end.” He adds that an accord that does not require the FARC to turn in its weapons would be “perfectly ridiculous and absurd.”
  • “We will not be the ones that break the talks,” FARC negotiator Marco León Calarcá tells the UK daily The Guardian. “But they’re playing with fire when they try to eliminate our leaders with bombings. That could make us leave the table, because it would be clear they had no political will to reach agreement. It’s not as simple as we hand in our arms and we can enter politics—because they will kill us.”
  • A Barometer of the Americas poll finds that 53.7 percent of Colombians would not accept a strong FARC showing in October 2015 departmental and municipal elections, versus 35.1 percent who could accept it. Sixty percent of those polled in the most conflictive zones of the country support the idea of negotiating with the guerrillas, compared to 53 percent nationally.
  • President Santos thanks Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for his government’s support of Colombia’s peace process.
  • In a statement, government negotiators insist that members of the military who suffered violations of their rights at the hands of the FARC qualify as victims, and can therefore participate in planned delegations of victims to meet with negotiators in Havana.

We’re still filling in March through July. Updates coming soon.

March 6, 2014

  • The 21st round of talks between FARC and government negotiators, covering the drug policy agenda topic, is to end in Havana.

March 5, 2014

  • Gen. Jorge Enrique Mora, the former head of the armed forces who has been a member of the government’s negotiating team since formal talks started, denies rumors that he plans to leave his post.

March 4 , 2014

  • The FARC requests safe conduct to send two or three representatives to Bogotá, so that they might argue before the country’s Constitutional Court against the government’s proposed referendum to ratify an eventual peace accord. The government denies the request.

March 1, 2014

  • A poll commissioned by several major Colombian media outlets finds little change in public opinion about the FARC peace talks. By a 21-point margin, Colombian respondents say they are optimistic about the process. By very wide margins (though slightly narrower than in January), they oppose any deal that would allow former FARC leaders to escape imprisonment or to participate in politics.

February 28, 2014

  • A top FARC leader joins the guerrillas’ negotiating team in Havana: Fabián Ramírez, commander of the 14th Front, part of the FARC’s Southern Bloc. The Southern Bloc had been under-represented among the guerrilla negotiators since 2012. This had led some observers to question whether this powerful unit, believed to be deeply involved in narcotrafficking, shares the leadership’s commitment to the peace process.

February 24, 2014

  • FARC and government negotiators begin a 21st round of talks in Havana. Drug policy is the current agenda topic.
  • FARC negotiators in Havana issue a statement about corruption scandals that have shaken Colombia’s armed forces. Government negotiators reply with an angry statement rejecting “the FARC unacceptably pointing an accusing finger, which doesn’t contribute at all to the peace effort.”

February 18, 2014

  • President Santos dismisses the chief of Colombia’s armed forces, Gen. Leonardo Barrero, after the leak of recorded phone conversations in which the general, speaking to an officer accused of human rights abuses, criticizes civilian judges and prosecutors. In his parting remarks, Gen. Barrero referenced the peace talks, voicing his “hope… that our institution will not be the subject of negotiation in any scenario.”
  • After President Santos issues a statement voicing concern about street protests in Venezuela and calling for dialogue, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro–whose country is one of two “accompanying” the peace process–responds angrily. “Venezuleans will resolve Venezuelans’ problems. Enough already, damn it!”

February 17, 2014

  • President Santos meets with the foreign ministers of the United Kingdom and Norway, who reiterate their governments’ support for the peace talks underway in Havana.

February 13, 2014

  • Government and FARC negotiators complete the 20th round of talks in Havana, currently focused on “Solution to the Problem of Illicit Drugs,” the third negotiating agenda item. An upbeat joint communiqué indicates that a draft accord on this item is taking shape.
  • Statement of chief government negotiator Humberto de la Calle
  • Statement of FARC negotiators

February 11, 2014

  • Meeting in Cartagena with President Santos, the president of Peru, Ollanta Humala, says that Colombia’s peace process will be “a transcendental milestone in all of the Latin American region,” adding “Peru puts itself at Colombia’s disposition for any issue in which we can cooperate, collaborate in the achievement of peace.”

February 7, 2014

  • A joint FARC and ELN statement views the “Andromeda” wiretapping scandal as evidence that, “from offices within the state, operations against the achievement of the country’s peace and democratization are being prepared.”
  • The peace process, President Santos tells a military audience, “is on the right track and we’ll achieve that peace by any means, with carrot and stick.” Santos also says that he will await the Prosecutor-General’s determination about whether the Army intelligence unit that allegedly spied on government negotiators was acting illegally.

February 4, 2014

  • The Colombian newsmagazine Semana reveals that an Army intelligence operation, code-named “Andromeda,” has been intercepting the e-mail and text messages of some of the Colombian government’s peace negotiators. Two generals are suspended as President Santos, citing “dark forces” opposed to peace, demands a rapid investigation. FARC negotiator Iván Márquez blames ex-President Álvaro Uribe for the operation. A day later, President Santos backtracks somewhat, saying that the existence of “Andromeda” itself was not illegal.

February 3, 2014

  • The 20th round of government-FARC talks, focused on the “solution to the problem of illicit drugs” agenda topic, begins in Havana.
  • Great Britain “admires” President Santos’s effort to negotiate peace, says Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg while on a visit to Bogotá.
  • In a letter to Vice President Angelino Garzón, the FARC turn down the Vice President’s suggestion that the guerrillas declare a unilateral cease-fire during the election campaign. To the suggestion that both sides agree to respect “minimum” humanitarian standards in the conflict, the guerrillas accept, but on the condition that the government dismantle “new” paramilitary groups.

February 2, 2014

  • An Ipsos Napoleón Franco poll shows 58 percent of Colombian respondents doubting that the government’s talks with the FARC will succeed, up from 55 percent in November 2013. The percentage of respondents opposed to allowing FARC members to avoid prison (65%) or to serve in Congress (67%) is largely unchanged.
  • FARC negotiator Pablo Catatumbo reveals that guerrilla negotiators had met in Havana days earlier with the president of Uruguay, José Mujica, who was among the regional presidents attending the January 28–29 CELAC summit. Catatumbo does not reveal what Mujica and the guerrilla negotiators discussed.

January 29, 2014

  • In their final declaration [PDF], the presidents of every member of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC, which includes every Western Hemisphere country except the United States and Canada) “reiterate our support to the dialogue process” between the Colombian government and the FARC.
  • Meeting with President Santos in Havana, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro voices his support for the FARC peace talks.

January 23, 2014

  • The 19th round of government-FARC talks, focused on “solutions to the problem of illicit drugs,” ends in Havana. The parties issue no joint statement.
  • In a statement, the FARC Secretariat claims responsibility for, and expresses its “repudiation and condemnation” of, the January 16 attack on the town center of Pradera, Valle del Cauca. El Tiempo, Colombia’s most-circulated daily newspaper, says the declaration “indicates a historical change in this guerrilla group.”
  • After a week in which government forces killed 26 FARC members in Arauca, Meta, and Tolima, chief FARC negotiator Iván Márquez accuses President Santos of “escalating the war” in what he viewed as a misguided effort to achieve peace. Márquez says the guerrillas are not negotiating “as the consequence of military pressure or while on our way to surrender.”
  • Uruguayan President José Mujica says he will meet separately with FARC negotiators and with President Santos while both presidents are in Havana for the January 28–29 summit meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). President Santos makes clear that he will not in fact meet with the FARC during his Havana visit, and in the end he does not meet with Mujica.
  • Speaking at a conference sponsored by WOLA, the president of Colombia’s Senate, Juan Fernando Cristo, calls on Washington to launch a “Plan Colombia 2”–this time for victims of the conflict. “The same U.S. commitment cannot disappear if an accord with the FARC is signed, it should stay intact, only not for war but for peace.”

January 22, 2014

  • “What worries me [about the peace talks]?” asks President Santos, speaking at an event in Spain. “That they [the FARC] might commit an irrational act that makes it impossible to continue, an assassination attempt against an important public figure, something that really could make the process explode in a thousand pieces.” President Santos adds, “The military offensive will continue until we reach some accords, as though there were no conversations going on in Havana,” and calls on his negotiators in Havana to continue as though in Colombia “there was no combat going on, as though there were no military offensives.”

January 21, 2014

  • The Colombian government’s negotiating team posts a web document debunking five “Myths About the Peace Process.”

January 18, 2014

  • On the 10th anniversary of his extradition to the United States, the FARC renews its call for the return of guerrilla leader Simon Trinidad, whom it has named to its negotiating team.

January 17, 2014

  • President Obama signs into law a budget bill including 2014 appropriations for foreign assistance. It includes langage freezing 25 percent of military assistance until the State Department can certify that Colomia satisfies several conditions, principally having to do with human rights. This year, a new condition appears, with relevance for post-conflict transitional justice in Colombia: that “the government is investigating and punishing those responsible for crimes against humanity and war crimes, and is not offering amnesty to such persons.”

January 16, 2014

  • The morning after the FARC’s one-month truce ends, a motorcycle bomb explodes in the central square of Pradera, in Valle del Cauca department near Cali. One person dies and over 50 are wounded, all of them non-combatants. “This news surprises me,” FARC negotiator Rodrigo Granda tells reporters. President Santos calls the bombing “an act of infinite stupidity.”

January 15, 2014

  • The FARC ends its one-month cease-fire. Non-governmental security analysts like CERAC and the Peace and Reconciliation Foundation find that the guerrillas’ offensive actions declined by about 95 percent during this 31-day period. Actions that appeared to violate the FARC cease-fire occurrred in Antioqua, Chocó, Caquetá, Putumayo, and–as was the case in the FARC’s 2012–13 cease-fire–in Cauca and Valle del Cauca.
  • “Sometime, I think there will be a suspension of talks until after the election,” says an unnamed U.S. State Department official cited in Colombian radio reports. “I think that would be natural. If that does not happen and they continue talking, the better, but if it happens, I do not think anyone should lose hope [in the process].”

January 14, 2014

  • FARC negotiators release a proposal for a national program to substitute crops used to make illicit drugs. It includes some legalization and regulation of these crops’ production, and the demilitarization of areas where substitution is to take place.

January 13, 2014

  • FARC and Colombian government negotiators begin a 19th round of talks in Havana. They issue a brief communique announcing that, after exchanging proposals on the “drug policy” agenda item, the negotiating teams would meet separately for several days to analyze them.
  • “There have been many concerns, and not as many satisfactions as one would want, but there has not been a single day in which I was not motivated to achieve this task,” says chief government negotiator Humberto de la Calle, in a statement.
  • Chief FARC negotiator Iván Márquez criticizes an earlier statement from President Santos declaring, “There will be no impunity for the bandits of the FARC who have mistreated the citizenry for 50 years.” Márquez responds, “We haven’t come to Havana to negotiate impunity,” and calls for a truth commission.

January 9, 2013

  • Venezuela releases from prison Guillermo Enrique Torres alias “Julián Conrado,” a FARC member known as a singer and songwriter. Conrado travels to Havana, where he joins the FARC negotiating team as one of the only representatives of the group’s Southern Bloc. Conrado’s release came at the Colombian government’s request, although Bogotá had sought his extradition since his 2010 capture in Barinas, Venezuela.

Timeline for 2015 | Timeline for 2013 | Timeline for 2012 and earlier

2 comments for “Peace Timeline 2014

  1. Adolfo Hernandez
    February 1, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    You guys have done an excellent job. I would appreciate receiving posts about this important process

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