Profiles two communities of ex-combatants who are developing their own productive projects.
A conversation with Emilio Archila, the presidential advisor for stabilization and consolidation, about how programs to reintegrate excombatants are adjusting to the coronavirus crisis.
A wide-ranging quarterly report about the state of accord implementation, from the UN Verification Mission in Colombia. (Link at undocs.org)
An interview with Carlos Ruiz Massieu, chief of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia, about the status of peace accord implementation after three years.
Posted March 3, 2020.
- Following the killing of two demobilized guerrillas in the previous week, in Huila and Chocó, the FARC raises the volume of its calls for stronger protections of ex-combatants. In a video shared on social media, top leader Rodrigo Londoño says, “The President is indolent, his inaction makes him complicit with the genocide that is presenting itself with the ex-guerrillas.”
- “It’s absurd and irresponsible for the leader of an opposition party to link the President to the attacks on ex-combatants,” responded High Counselor for Stabilization and Consolidation Emilio Archila. “The FARC party is playing politics with peace. The enemies are in the dissidences and in narcotrafficking: not in the government.”
- After the latest killings, Truth Commission chief Francisco De Roux asks, “Why do they kill those who want peace? Why don’t the state security forces care especially for those who trusted institutions and took the risk of working for reconciliation? Are we going to repeat the shocking truth of the Patriotic Union genocide?
- The FARC convenes a cacerolazo (pot-banging protest) in Bogotá to draw attention to their protection needs.
- Fighting between the Gulf Clan and dissidents from the FARC’s 18th Front displaces 863 people in the rural zone of Ituango, Antioquia, which lies on a strategic trafficking route. Some say they were given ten minutes to leave their homes on pain of death.
- Intelligence sources tell El Colombiano that the displacement is a tactic that armed groups use when they are in a position of weakness. “The people in the 18th Front residual group are surrounded by Gulf Clan personnel. So they pressure the communities to displace the that automatically obligates the Army to mobilize its troops, avoiding the other group’s advance.
- Earlier in the month, the entire remaining population of the Santa Lucía FARC demobilization site (ETCR) in Ituango—62 former fighters and 45 relatives—decided to abandon the site within 60 days due to threats. Twelve former FARC members have been killed in Ituango, more than any other municipality. Departmental and national government agencies are discussing options with the ETCR’s residents.
- The Army’s 7th Division reports on January 30 that it had learned of a plot by FARC dissident groups to assassinate ex-guerrillas living at the Santa Lucía facility.
- Pablo Elías González resigns as head of the Interior Ministry’s National Protection Unit, which is charged with providing security for threatened social leaders, ex-combatants, officials, and others. González cites “personal reasons” for leaving.
- González’s replacement, at least on an interim basis, is the vice-minister of Interior for political relations, Daniel Palacios. FARC leaders object to having Palacios in charge of their protection. In 2017, Palacios wrote on social media, “It’s inadmissible that FARC terrorists should stroll down the streets of Bogotá with the excuse of carrying out pedagogy for peace, without even having confessed their crimes or given reparations to their victims.”
La Silla Vacía goes beyond the numbers, explaining the worsening crisis of homicides of demobilized FARC members.
- Maximum FARC leader Rodrigo Londoño alias “Timochenko” publishes an open letter alleging that the government is failing to honor its peace accord commitments and that the process is approaching a “precipice.” Demobilized guerrillas, the FARC leader writes, “now find no other solution other than to abandon the ETCR [former demobilization zones] and seek another place to settle and continue their reincorporation process. They are forcibly displaced.… In the Havana peace accords the Colombian state committed itself to provide the reincorporated guerrillas with [security] guarantees. And to social leaders and opposition leaders, all who participate in politics. It’s absolutely clear that none of that has been complied with.”
- On February 3 the government’s high counselor for stabilization and consolidation, Emilio Archila, dismisses the FARC leader’s communication as “a political letter.” Archila says that Londoño “is mistaken surely in good faith, ignorant, but in good faith,” about the Prosecutor’s Office’s alleged failure to prosecute killings of FARC members. He tells reporters, “The FARC director is wrong to believe that he can impose the way in which the accords should be implemented. The Constitutional Court has been clear that the accords should be implemented during three presidential terms… according to each President’s vision.”
- On January 27, Archila had announced a package of ten protection measures for ex-combatants. These include an attention plan for the majority of ex-fighters who no longer live in the ETCR; increased training in self-protection; more resources for the Prosecutor-General’s Office (Fiscalía); and monthly meetings of agencies responsible for protection to review new threats and response measures.
The 18th Front FARC dissident group and the Gulf Clan paramilitaries are increasing their presence in the historically conflictive municipality of Ituango, Antioquia, where demobilized FARC members are especially vulnerable.
Maximum FARC party leader Rodrigo Londoño alias Timochenko talks about the alleged attempt on his life, and about divisions within the ex-guerrillas’ political party.