Where’s the peace? Colombia without FARC-EP

José Darío Rodríguez Cuadros, SJ

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On November 24, 2016, in Bogota’s Colón Theater, a peace agreement was signed between the Colombian Government and the guerrillas of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia—Ejército del Pueblo (FARC-EP).[1] Seven months later, on June 27, 2017, the world witnessed the official demobilization of this armed group in a public event during which the UN verification mission confirmed the delivery of 7,132 weapons since March 1, 2017,[2] the date on which the disarmament process had begun. Once this phase was over FARC-EP disappeared as a guerilla movement and became a political party, taking the name Fuerza Alternative Revolucionaria del Común (FARC). This event marked the end of the oldest continuous domestic armed conflict in Latin America.

Yet today, three years after the delivery of weapons by FARC-EP members, a new wave of armed violence affects the population in different parts of the country. What has happened to the implementation of the peace agreements? What is the reason for this new period of violence in Colombia? Will it be possible to continue building peace? This article intends to show the characteristics of the new situation in Colombia and to analyze the process of implementing the agreement between the government and the guerrillas.

In order to propose an overall view of the issue, we will first analyze the repercussions triggered by the handover of the government  of former President Juan Manuel Santos to that of his successor, Iván Duque Márquez. We will then present an assessment of the positive and negative aspects of the attempts to implement the agreement. Finally, we will conclude with some hopeful prospects linked to the role that Colombian civil society and the international community can play in the current situation, especially by offering the necessary support to ensure that the implementation of the peace agreement continues and achieves its objective.

The presidential transition from Santos to Duque

At the end of his second term of office (2014-18), Juan Manuel Santos was unable to run again in the presidential elections because of a provision in the Colombian Constitution. President Santos, Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2016 and main promoter of the FARC-EP peace process, had to give way to a new government elected by popular vote for the period 2018-22.

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