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Security in times of pandemic

Por: Línea de Conflicto, Paz y Postconflicto. Pares

It has been nearly four years since the Peace Accords were signed between the Colombian government and Farc-Ep and two years since Ivan Duque Marquez – from Centro Democratico political party was sworn in as President of Colombia. In recent weeks there have been acts of violence with such degree of intensity that they have sunken the Colombian society into concern and fear.

There have also been a series of massacres that have left several dozens of people dead. In addition, there have been attacks against the Law Enforcement Agencies resulting in many if their members injured and dead, and eventually communities in different parts of the national territory have witnessed in horror confrontations between criminal organizations that last entire days.

After months of research in this regard, Fundación Paz y Reconciliación – Pares Foundation presents this report on the critical security situation in Colombia. Below we find five major conclusions:

1. Analyzing the data on security, it can be said that homicides have decreased as compared to 2019 as a result of the preventative confinement measures, but in truth several security indicators have had complex setbacks – for instance, forced displacement, violent actions in territories and subversive actions. Indicators from several years seem to show that this decline in security had been in progress for at least two years, but could be regarded as an underground reality as it was not clearly visible.

2. The so-called Post-Farc or Dissident Groups, the ELN guerrilla and the Organized Armed Groups (GAOs) have almost doubled their territorial armed presence over the last two years. Post-Farc Armed Groups went from operating in 56 municipalities in 2018 to 113 as of August 2020. ELN went from having presence in 99 municipalities to more than 160 in 2020, and Clan del Golfo Organized Armed Group currently operates in over 200 municipalities.

3. The most recent wave of violence that has included several massacres could be explained by the concept of a negative technical tie. Criminal disputes generally last for two (2) years or a little longer. Currently, the dispute over several zones that belonged to the former FARC has been raging on for three (3) years as a result of the impossibility for one criminal organization to prevail over the others. None is strong enough to win the war; therefore, they resort to violence against the civilian population to win the support of the communities. There will be at least one more year of criminal dispute in various regions of the country.

4. Despite formally adding the guidelines of the Implementation Framework Plan – PMI (from its original Spanish language initials, Plan Marco de Implementación), which drives public policy for the implementation of the Agreement in the National Development Plan (mainly due to national and international regulatory obligations), the truth is that the balances of implementation of the Peace Agreement made by think tanks, government-independent social organizations, and even State Agencies, have shown a lack of political will for the implementation of the agreements and constant delays in such critical matters as payments to the families that voluntarily substitute their coca crops, or security guarantees of leaders and Farc-Ep ex-combatants.

5. A crisis is evident in the Law Enforcement Agencies – in particular the Military Forces. Since the beginning of President Iván Duque’s administration, the Military Forces have been at the center of the hurricane. There have been complaints from international organizations about the election of its military leadership, as some members were involved in investigations and scandals for human rights violations and serious breaches of International Humanitarian Law, among which is former commander of the Army Nicacio de Jesús Martínez. The New York Times complaint (May 2019) points out that the guidelines that promoted the reduction of the standard of precision in military operations – along with incentives for the purpose of obtaining results – were the beginning of a series of scandals.


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