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  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Almost six years of intense security operations against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) by the administration of President Álvaro Uribe are beginning to produce tangible results. Government forces killed several important rebel field commanders in 2007 and two members of the central command in March 2008, including second-in-command Raúl Reyes, and have severely disrupted insurgent communications, prompting a loss of internal cohesion and decreasing illegal revenues. However, this progress has come at the cost of severely deteriorating relations with Ecuador and Venezuela and increased risk of political isolation after the controversial bombing raid on Reyes's camp inside Ecuador. Military gains can pay off only if combined with a political strategy that consistently pursues a swap of imprisoned insurgents for hostages in FARC captivity, reestablishes much needed working relations with neighbours along borders and strongly advances integrated rural development to consolidate security and broaden Colombia's international support.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Security, Politics, Regional Cooperation, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Colombia, Latin America, Central America, Venezuela
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: President Evo Morales's efforts to consolidate sweeping reforms on the basis of a controversial new constitution have steered Bolivia into a cul-de-sac. On 8 December 2007, his supporters in the Constituent Assembly (CA) provisionally passed the text by running roughshod over procedures and virtually excluding opposition delegates. Weak attempts to bridge the deepening divide have failed, increasing potential for a violent confrontation both sides still seem to wish to avoid. Openly defying Morales in May 2008, however, Santa Cruz massively approved the department's autonomy statutes by referendum. Two other eastern lowland departments followed suit, with the fourth expected to do so on 22 June. Morales is pushing for final adoption of the constitution by referendum and a popular vote of confidence. The Organization of American States (OAS), the European Union (EU) and several European countries, and the Group of Friends (Argentina, Brazil and Colombia) should provide good offices to help the government and opposition reach urgent agreement on a revised constitution that can keep the country together.
  • Topic: Government, Political Economy, Politics
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: In February 2004, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the major insurgent group, announced creation of a three-member negotiation commission and a "diplomatic offensive" aimed at obtaining the release of hundreds of its imprisoned members in exchange for about 60 military and political hostages it holds. This has raised hope among the relatives of hostages and kidnap victims that a "humanitarian exchange" could happen in the not too distant future.
  • Topic: Security, Human Rights, Politics
  • Political Geography: Colombia, South America, Latin America
  • Publication Date: 11-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: More than any of his predecessors, President Alvaro Uribe has made combating the insurgents the overriding priority and defining objective of the Colombian government. Through modest achievements on the ground a sense of public security has begun to be re-established. However, Uribe's "Democratic Security Policy" (DSP), the long-term strategy promised to lend coherence to the security effort, has been stalled for nearly a year by political infighting and fundamental arguments over how best to bring the 40-year conflict to a close. Without some serious modifications, it is doubtful that it will achieve its goal.
  • Topic: Security, Politics
  • Political Geography: Colombia, South America, Latin America
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Eighteen months after the rupture of peace talks between its predecessor and the main insurgent group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the Uribe administration has entered upon a high risk-high gain negotiating process with the main paramilitary group, the United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (AUC), that will test its skill and its good faith.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Politics
  • Political Geography: Colombia, South America, Latin America
  • Publication Date: 10-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Alvaro Uribe was inaugurated President of Colombia on 7 August 2002 with a strong electoral mandate to fulfil his pledge to enhance the state's authority and guarantee security. In his inaugural address, Uribe promised to search for a negotiated solution to the long-standing armed confrontation with both insurgent groups, the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) as well as with the paramilitary United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (AUC). However, in stark contrast to his predecessor, Andrés Pastrana, he conditioned new negotiations on a ceasefire and complete suspension of hostilities.
  • Topic: Security, Politics
  • Political Geography: Colombia, South America, Latin America
  • Publication Date: 04-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: On 10 March 2002, little more than two weeks after the end of the peace process with the insurgent Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia-Ejército del Pueblo (FARC), Colombians elected a new House of Representatives and Senate. Despite heightened apprehension among the electorate and the government about violent interference by the guerrilla and paramilitary organisations, the polls took place in an atmosphere of relative calm and good order. In part this was due to the large-scale deployment of military and police forces across the country to guarantee voter security.
  • Topic: Security, Politics
  • Political Geography: Colombia, South America, Latin America
  • Publication Date: 05-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: This presidential election (first round on 26 May 2002; second round, if needed, on 16 June) will be crucial for the future of Colombia's democracy and its struggle against insurgents and paramilitaries, drugs and widespread poverty. Social and economic distress is now widespread. Public frustration with the ill-fated peace process of the Pastrana Administration over the past three years, its definitive rupture on 20 February 2002, and increased attacks by the main rebel group, the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia- Ejército del Pueblo (FARC) on civilians and infrastructure since mid-January have made “war/peace” and “violence” the key vote- determining issues. The failure to negotiate a solution to the longstanding civil war over the past three years has polarised the electorate.
  • Topic: Security, Politics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Colombia, South America, Latin America
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: In February 2002, negotiations to end the most dangerous confrontation of Colombia's decades of civil war collapsed. Nearly four years earlier, the newly-inaugurated President Andrés Pastrana had opened talks with the country's major remaining rebel groups, the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia-Ejército del Pueblo (FARC) and the Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN), with great enthusiasm and hope. But the fighting never ended while the talks sputtered on, and the country now appears headed for a new round of violence in its cities and against its infrastructure. The international community is concerned about the implications not only for Colombia's people and its democratic institutions, but also wider regional stability.
  • Topic: Security, Politics
  • Political Geography: Colombia, South America, Latin America