Colombia: Peace Process and Challenges in the Post-Conflict Period

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2020-64-1-110-118

Z. Iwanowski (z.,
Institute of Latin American Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, 21/16, Bol’shaya Ordynka Str., Moscow, 115035, Russian Federation;
Lomonosov Moscow State University, 1, Leninskie Gory, Moscow, 119991, Russian Federation

Acknowledgements. The article has been supported by a grant of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR). Project no. 18-09-00021 History of Colombia, from the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the XXI Century.

Abstract. The paper discusses the main trends in the social and political development of Colombia in the early 21st century. Due to a compromise between the struggling parties, on the one hand, and effective mediation by international community, on the other, the internal armed conflict ended with a peace treaty signed by both forces: government and left radical guerilla. During referendum, a majority of participants did not support peace agreement. In the context of a “right drift”, I. Duque, the supporter of a tougher policy towards former partisans, came to power. However, later, under pressure from international community and internal opposition, the President has taken a more cautious stance. Representatives of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have occupied a number of seats in parliament; government does in general fulfill its financial obligations towards integrating the demobilized fighters into peaceful life, but it has failed to implement sound structural reforms. Former partisans are particularly concerned about growing attempts to revise conditions of transitional justice while the government is unable to offer them an adequate level of personal security. As a result, some dissident groups and their leaders have resumed hostilities, the guevarist (associated with the strategy of Ernesto „Che” Guevara) National Liberation Army (ELN) has also continued terrorist acts. Nevertheless, the renewal of a full-scale conflict is unlikely due to powerful security forces, small number and fragmentation of partisan units operating in some remote areas, their weak coordination and a rivalry between the FARC and the ELN. Despite relatively favorable economic situation, the President has attempted to unleash the unpopular measure of tax increase. Other challenges are student strikes demanding a reform of higher education, continuous drug trafficking, high level of violence and corruption, and the presence of more than a million of Venezuelan refugees on the Colombian land. According to the author’s conclusion, amid such extreme political polarization, unresolved social problems and high level of organized crime, definitive stabilization in Colombia is an extremely complicated matter. However, the country’s unconventional experience in overcoming acute armed confrontation may be useful to unblock protracted conflicts in other regions of the world.

Keywords: Colombia, internal armed conflict, elections, polarization, organized crime, terrorism, social situation, political processes


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For citation:
Iwanowski Z. Colombia: Peace Process and Challenges in the Post-Conflict Period. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2020, vol. 64, no. 1, pp. 110-118.

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