Colombia’s New Government Against Militant Groups

Summary

Colombia voted in their first left-wing president, Gustavo Petro, along with the first-ever black vice president, Francia Marquez. [source] Colombian people want to break the status quo and rebuild a society that has been neglected by their government. Previous governments are accused of overseeing the vast rich-poor divide, failing to successfully enact a peace deal with the FARC, neglecting those who live in marginalised communities on the fringes of society, and allowing the destruction of Colombia’s natural areas. [source]

A new president means a fresh start for Colombia; however, it won’t be easy. Colombian congress is deeply divided with a dozen parties holding seats. As a former guerrilla fighter, he will have to build a good rapport with the police and military to ensure security and protection. Gustavo Petro also wants to rebuild the country environmentally and has raised economic fears over the cessation of new oil contracts with oil exports accounting to close to 10% of annual GDP. [source]

Colombia has been in a war for almost half a century. Militant groups like the FARC and the ELN have plagued Colombian society with terror attacks and intimidation tactics. Petro is trying to change the future of Colombia. Previously, fighters have had few economic incentives to demobilise. The cocaine trade, kidnappings and gold mining are lucrative businesses, but they are nefarious to society. Petro has pledged to reform society by implementing economic changes that will incentivise fighters to reintegrate into society, namely education and work. [source] [source]

KJ 1: Gustavo Petro is highly likely to implement social reforms.

  • Gustavo Petro has stated that he will target the vast inequality that plagues Colombian society. Colombians have accused the previous right-wing leaders of overseeing the rich-poor gap in the country. [source]
  • Petro has pledged that he will bridge the gap by providing free university education, and pension reforms, and help the marginalised communities in the Andean Region where nearly half the population lives in poverty. [source]
  • Petro has pledged that he will strengthen agriculture, tourism, and manufacturing. [source]
  • Petro wants to oversee the successful implementation of the peace deal with the FARC, something that Ivan Duque’s government did not do. This will provide an incentive for other militant groups to demobilise and reintegrate into society. [source]

KJ 2:  Gustavo Petro is highly likely to begin peace negotiations with the ELN.

  • Gustavo Petro’s government are looking to reduce inequality in the country and implement agricultural reforms aiming to provide state support for marginalised communities. [source]
  • ELN leaders have stated that Petro will be a popular figure in society if he manages to implement reform. ELN leaders have previously stated their desire to demobilise and reintegrate into society. They are more likely to do this if Petro manages to implement economic and civil reforms. [source]
  • ELN leaders have previously tried to negotiate peace with the Colombian government but each time the talks failed. There will be renewed hope that under a left-leaning leader the left-wing group can trust the government to successfully reach a mutually beneficial agreement.  [source]

KJ 3: It is likely that negotiations will not completely stop violence in Colombia. 

  • Although both the FARC and the ELN are trying to demobilise, they are still worried that other militant groups will try to claim their economically and strategically important locations, coca plantations and gold mines. [source]
  • The ELN has a highly decentralised leadership system and so achieving a peace deal will be difficult for Petro’s government. There are 7 fronts to the ELN and each one operates autonomously. [source]
  • Relations between Colombia and Venezuela are weak with Venezuelan refugees being recruited by militant groups at the border. This fills the ranks left void by any fighter who lays down their weapon for government schemes. [source]

Intelligence Cut-Off Date 14-07-2022

Nicholas Fullick
Nicholas Fullick
Nicholas is a graduate in Portuguese and Spanish from Cardiff University. He is currently studying a Master's in Intelligence and Security Studies from Brunel University with hopes of starting a career in intelligence. His research focus is on South and Central America. https://www.linkedin.com/in/nick-fullick-3b1780232/

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