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Violence from FARC Dissidents Undermines Colombian Peace Deal

Violence from FARC Dissidents Undermines Colombian Peace Deal

By Andréa Barretto/Diálogo
August 21, 2020

November 2020 marks the third anniversary of the peace deal between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC, in Spanish). Violence, however, continues as dissidents who oppose the deal carry out criminal acts, and threaten to retaliate against those who have agreed to disarm.

In mid-July, in the country’s northwest, 94 former combatants and their families relocated to get away from the risks they faced. They settled in another municipality, where the government was prepared to receive the families.

Former FARC guerillas arrange their belongings after arriving at a new reintegration zone in Mutatá, Antioquia Department, Colombia, on July 16, 2020. (Photo: Joaquin Sarmiento/AFP)

Since the beginning of the peace process, 206 former FARC members have been killed. Thirty-three assassinations alone occurred in 2020, according to the latest Quarterly Report of the United Nations (U.N.) Verification Mission in Colombia, with data from March 27 to June 26, 2020.

The threats and deaths of former combatants have been attributed to disputes over coca producing territories led by other armed groups, such as the National Liberation Army, or narcotraffickers and FARC dissidents who remain criminally organized.

In June, in Cauca, a department in southwestern Colombia with the highest rates of violence, according to the U.N.  report, the Colombian Army rescued two tourists — a Brazilian and a Swiss national — who had been kidnapped three months prior by the FARC dissident group known as the Dagoberto Ramos Mobile Column. During the operation, the Army captured one of the kidnappers.

In addition to the kidnappings, the group has been accused of carrying out murders, such as the massacre of five indigenous social leaders in October 2019, and of making threats against former combatants who agreed to the peace deal. Authorities arrested one of the leaders of the Dagoberto Ramos Mobile Column, Israel Méndez Quitumbo, in late June, during a joint operation between the Colombian Military Forces and the National Police.