Colombian Conflict (1964 - )

The Colombian conflict is really a set of conflicts and the peace agreements reflect both different processes relating to different conflict groups and dyads, and processes taking place at different times in a complex peace process history. The Colombian civil war has its roots in the late 1940s and the violent infighting between liberal and the conservative factions. Emerging from the liberal tradition with a thorough grounding in nationalist communist ideology, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia—People's Army (FARC) began its armed insurrection against the Colombian government in 1964. Other left-wing guerrillas emerged as well, most notably the socialist/populist M-19, which would later be integrated into the formal political system in the peace process of 1990s; the National Liberation Army (ELN), which has strong roots in liberation theology, and the Maoist Ejército Popular de Liberación (EPL) (also part of the 1990 process, less successfully). Several stages of peace processes were undertaken by the various sides, which were further complicated by the emergence of right-wing paramilitary ‘self-defence’ forces. The peace agreement between the Colombian government under President Uribe and the main alliance of the paramilitary groups, the United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (AUC), concluded in 2005 and is still heavily disputed as several remnants are still active, but now subsumed under the heading ‘Bacrim’ (Bandas criminales). In addition, FARC and ELN maintain a military presence, but both demonstrate a strong interest in completing successful peace negotiations with the government, with the most recent agreements being between FARC and the Government.

The University of Edinburgh