Peace Talks in Colombia June S. Beittel Analyst in Latin American Affairs March 1, 2013 Congressional Research Service 7-5700 R42982 CRS Report for Congress Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress Peace Talks in Colombia Summary In August 2012, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced that exploratory peace talks with the violent leftist insurgent group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), were underway in a bid to resolve a nearly 50-year internal armed conflict. The initial dialogue between the Santos government and the FARC’s leadership, carried out in secret, led to the opening of formal peace talks with the FARC—the oldest, largest, and best financed guerrilla organization in Latin America. The formal talks began in Oslo, Norway, in October 2012 and have moved to Havana, Cuba, where they continue. These official talks between the government and FARC are the first in a decade and the fourth effort in the last 30 years. Some observers maintain that conditions may be the best seen to date for moving toward a negotiated peace settlement, as talks at this time may appear to both sides to be more attractive than continuing to fight. It now appears that the Santos peace initiative was anticipated in the proposal of several legislative reforms enacted in the administration’s first two years in office, including a law to restitute victims of the conflict and a “peace framework” law. In addition, the warming of relations with neighboring countries such as Ecuador and Venezuela since President Santos took office in August 2010 helped lay the groundwork for the peace process. Venezuela, Chile, Cuba, and Norway have actively supported the process, which has been lauded by most countries in the region. Congress remains deeply interested in the political future of one of the United States’ closest allies in Latin America and has expressed that interest by its continued investment in Colombia’s security and stability. Over the years, the U.S.-Colombian relationship has broadened to include humanitarian concerns; justice reform and human rights; and economic development, investment, and trade. The United States is Colombia’s largest trade partner. Colombia is Latin America’s fourth-largest oil producer. It is a valued source of energy imports to the United States and an increasingly important destination for U.S. investment. Colombia is and has long been a major source country for both cocaine and heroin, and drug trafficking has helped to perpetuate civil conflict in the country by funding both left-wing and right-wing armed groups. Colombia, in close collaboration with the United States, through a strategy known as Plan Colombia begun more than 12 years ago, has made significant progress in reestablishing government control over much of its territory, combatting drug trafficking and terrorist activities, and reducing poverty. Between FY2000 and FY2012, the U.S. Congress appropriated more than $8 billion in assistance to carry out Plan Colombia and its follow-on strategies. Since the formal peace talks were announced, the White House and U.S. State Department have issued several statements endorsing the FARC-government peace process. While the United States has no formal role in the talks, its close partnership with Colombia, forged initially around counternarcotics and counterterrorism cooperation, makes the outcome of the talks significant for U.S. interests and policy in Latin America. Progress in the peace talks—and a potential agreement—may affect the U.S.-Colombia relationship in such areas as U.S. foreign assistance and regional relations. This report provides background on Colombia’s armed conflict and describes its key players. It briefly analyzes prior negotiations with the FARC and the lessons learned from those efforts that apply to the current round of talks. It examines in more depth what has transpired in the current talks between the FARC and the Santos administration. The report examines some of the Congressional Research Service Peace Talks in Colombia constraints that could limit the success of the peace talks, and looks at the prospects for the current negotiations. The report concludes with a discussion of potential U.S. policy implications and identifies some issues the 113th Congress may wish to consider contingent upon the terms of any peace agreement, if any agreement is reached. For more information on Colombia, see CRS Report RL32250, Colombia: Background, U.S. Relations, and Congressional Interest, by June S. Beittel. Congressional Research Service Peace Talks in Colombia Contents Colombia’s Internal Armed Conflict and Key Players .................................................................... 1 Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) .................................................................. 2 From the 1940s to the Early 2000s...................................................................................... 2 The FARC under the Uribe Administration (2002-2010).................................................... 4 The FARC under the Santos Administration ....................................................................... 5 National Liberation Army (ELN) .............................................................................................. 9 Paramilitaries and Their Successors ........................................................................................ 10 Evolution of the Colombian Government Response ............................................................... 11 Prior Peace Negotiations: Precedents and Implications................................................................. 12 Peace Process under the Santos Administration ............................................................................ 14 Precursors ................................................................................................................................ 15 Announcement of Exploratory Talks ....................................................................................... 15 Formal Peace Talks in Norway and Cuba................................................................................ 17 Rural Development and Land Policy ................................................................................ 19 Challenges to and Prospects for Peace .................................................................................... 20 Public Opinion and Timing ............................................................................................... 20 “Spoilers” .......................................................................................................................... 21 FARC Unity....................................................................................................................... 21 Prospects for Peace............................................................................................................ 21 Potential U.S. Policy Implications ................................................................................................. 22 Figures Figure 1. Map of Colombia Showing Departments and Capital ...................................................... 3 Figure 2. Presence of Terrorist Groups in Colombia 2002, 2012 .................................................... 8 Appendixes Appendix. Text of the General Agreement signed by the FARC and the Colombian Government ................................................................................................................................ 26 Contacts Author Contact Information........................................................................................................... 30 Acknowledgments ......................................................................................................................... 30 Congressional Research Service Peace Talks in Colombia I n mid-October 2012, the Colombian government opened formal peace talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) with the goal of bringing an end to the longest-running insurgency in the Western Hemisphere. Since its founding in 1964, the FARC has waged guerrilla warfare against the Colombian government—a five-decade-long conflict that has cost Colombia thousands of lives and generated insecurity, diminished economic growth, and the displacement of millions of Colombians. The FARC insurgency, which has roots in a political culture plagued by violence, is part of a multi-sided conflict that was sustained and exacerbated by the illegal drug trade. The current negotiations with the FARC follow three failed efforts at peace talks under prior governments. This report looks at the decision by the current government of President Juan Manuel Santos to learn from prior efforts and attempt to end the conflict through dialogue despite significant political risks and hardened public opinion in Colombia and internationally against the FARC. Congress has maintained a strong interest in Colombia’s stability, security, and prosperity for many years. Colombia has been a prominent congressional concern since 2000, when Colombia became the third-largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid after Egypt and Israel. The close partnership between the United States and Colombia has been shaped by more than a decade of cooperation under Plan Colombia and its follow-on strategies. The U.S.-Colombia relationship has encompassed counternarcotics, counterterrorism, regional security, economic development, human rights, and, more recently, investment and trade. In May 2012, the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement entered into force after its approval by Congress eight months before. This report provides a framework for assessing the policy implications of the new peace talks with the FARC. It addresses such questions as why the talks are occurring now, what role might the United States have as the negotiations go forward, and finally how a potential peace agreement—or the absence of an agreement—might influence the future of U.S.-Colombian relations. Colombia’s Internal Armed Conflict and Key Players Colombia, a long-time U.S. ally, has long been riven by conflict. Its legacy of political violence has roots in the late 19th century. Despite its long history of democracy, Colombia’s lack of a strong central government with presence across the country left room for an insurgency. In the 1960s, numerous leftist groups inspired by the Cuban Revolution accused the Colombian central government of rural neglect that resulted in poverty and highly concentrated land ownership. These groups formed guerrilla organizations to challenge the state. The ensuing internal civil conflict between violent, leftist guerrilla groups and the government has continued unabated for nearly half a century. Intertwined with this legacy of conflict is Colombia’s predominant role in the illicit international drug economy. Colombia has been a source country for both cocaine and heroin for more than four decades. Drug trafficking has helped perpetuate Colombia’s internal conflict by funding both left-wing and right-wing armed groups. The two main leftist groups are the FARC and the smaller National Liberation Army (ELN). Since the mid-1960s, both rebel groups have conducted terrorist attacks, destroyed infrastructure, and engaged in kidnapping and extortion and other criminal profiteering. Right-wing paramilitaries arose in the 1980s, when wealthy landowners organized to protect themselves from the leftist guerrillas and their kidnapping and extortion schemes. Most of the paramilitary groups organized under an umbrella organization, the United Self Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC). The shift of cocaine production from Peru and Bolivia Congressional Research Service 1 Peace Talks in Colombia to Colombia in the 1980s increased drug violence and provided revenue to both guerrillas and paramilitaries. By the late 1990s, the FARC, the ELN, and the AUC were all deeply involved in the illicit drug trade. The U.S. government designated all three violent groups as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs).1 Armed conflict in Colombia over the past five decades has taken a huge toll. Tens of thousands of Colombians have died in the conflict and an estimated 45,000 are “disappeared” or missing. According to government figures, 4 million people have been displaced, creating one of the largest populations of internally displaced persons in the world (roughly 9% of Colombia’s 47 million inhabitants). This enormous displacement has generated a humanitarian crisis, which has disproportionately affected women, Afro-Colombians, and indigenous populations, and left many dispossessed and impoverished. In addition, the use of landmines laid primarily by the FARC has caused more than 10,000 deaths and injuries since 1990. According to the government, Colombia’s casualty rate from landmines is second in the world, behind only Afghanistan.2 Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) From the 1940s to the Early 2000s The FARC began as a rural peasant movement and can trace its roots to armed peasant selfdefense groups that emerged in the 1940s and 1950s. It grew from largely a regional guerrilla movement based in the mountainous region between Bogotá and Cali to become the armed wing of the Colombian Communist Party. In 1964, the guerrillas announced the formation of the FARC, a group dedicated to rural insurgency and intent on overturning what it perceived as Colombia’s systemic social inequality.3 Working to take power militarily, the FARC grew steadily over the decades and drew resources from criminal activity to better equip and expand its forces. Observing the growing revenues of the illegal drug trade, the FARC initially began collecting taxes from marijuana and coca growers in areas that they controlled, but their role in the drug trade expanded rapidly. The FARC also conducted bombings, mortar attacks, murders, kidnapping for ransom, extortion, and hijackings, mainly against Colombian targets. The FARC’s involvement in the drug trade deepened to include all stages of drug processing, including cultivation, taxation of drug crops, processing, and distribution. By the early 2000s, the FARC was thought to control about 60% of the cocaine departing Colombia.4 1 The FARC and the ELN were designated FTOs by the United States in 1997, and the AUC was designated an FTO in 2001. 2 Anastasia Moloney, “Will 2013 be Colombia’s Landmark Year?,” AlertNet, January 17, 2013; “Colombia Peace Negotiators Take a Holiday Break,” Agence France Presse, December 21, 2012. 3 Peter DeShazo, Johanna Mendelson Forman, and Phillip McLean, Countering Threats to Security and Stability in a Failing State: Lessons from Colombia, Center for Strategic & International Studies, Washington, DC, September 2009. 4 In an update of this calculation in October 2012, Colombian Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon stated that the FARC makes an estimated $2.4 billion-$3.5 billion per year from the drug trade. He said: “Of the 350 tons of cocaine that is [sic] produced in Colombia, around 200 tons are related to the FARC.” Quoted from IHS Jane’s “Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC): Key Facts,” Jane’s World Insurgency and Terrorism, January 3, 2013. Congressional Research Service 2 Peace Talks in Colombia Figure 1. Map of Colombia Showing Departments and Capital Source: CRS. During the 1980s, under President Belisario Bentancur, the FARC attempted to enter politics by establishing a political party, the Patriotic Union (Union Patriotica (UP)) as part of the peace process then underway with the government. (For more background, see “Prior Peace Negotiations: Precedents and Implications.”) While scores of UP officials won office in the 1986 Congressional Research Service 3 Peace Talks in Colombia and 1988 elections, the group was targeted for assassination and the UP was soon wiped out by its enemies, mainly paramilitary forces, collaborating Colombian security forces, and, to a much lesser extent, rogue elements of the FARC.5 As a result, the FARC withdrew from the political process to concentrate on a military victory. Between 1998 and 2002, the administration of President Andrés Pastrana attempted new negotiations with the FARC and granted a large demilitarized zone (approximately 42,000 square mile area, about the size of Switzerland) within which negotiations could take place. The FARC was widely perceived to have used the demilitarized zone as a “safe haven” to regroup, re-arm, and re-build its forces. With continued FARC military activity, including the hijacking of a commercial airliner and the kidnapping of a Colombian senator, President Pastrana halted the peace negotiations in early 2002 and ordered the military to retake control of the designated territory.6 (For more information, see “Prior Peace Negotiations: Precedents and Implications.”) At the same time, President Pastrana began to develop what became known as Plan Colombia—a strategy to end the country’s armed conflict, eliminate drug trafficking, and promote development. Introduced in 1999, Plan Colombia was originally conceived as a $7.5 billion, sixyear plan, with Colombia providing $4 billion and requesting the rest from the international community. In June 2000, the U.S. Congress approved legislation in support of Plan Colombia, providing $1.3 billion for counternarcotics and related efforts in Colombia and neighboring countries, which began a multi-year effort with the United States as the major international funder. In the late 1990s, partly due to the drug profit-fueled FARC insurgency, the Colombian government was near collapse. According to a poll published in July 1999, a majority of Colombians thought the FARC might someday take power by force.7 In areas where the state was weak or absent, the void had been filled by armed actors. Some observers estimated as much as 40% of Colombian territory was controlled by the FARC forces and the state had no presence in 158 (16%) of Colombia’s 1,099 municipalities (counties). By the time the faltering negotiations between the FARC and the Pastrana government broke off in 2002, the Colombian public was totally disillusioned with the prospects for a peace deal with the leftist insurgents. It was during this period of the early 2000s that the FARC reached the peak of its size and power, with an estimated 16,000-20,000 fighters. The FARC under the Uribe Administration (2002-2010) In 2002, independent candidate Álvaro Uribe was elected president upon assurances that he would take a hard line against the FARC and the ELN and reverse their military gains. President Uribe served for two terms (2002-2010), during which time he reversed Colombia’s security decline and made headway against the illicit drug trade. His high levels of popular support reflected the notable security gains and accompanying improvements in economic stability during his tenure, although his policies were criticized by human rights organizations. President Uribe’s 5 By the late 1990s, an estimated 2,000-3,000 members of the UP party were assassinated. According to analyst and author Steven Dudley, most of the UP members were assassinated by paramilitaries and collaborating Colombian security forces, and only a small percentage were possibly victims of FARC infighting. CRS communication with Steven Dudley, February 13, 2013. 6 Marc Chernick, "The FARC at the Negotiating Table," in Colombia: Building Peace in a Time of War, ed. Virginia M. Bouvier (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace, 2009). 7 Countering Threats to Security and Stability in a Failing State. Congressional Research Service 4 Peace Talks in Colombia “democratic security” policy made citizen security the preeminent concern of state action. It combined counterrorism and counternarcotics efforts in a coordinated approach with the goal to assert state control over the entire national territory. In late 2003, the Uribe Administration began a new offensive against guerrilla forces known as Plan Patriota. In this U.S.-supported effort, Colombian ground troops were sent into rural southern Colombia to retake territory that had been ceded to the FARC. Between 2003 and 2006, the government deployed 18,000 troops in the departments (states) of Caquetá, Meta, Putumayo and Guaviare against the FARC’s most powerful structures—its eastern and southern blocs (see Figure 1 for map of the departments). Plan Patriota reduced FARC ranks, recaptured land held by the FARC, and confiscated large amounts of equipment used to process cocaine. Despite those advances, critics point to the enormous number of civilians who were displaced during the campaign and the lack of a strategy to hold the territory taken from the FARC by establishing a permanent state presence. During President Uribe’s second term, considerable headway was made in reducing the strength of the FARC. Several events in 2008 considerably weakened the guerrilla group. On March 1, 2008, the Colombian military bombed the camp of FARC’s second in command Raúl Reyes, killing him and 25 others. But the bombing created a major controversy because the camp was located in Ecuador a short distance over the border. The Reyes bombing raid in Ecuador, conducted when Juan Manuel Santos was serving as defense minister under President Uribe, was the first time the Colombian government had succeeded in killing a member of the FARC’s ruling seven-member secretariat. In May, the FARC announced that their supreme leader and founder, Manuel Marulanda, had died of a heart attack in March. Also in March 2008, a third member of the ruling secretariat was murdered by his own security guard. These three deaths were a significant blow to the organization. In July 2008, the Colombian government dramatically rescued 15 long-time FARC hostages, including three U.S. defense contractors who had been held since 2003—Thomas Howes, Keith Stansell, and Marc Gonsalves—and French Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Bentancourt and other Colombians. The widely acclaimed, bloodless rescue further undermined FARC morale.8 The FARC under the Santos Administration Following the August 2010 inauguration of President Juan Manuel Santos, who had pledged in his electoral campaign to continue the aggressive security policies of his predecessor, the campaign against the FARC’s leadership (as well as mid-level commanders) continued. The Colombian government dealt a significant blow to the guerrilla group by killing the FARC’s top military commander, Victor Julio Suárez (better known as “Mono Jojoy”) in September 2010 in a raid on his compound in central Colombia. A year later, in November 2011, the Colombian military located and killed the FARC’s top leader, Alfonso Cano, who had replaced founder Manuel Marulanda in 2008. A week later, the FARC announced that their new leader would be Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri (known as “Timoleón Jiménez” or “Timochenko”), who quickly made a public overture to the Santos government to open a political dialogue. In an announcement in February 2012, the FARC said it would release all its “exchangeable hostages” (security personnel who FARC forces had captured or kidnapped) and stop its practice of 8 The rescue operation received U.S. assistance and support. See, Juan Forero, “In Colombia Jungle Ruse, U.S. Played A Quiet Role; Ambassador Spotlights Years of Aid, Training,” Washington Post, July 9, 2008. Congressional Research Service 5 Peace Talks in Colombia kidnapping for ransom. In April 2012, the FARC released what it claimed were its last 10 police and military hostages.9 The government estimates that the FARC at present has 8,000 to 9,000 fighters.10 The FARC fronts, which have been pushed back to more remote rural areas including along the jungle borders with Venezuela and Ecuador (see map contrasting 2002 presence with 2012 presence, Figure 2), have diversified their income sources from drug trafficking, extortion, and kidnapping to cattle rustling, illegal logging, and illegal mining, particularly gold mining in Colombia’s north and along its Pacific Coast.11 Despite important military victories against the FARC by the Santos government, many in the public perceive a decline in security over the past couple of years. During this time there was a gradual increase in both FARC and ELN attacks.12 This increase was especially notable in 2011 and early 2012, with the largest jump in rebel attacks on infrastructure such as electricity towers, trains carrying coal, and oil pipelines.13 Some observers speculate that this upswing in attacks was an effort to demonstrate their strength to position themselves more strongly in peace talks that both the FARC and ELN actively sought. Despite public overtures by FARC leader Timochenko to engage with the Santos administration in a political dialogue in late 2011 and early 2012, the Colombian government stated that the FARC was not meeting their minimum criteria to engage in peace discussions. The government suggested such criteria might include a release of all hostages (not just security force members), a ceasefire, an end to the use of landmines, and a halt in recruitment of children soldiers.14 The FARC’s capability to revive itself and continue to threaten Colombia is considerable. The guerrilla organization has repeatedly proven itself capable of adaptation. Although the Uribe strategy made significant military gains, and President Santos’s changes did not significantly alter the security policy’s direction, the FARC has demonstrated that it cannot be readily overcome through military victory.15 Even after the Santos government in early 2012 shifted the focus of action from taking down high-value individual targets to concentrate on dismantling the FARC’s 9 “FARC Vow to Free Military, Police Hostages, Halt Kidnappings,” Reuters, February 27, 2012; "Colombian Politics: FARC Concession Spurs Scepticism," Economist Intelligence Unit: ViewsWire, February 29, 2012. 10 “El Gobierno Calcula que las FARC Tienen 9,000 Integrantes,” Semana, September 7, 2012. 11 Jim Wyss, “As Colombia Aims for Peace, Some See the Guerrillas Diversifying; As Colombia and the FARC Guerrillas Negotiate Peace in Havana Some Fear the Rebel Group is Diversifying beyond the Drug Trade,” Miami Herald, January 18, 2013; Heather Walsh, “Colombia’s Rebels Catch the Gold Bug,” Bloomberg Businessweek, July 12, 2012; Elyssa Pachico, “Mining and Crime Intersect in Colombia Gold Rush Town,” Insight Crime: Organized Crime in the Americas, January 12, 2012, 12 The Colombian think tank Corporación Nuevo Arco Iris has tracked the increase in FARC actions over the last decade and estimates there has been approximately a 10% increase in attacks for each year between 2009 and 2011. See Ariel Ávila, “Las FARC: La Guerra que el País No Quiere Ver,” Arcanos, Corporación Nuevo Arco Iris, Number 17, January 2012. Another think tank, Centro Seguridad y Democracia (CSD), also reported an increase of attacks by 24% (against the military) and 32% (against the country’s infrastructure) comparing data between January and November of 2010 and 2011. See, Economist Intelligence Unit, Country Report: Colombia, January 2012. 13 Attacks on oil pipelines, for example, increased by 250% between the first half of 2011 and the first half of 2012. See Vivian Sequera, “Colombian Rebels Increase Attacks on Oil Pipelines, Energy Towers as County Ramps up Industry,” Associated Press, September 16, 2012. 14 Grant Hurst, “Colombian President Reaffirms FARC Must Halt Violence As Precondition to Talks,” IHS Global Insight Daily Analysis, February 10, 2012; Grant Hurst, “Colombian FARC Vows to Release 10 Hostages and Stop Civilian Kidnappings,” IHS Global Insight Daily Analysis, February 27, 2012; “Deliverance?,” Economist, March 3, 2012. 15 International Crisis Group, Colombia: Peace at Last?, Latin America Report, Number 45, September 25, 2012, at Congressional Research Service 6 Peace Talks in Colombia most important military and financial units, a clear end game is not in sight. Some observers suggest that the FARC’s relative weakness at present and the government’s military superiority make conditions favorable for a negotiated conclusion.16 Others question whether both sides have arrived at a “hurting stalemate” after 49 years of conflict such that each side views negotiations as more attractive than continuing to fight an unwinnable war. Several observers believe that FARC military capacity, if negotiations fail, will allow the FARC to fight on for another 10-15 years. The FARC, though weakened, is spread out in difficult terrain, making detection and targeting by the security forces extremely challenging. 16 See, for example, see Colombia: Peace at Last?. Congressional Research Service 7 Figure 2. Presence of Terrorist Groups in Colombia 2002, 2012 Source: Government of Colombia, 2013. Edited by CRS. Notes: In the 2002 map on the left, the terrorist groups whose level of presence is depicted include the right-wing AUC. CRS-8 Peace Talks in Colombia National Liberation Army (ELN) The smaller ELN was formed in 1965, inspired by the ideas of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. The membership of this insurgent group was initially left-wing intellectuals, students, and Catholic radicals. Some observers maintain this organization is more ideologically motivated than the FARC, and stayed out of the drug trade for a longer period because of its political principles. The ELN today is estimated to have fewer than 2,000 fighters, but the group remains capable of carrying out high-profile kidnappings and bombings.17 Like the FARC, the ELN has long funded itself through extortion and kidnapping ransoms. In addition to terrorizing rural civilian populations, the ELN has especially targeted the country’s infrastructure, particularly the oil sector (frequently hitting the Caño-Limón pipeline) and electricity sector. In the 1990s, the ELN turned to the illegal drug trade and began taxation of illegal crops. The ELN’s size and strength have been dramatically reduced since that time, when its membership reportedly reached 5,000, although there have been periodic revivals. Advances by paramilitary groups, a consistent campaign against the rebel group by the Colombian government, and frequent competition with the FARC all contributed to its weakening. The ELN is now largely based in the northeastern part of the country and operates near the Venezuelan border.18 Over the years, the ELN has periodically engaged in peace discussions with the Colombian government, including attempts held both inside and outside the country to open a peace dialogue with the Uribe administration. The last round of talks, which ended in June 2008, were followed by the government’s stepped up operations against the insurgent group.19 During the first two years of the Santos administration, ELN supreme leader Nicolas Rodriquez Bautista (known as “Gabino”) made several overtures to find a “political solution” to the conflict.20 When the exploratory talks between the FARC and the government were announced by President Santos in late August 2012, the ELN leader expressed an interest in joining the process that was acknowledged by the President.21 Subsequently, after the FARC-government talks moved to Cuba in November 2012, the ELN leadership expressed again its interest in participating and reportedly started back channel discussions with the Colombian government. It is not presently clear if the ELN may join the FARC-government peace talks at some point, or if the group will negotiate on a parallel track. As mentioned above, there has been recent evidence that the ELN has raised its level of violence. Some analysts believe that the ELN has been able to build up its forces because a truce between the ELN and the FARC agreed to in December 2009 may have finally gone into effect in 2011 following years of clashes between the two leftist guerrilla organizations.22 The ELN has also 17 In January 2013, for example, the ELN reportedly kidnapped five workers at a Canadian-owned gold mine in northern Colombia. At various times, ELN forces have stepped up their actions to push the Colombian government to enter peace negotiations. Campbell Clark and Pav Jordan, “Canadian Among Terrorist Group’s Hostages,” The Globe and Mail, January 19, 2013. 18 IHS Jane’s, “Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN),” Jane’s World Insurgency and Terrorism, January 8, 2013. 19 “Closing the Net on the FARC, Striking at the ELN,” Latin American Security and Strategy Review, July 2008. 20 Elyssa Pachico, “Brief: ELN Talks Peace,” Insight: Organized Crime in the Americas, April 17, 2011, 21 Helen Murphy and Luis Jaime Acosta, "Colombia's ELN Rebels Offer Peace Talks," Chicago Tribune, August 28, 2012. 22 Jeremy McDermott, “Colombia ELN Rebels Climb Back Into the Fray,” Insight: Organized Crime in the Americas, (continued...) Congressional Research Service 9 Peace Talks in Colombia reportedly made pacts with some of the criminal bands (or Bacrim, see below) that pursue drug trafficking and other illicit activities.23 The modest “comeback” of the ELN and increased attacks by the FARC in 2011 and 2012 come at a time when there is a growing threat from former paramilitaries. Paramilitaries and Their Successors Paramilitary groups originated in the 1980s when wealthy ranchers and farmers, including drug traffickers, organized armed groups to protect themselves from kidnappings and extortion plots by the FARC and ELN. In 1997, local and regional paramilitary groups felt the need for an umbrella organization and joined together to form the United Self Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), which became the largest paramilitary group. The AUC massacred and assassinated suspected insurgent supporters and directly engaged the FARC and ELN in military battles. The Armed Forces of Colombia have long been accused of ignoring and at times actively collaborating with these activities. The AUC, like the FARC, earned much of its funding from drug trafficking and, at the time the organization disbanded in 2006, AUC paramilitaries were thought to control a significant portion of cocaine production and export in Colombia.24 In July 2003, President Uribe concluded a peace deal with the rightist AUC in which the AUC agreed to demobilize its troops and conditional amnesties were proposed for combatants under a controversial Justice and Peace Law (JPL).25 At the time, the State Department estimated AUC troop levels between 8,000 and 10,000 members, although some press reports estimated up to 20,000. Begun in 2004, the demobilization officially ended in April 2006, during which time more than 31,000 AUC members demobilized and turned in more than 17,000 weapons. Many AUC leaders remained at large until August 2006, when President Uribe ordered them to surrender to the government to benefit from the provisions of the Justice and Peace Law. By October 2006, all but 11 paramilitary leaders had complied with the presidential order.26 Many observers, including human rights organizations, have been critical of the demobilization of the AUC, which is sometimes described as a partial or flawed demobilization.27 Some critics are (...continued) June 26, 2011,; Elyssa Pachico, “Rebels Step Up Actions as Colombian Conflict Enters 48th Year,” Insight: Organized Crime in the Americas, February 9, 2012, 23 Christopher Looft, “Arrests Highlight ELN-Rastrojos Alliance in Southwest Colombia,” Insight: Organized Crime in the Americas, January 27, 2012, 24 See U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Terrorism 2005, and, “Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia,” Jane’s World Insurgency and Terrorism, August 10, 2006. 25 The JPL and the demobilization law provided a “two-track” process or legal framework for demobilizing. All members of foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs) including the FARC, ELN, or AUC could demobilize collectively or individually under Law 782/2002 (which was extended and modified in December 2006). This law established programs to assist deserters with their reintegration into civil society. The JPL (Law 975/2005), on the other hand, offered an alternative sentence with reduced penalties to demobilized FTO members who confessed to major crimes committed while a member of an FTO. In July 2006, Colombia’s Constitutional Court upheld the constitutionality of the JPL, but limited the scope under which demobilizing paramilitaries could benefit from reduced sentences. For more background on the JPL and the AUC demobilization, see CRS Report RL32250, Colombia: Background, U.S. Relations, and Congressional Interest. 26 Economist Intelligence Unit, Colombia: Country Report, October 2006; Human Rights Watch, “Colombia: Court’s Demobilization Ruling Thwarts Future Abuses,” July 19, 2006; “Gobierno Colombiano Abrirá Debate Público sobre Decretos Reglamentarios de Ley de Justicia y Paz,” El Tiempo, August 29, 2006. 27 See, for example, Lisa Haugaard, et. al, A Compass for Colombia Policy, Latin America Working Group Education (continued...) Congressional Research Service 10 Peace Talks in Colombia concerned that paramilitaries were not held accountable for their crimes and adequate reparation has not been provided to AUC victims, among other concerns. There is a general consensus that not all former paramilitaries demobilized and many have re-entered criminal life by joining smaller criminal organizations, collectively called Bacrim (for bandas criminales emergentes, “emerging criminal bands”) by the Colombian government and some analysts.28 The Bacrim, which are involved in many types of violent crime including drug trafficking, are considered by many observers and the Colombian government to be the biggest security threat to Colombia today. Some contend that these powerful groups, successors to the paramilitaries, are tolerated by corrupt officials, and prosecution of their crimes has proceeded slowly. As noted above, the Bacrim both compete and cooperate with the FARC and the ELN. Reportedly the Bacrim groups are present in more than a third of Colombia’s 1,100 municipalities.29 Evolution of the Colombian Government Response In the 1990s, illegal armed groups and powerful drug trafficking organizations (sometimes working together) threatened to overpower Colombia’s police and weak justice system. At the time, however, the commission of human rights abuses was rampant in the relatively weak and undertrained Colombian military. Accepting these harsh realities, President Pastrana began to build up both the Colombian national police and military, recognizing that a much larger, more professional, and better equipped military would be required to re-gain state control over Colombia’s territory. Between 1998 and 2002, the armed forces in Colombia grew by 60% to 132,000. Before the Uribe administration took over in 2002, the Colombian government had generally treated the growth of the FARC and drug trafficking as separate issues. After negotiations between the Pastrana government and the FARC failed, the Colombian government abandoned its strategy of attempting to negotiate with the guerrilla insurgents. Uribe refocused efforts on defeating the guerrillas, and this was the primary thrust of his “democratic security policy,” including the invasion launched in 2003 against FARC strongholds in southern Colombia called Plan Patriota. By the end of Uribe’s second term in August 2010, the Colombian military reached 283,000 and the national police numbered 159,000. Along with new personnel (roughly a doubling between 1998 and 2010), the government reformed the military’s command and control structures, upgraded equipment, and extensively increased training, partly funded by the United States under Plan Colombia.30 Some analysts maintain that the U.S. support to Plan Colombia was a “robust but not massive” amount of assistance. They estimate that the United States provided approximately 10% of (...continued) Fund, Center for International Policy, Washington Office on Latin America, U.S. Office on Colombia, October 2008. 28 Some analysts consider these groups to be primarily made up of and led by former paramilitaries and therefore not simply criminal in nature. The United Nations and other humanitarian and nongovernmental organizations refer to them as “new illegal armed groups.” See, for example, International Crisis Group, Colombia’s New Armed Groups, Latin America Report No. 20, May 10, 2007; Dismantling Colombia’s New Illegal Armed Groups: Lessons from a Surrender, Latin America Report No. 41, June 8, 2012. 29 Christopher Looft, “Study: BACRIMs Continue Steady Expansion Across Colombia,” Insight Crime: Organized Crime in the Americas, February 22, 2012, 30 Colombia: Peace at Last? Congressional Research Service 11 Peace Talks in Colombia Colombia’s total expenditures on security between 2000 and 2009.31 As noted earlier, Plan Colombia, a multi-faceted program first conceived under the government of President Pastrana but reinforced and re-focused under President Uribe, was designed to strengthen democratic institutions, combat drug trafficking and terrorism, promote human rights and the rule of law, and foster economic development. The majority of U.S. funding, which began in 2000, was originally for counternarcotics support. Because narcotics trafficking and the insurgency had become intertwined, in 2002 the U.S. Congress granted the State Department and the Department of Defense flexibility to use U.S. counterdrug funds for a unified campaign to fight drug trafficking and terrorist groups.32 U.S. support was critical to improve the mobility of both the armed forces and the national police by providing helicopters and other aircraft. The United States under Plan Colombia also provided assistance in training, logistics, planning support, and intelligence to the Colombian security forces.33 Other important programs supported rule of law and human rights, alternative development efforts, assistance to internally displaced persons and refugees, and the demobilization of illegally armed groups. Since 2008, as Colombia’s security and development conditions improved, former U.S.-supported programs have been nationalized to Colombian control and Plan Colombia funding has gradually declined. U.S. assistance provided through State Department and Department of Defense accounts declined to less than $500 million in FY2012.34 Plan Colombia’s follow-on strategy, the National Consolidation Plan (PNC), formally launched in Colombia in 2009, is a whole-ofgovernment effort that integrates security, development, and counternarcotics by consolidating state presence in previously ungoverned or weakly governed areas. The PNC aims to re-establish state control and legitimacy in strategic “consolidation zones” where illegal armed groups operate through a phased approach that combines security, counternarcotics, and economic and social development initiatives. The U.S. government now coordinates most of its assistance with the Colombian government’s consolidation programs under a multi-agency effort called the Colombian Strategic Development Initiative (CSDI). The consolidation strategy in Colombia that replaced Plan Colombia has been revised several times under the Santos administration. 35 Prior Peace Negotiations: Precedents and Implications The present peace negotiations are the fourth attempt in 30 years to have formal talks with the FARC to end the insurgency. In announcing exploratory peace talks in August 2012, President Santos said that the errors of past negotiations with the guerrilla organization would not be 31 Countering Threats to Security and Stability in a Failing State. The State Department and the Department of Defense explain that expanded authority provided them with flexibility in situations where there was no clear line between drug and terrorist activity. 33 One feature of U.S. assistance was to put human rights requirements on U.S. military assistance provided under Plan Colombia, and to restrict Colombian security units from receiving U.S. aid or military training if members of the unit were known to have committed a “gross violation of human rights” under a provision known as the Leahy amendment. 34 For more on U.S. assistance to Colombia, see CRS Report RL32250, Colombia: Background, U.S. Relations, and Congressional Interest, by June S. Beittel. In its FY2013 foreign operations budget request, the State Department requested $332 million for Colombia. 35 For an analysis of this strategy, some of its limitations, and the changing U.S. government’s perspectives on it, see Adam Isacson, Consolidating “Consolidation,” Washington Office on Latin America, December 2012. 32 Congressional Research Service 12 Peace Talks in Colombia repeated.36 He has also said that the talks underway would be prudent and pragmatic as well as learning from the past. There are two key precedents that may weigh most heavily on the present talks—negotiations that took place during the administrations of President Betancur (1982-1986) and President Pastrana (1998-2002). President Betancur reached out to the guerrillas in his inauguration in August 1982 with an offer to pursue peace talks. His first substantive move in that direction was a broad amnesty law that did not require disarmament for its implementation. At that time in Colombia various other guerrilla groups were operating that took advantage of the sweeping amnesty to demobilize.37 The negotiations with the FARC began following the government and FARC’s agreement to a bilateral ceasefire, with a small demilitarized zone established in the municipality of La Uribe in the Meta department, long a FARC stronghold. Under the terms of the ceasefire, FARC forces would simply retain their locations where they were operating before the ceasefire. The ceasefire lasted from May 1984 to June 1987, although disarmament remained a major sticking point.38 During this period, the FARC announced they were going to establish a political party to compete in the mainstream political system. The party, Unión Patriótica (UP), founded in May 1985, contemplated the idea that the FARC would bring some of its reform ideas into the political sphere. However, the UP was not predicated on a disarmament (the FARC were allowed to keep their arms as a guarantee, without demobilizing). The UP party won national and local seats. For example, in the 1986 elections the UP won eight congressional seats and six Senate seats in Colombia’s bicameral Congress. In municipal elections held in 1988, it won hundreds of city council seats and several mayorships. But the UP was soon decimated by its enemies, which according to some sources were largely paramilitaries or drug traffickers. Reportedly, more than 2,000 UP members were killed, including its presidential candidates, who were assassinated in 1986 and 1990, with few suspects ever prosecuted.39 As a result of the violence against the UP, the FARC withdrew from politics to concentrate on a military victory. The major lesson learned from this experience is that the integration of insurgent groups into the democratic political process is precarious and requires effective guarantees. The UP historical experience is one that many FARC are wary not to repeat, as it demonstrated that adequate conditions for their participation in the political arena did not exist. In the current negotiations, one of the main topics to be negotiated is political participation of the FARC “and new movements that may emerge” after the signing of a final agreement.40 36 Grant Hurst, “Landmark Peace Talks Broached with Colombia’s FARC,” IHS Global Insight Daily Analysis, August 28, 2012; Presidencia de la República, “Declaración del Presidente de la República, Juan Manuel Santos,” August 27, 2012, at 37 The 1982 amnesty was unconditional and covered almost all guerrillas and prisoners. For more background, see Marc Chernick, "The FARC at the Negotiating Table," in Colombia: Building Peace in a Time of War, ed. Virginia M. Bouvier (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace, 2009). 38 Russell Crandall, Driven by Drugs: U.S. Policy Toward Colombia, 2nd ed. (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2008). 39 "The FARC at the Negotiating Table," in Colombia: Building Peace in a Time of War; Driven by Drugs: U.S. Policy Toward Colombia; Cynthia J. Arnson and Teresa Whitfield, “Third Parties and Intractable Conflicts: The Case of Colombia,” in Grasping the Nettle: Analyzing Cases of Intractable Conflict, eds. Chester A. Crocker, Fen Osler Hampson, and Pamela Aall (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press, 2005). 40 Colombia: Peace at Last?. Congressional Research Service 13 Peace Talks in Colombia Negotiations under President Andrés Pastrana began in 1998, shortly after his inauguration. Again, the President ceded to a FARC demand that negotiations must take place within a demilitarized zone inside Colombia.41 The large demilitarized zone or “despeje” was established in five municipalities in the south-central departments (states) of Meta and Caquetá (as mentioned earlier often compared to the size of Switzerland). The Pastrana government pursued negotiations with the FARC in a period when FARC power was ascendant and many had fears that the Colombian state was weak and might even fail as a result of pressure from insurgents.42 The FARC demonstrated its lack of commitment to the peace process by using the demilitarized zone to regroup militarily, launch violent attacks, grow coca on a large scale, and hold hostages. Peace negotiations with the FARC were ongoing for most of Pastrana’s term in office until he closed them down and asked the military to re-take the demilitarized zone in February 2002. The failed negotiations severely disillusioned the Colombian public and generated widespread support for adopting a hardline approach to security embodied in the presidential campaign of Álvaro Uribe, who took office in August 2002. During Uribe’s inauguration, the FARC launched a mortar attack at the ceremony (an apparent assassination attempt), which killed 21 and injured many more.43 Peace Process under the Santos Administration The Colombian public’s hardened views against the FARC and the security gains made during his eight years in office helped to make President Uribe and his democratic security policy tremendously popular. During his campaign for office, Juan Manuel Santos, who had served as defense minister in Uribe’s second term, pledged to continue the security and trade policies of his predecessor, while pursuing a reform agenda in a program he called “democratic prosperity.” In remarks at his August 2010 inauguration, President Santos stated that the door to negotiate an end to the five-decade armed conflict was not closed.44 In his first two years in office, President Santos launched a number of reforms and achieved some legislative victories. In late August 2012, he announced that exploratory peace talks with the FARC had taken place in secret in Cuba, to the surprise of many. Out of these preliminary discussions, the government and the FARC leadership agreed to a framework for formal peace talks that began in Norway in October 2012.45 41 The talks, which took place in the large demilitarized zone including the municipality of San Vicente del Cagúan, are sometimes referred to as the “El Caguán talks.” 42 The environment in which some saw the possibility for state failure in Colombia in the late 1990s is aptly described as follows: “Under the combination of a weak central government, an army incapable of standing up to insurgents, a police force unable to effectively maintain order, even in many urban environments, and the ability of the insurgents and paramilitaries to access supplies and weapons from abroad, legitimate state authority imploded.” See Executive Summary in: Countering Threats to Security and Stability in a Failing State: Lessons from Colombia. 43 “Third Parties and Intractable Conflicts: The Case of Colombia,” in Grasping the Nettle: Analyzing Cases of Intractable Conflict. 44 The text of inaugural speech given August 7, 2010, is available in Spanish and English at the presidential website: 45 For additional information about the 2012-2013 peace negotiations between the Colombian government and the FARC, see the annotated timeline provided at which tracks all peace processrelated events in English. The information is posted by Adam Isacson, Senior Associate for Regional Security Policy at the Washington Office on Latin America. Congressional Research Service 14 Peace Talks in Colombia Precursors A number of the reforms promoted by the Santos administration reoriented the government’s stance toward the internal armed conflict—both its victims and its combatants. The government proposed a landmark Victims and Land Restitution Law (“Victims’ Law”) to compensate an estimated 4 million-5 million victims of the conflict with economic reparations and provide land restitution to victims of forced displacement and dispossession. Implementation of this complex law began in early 2012, and the government estimates over its 10-year time frame the Victims’ Law will cost about $32 billion to implement.46 The Victims’ Law, which committed the Colombian government to restituting victims and returning stolen land to former owners, was not a land reform measure but did tackle the issue of land distribution, which is a core concern of the FARC. In June 2012, the Colombian Congress approved another government initiative—the Peace Framework Law. This constitutional amendment provides a transitional justice structure for an eventual peace process if the Congress passes enacting legislation.47 Another constitutional reform bill that passed the Colombian Congress in late December 2012 by a wide margin despite controversy expands the jurisdiction of military courts. Human rights groups criticized several of the bill’s provisions for shifting jurisdiction of serious human rights crimes allegedly committed by Colombia’s public security forces from the civilian courts back to military courts, increasing the likelihood of impunity (a lack of prosecution) for such crimes.48 While not technically a “precursor” because its passage took place after announcement of the exploratory talks, the military justice reform may also have implications for the future treatment of members of the Colombian Armed Forces who have fought the FARC. Colombia’s warming relations with neighboring Ecuador and Venezuela also seemed to have laid the groundwork for the peace talks. Shortly after Santos was inaugurated, diplomatic relations between Colombia and the two countries were re-established, having been broken off under former President Uribe. Improved ties with both left-leaning governments have led to greater cooperation on trade, counternarcotics, and security. Moreover, Venezuela’s ailing President Hugo Chávez played an important role in facilitating the FARC’s participation in the exploratory peace talk phase beginning in early 2012 (described below). Initial contacts between the FARC leadership and the Santos government in late 2010 also reportedly involved Chavez’s support. Announcement of Exploratory Talks In late August 2012, President Santos announced that secret “exploratory” talks between his government and the FARC had taken place over several months in Cuba. In his announcement, 46 Embassy of Colombia, “Victims and Land Restitution Law: Addressing the Impact of Colombia’s Internal Armed Conflict,” Fact Sheet, January 2013. 47 Leftist rebels under the framework who demobilize could become eligible for reduced sentences for crimes committed during the course of the conflict, although perpetrators of the most serious crimes would be fully prosecuted. The passage of this controversial legislation, which took place before peace talks were announced, signaled that there was political support for a future peace process. 48 See, for example, letters by Human Rights Watch articulating objections to different versions of the bill such as: Jose Miguel Vivanco, “Colombia: Letter to President Santos Criticizing the Expansion of Military Jurisdiction,” October 25, 2012, and Washington Office on Latin America, “Expansión del Fuero Militar en Colombia: Un Gran Receso de Justicia/Expanding Military Jurisdication in Colombian: A Major Setback for Justice,” January 28, 2013. Congressional Research Service 15 Peace Talks in Colombia the President made clear that the errors of past negotiation efforts would not be repeated, that the goal of the talks was to end the conflict, and that the Colombian military would not cede any territory for a demilitarized zone nor roll back its operations against illegal armed groups. He also said the second-largest insurgent group in the country, the ELN, had expressed interest in joining the negotiations.49 On September 4, 2012, the surprise announcement50 was followed by more detailed information from the government and the FARC’s supreme leader Timochenko, who said that formal talks would begin in October in Oslo, Norway, and continue afterwards in Cuba. Subsequently, both sides announced their negotiating teams (5 lead negotiators representing a team of up to 30). The government team had a cross-section of influential actors within Colombian society, including the following: Humberto de la Calle, a former vice president, as lead negotiator; General Jorge Enrique Mora, former commander of the Army, and a prominent spokesperson for retired military personnel; Luis Carlos Villegas, former president of the National Association of Business Leaders; retired General Oscar Naranjo, former head of the National Police; Frank Pearl, former minister of environment and former high commissioner of peace under Uribe; and Sergio Jaramillo, former top security advisor in the Santos administration and now its high commissioner of peace.51 The FARC team is led by Luciano Marín Arango (known as “Iván Márquez”), member of the FARC’s ruling seven-person secretariat and a veteran of prior negotiations. Others named to the FARC team include Seuxis Paucias Hernández (alias “Jesús Santrich”), Ricardo Tillez (alias “Rodrigo Granda”), Jesús Carvajalino (alias “Andrés Paris”), and Luis Alberto Albán (alias “Marco León Calarcá”). The FARC initially requested that Ricardo Palmer (alias “Simón Trinidad”) be freed from prison in the United States to join their negotiating team.52 Trinidad is serving a 60-year sentence in a Colorado Supermax prison for “hostage-taking conspiracy,” and he was not released.53 Some observers believe this request by the FARC could surface again in the future.54 The August 2012 framework for the talks, signed by both parties, identified five principal themes to be addressed during the negotiations: (1) rural development and land policy; (2) political participation of the FARC; (3) ending the armed conflict including reinsertion into civilian life of rebel forces; (4) illegal drug trafficking; and (5) victims’ reparations. A sixth element in the 49 “Colombia and the FARC: Talking about Talks,” Economist, September 1, 2012; Andrea Peña, “Colombian President Confirms Dialogue Has Been Opened with the FARC,” El Pais, August 30, 2012. 50 The August announcement was actually preceded by rumors published in the media and reports by former President Uribe over Twitter that secret meetings with the FARC were going on in Cuba. 51 Presidencia para la República, “Presidente Santos Anunció Equipo para Negociaciones de Paz,” September 5, 2012; “Assessing Santos’ Peace Team Picks,” Pan American Post, September 6, 2012, at 52 “FARC Rebels Hope US Will Release Top Guerilla,” Agence France Presse, September 21, 2012. 53 In July 2007, Simon Trinidad was found guilty in a federal court in the District of Colombia for engaging in the hostage-taking of three U.S. contractors, Marc Gonsalves, Keith Stansell, and Thomas Howes. (These three were among those rescued by the Colombian government in July 2008 described above in the section“The FARC under the Uribe Administration (2002-2010)”.) See U.S. Department of Justice, Press Release, “Senior Member of FARC NarcoTerrorist Organization Found Guilty of Hostage-Taking Conspiracy,” July 11, 2007. 54 “Colombian Commentator Views U.S. Perspective on FARC Talks,” BBC Monitoring Americas, December 7, 2012, (translation of an opinion piece by Aldo Civico, “In Washington: Scattered Conversations About Colombia,” El Espectador, December 4, 2012); “FARC Negotiators ‘Confident’ Washington Will Pardon Top Colombian Insurgent Rebel,” El País, November 29, 2012. Congressional Research Service 16 Peace Talks in Colombia framework agreement is the implementation of the final negotiated agreement, including its ratification and verification. (For an English translation of the framework agreement text, see Appendix). The first topic under discussion in the negotiations, land and rural development, is one that is of particular importance to the FARC given its rural peasant origins and historic concern with Colombia’s unequal land tenure patterns. The framework agreement also identified an international support role for Cuba, Norway, Venezuela, and Chile.55 The announcement of the talks received praise widely from within and outside of the region. The White House and the U.S. State Department,56 the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), and U.N. General Secretary General Ban Ki-moon all expressed their support for the peace initiative in Colombia soon after it was announced. Nations within the region expressed broad support, with Brazil and others offering their assistance to the mediation effort.57 Formal Peace Talks in Norway and Cuba The formal launch of the peace talks took place in Oslo, Norway, in mid-October 2012. The opening ceremony was punctuated by a joint news conference in which the FARC’s lead negotiator, Iván Márquez, made some strident remarks about the guerrilla organization’s many grievances against the Colombian government beyond the scope of the negotiated framework, dimming the hopes of some optimists.58 The FARC team also pushed for a bilateral ceasefire. The brief opening ceremonies held in Norway were followed by a month interlude as the talks moved to Cuba. On November 19, 2012, as the substantive phase of the peace talks opened in Cuba, the FARC announced a two-month, unilateral ceasefire they described as a goodwill gesture.59 The Colombian government responded that it would continue normal operations against rebel forces and would not agree to a bilateral ceasefire until there is a final accord.60 The peace talks in Havana, Cuba, are sometimes described as the second phase of the peace process, following the first phase of the exploratory talks and initial contacts. The substantive discussions held in Cuba began with the weighty topic of rural development and land policy, the first on the five-point agenda articulated in the framework agreement. The closed door meetings 55 The framework document, see Appendix for an English translation, identifies Norway and Cuba as “guarantors” of the talks (as well as the location where the talks will transpire), and Chile and Venezuela “to accompany” the talks. The importance of this international support was expressed in a joint statement issued by both negotiating parties following the opening of the talks in Norway: “We appreciate the hospitality of the guarantor countries of the process, Norway and Cuba, and the generous support of escort countries, Venezuela and Chile.” See “Colombian Peace Talks Get Underway,” LatinNews Daily Report, October 19, 2012. 56 The White House, Press Release, “Statement by the Press Secretary on the Government of Colombia’s Peace Negotiations with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), September 4, 2012; Victoria Nuland, U.S. Department of State, Daily Press Briefing, August 28, 2012. 57 See, for example, “Brazil’s Rouseff Offers to Assist in Colombian Peace Talks,” Dow Jones Business News, October 9, 2012. 58 Vivian Sequera, "Radically Divergent Visions on Display as Colombian Peace Talks Launch in Norway," Associated Press, October 18, 2012; Darcy Crowe and Kjetil Malkenes Hovland, "Colombian Rebels Slam Government Policies," Wall Street Journal, October 19, 2012. 59 The unilateral ceasefire lasted from November 20, 2012, to January 20, 2012. 60 William Neuman, "Rebel Group in Colombia Announces Ceasefire," New York Times, November 19, 2012; Hannah Stone, “What is Behind the FARC’s Ceasefire?,” Insight Crime: Organized Crime in the Americas, November 20, 2012, Congressional Research Service 17 Peace Talks in Colombia in Havana, whose confidentiality has been largely respected by both sides and the media, have avoided the fate of prior negotiations where positions were thrashed out in the media and tentative areas of agreement overcome by public posturing. Since the talks are essentially shielded from the media, there has not been a great deal of detail about what is actually being discussed, although there are regular press statements, especially at the opening and closing of each round of talks.61 President Santos has pledged that the talks will not drag on indefinitely, and that he foresees an end point in November 2013, although the FARC rejects any deadline.62 Coincidentally, November is when President Santos must declare if he will run for a second term in 2014. Some observers maintain that his prospects for winning reelection will depend on progress at the negotiating table.63 Many observers contend that the Santos government has gambled that the FARC is willing to negotiate in good faith, and that these peace talks are likely to be the most significant political development of the Santos term in office. Popular support for the peace talks between the FARC and the government, which is crucial for their success, has been high despite widespread mistrust of the FARC and deep skepticism of its leaders’ intentions. In both September and December 2012, more than 70% of Colombians polled said they supported the talks, although far fewer thought the peace talks were likely to succeed.64 There are many vocal opponents to the Santos peace initiative, including former President Uribe, who has decried the negotiations as a concession to terrorists. Uribe has become the most outspoken critic of President Santos, opposing many of his reform measures, his appointments, and especially his security policy, embodying what Uribe sees as a conciliatory approach to the FARC and the leftist government of Venezuela.65 In mid- 2012, Uribe launched a conservative political movement, the Pure Democratic Center, to oppose the Santos government’s national unity coalition in Congress and Santos’s policies. Former President Uribe also indicated he may run as a senator in the March 2014 congressional elections. The two-month unilateral ceasefire implemented by the FARC from November 20, 2012, to January 20, 2013, had numerous violations including aggressions by both sides. However, the number of FARC attacks overall fell by 87% compared to the equivalent period a year earlier, according to one think tank that monitors FARC activities, demonstrating what some analysts see as the leadership’s “command and control” over far-flung FARC fronts.66 In addition, during the unilateral ceasefire, the closed door talks in Cuba took place without interruption except for agreed upon breaks between sessions. Immediately after the ceasefire ended in January 2013, attacks and kidnappings increased, such as the FARC’s kidnapping of three oil engineers (who 61 Adam Isacson, “Colombia Peace Process Update,” Just the Facts Blog, January 26, 2013. "Colombian Rebels Face Deadline for Peace Deal," Agence France Presse, December 3, 2012; Paul Haven, “Behind the Scenes, Trust Grows Between Mortal Foes at Colombia Peace Talks,” Associated Press, December 16, 2012. 63 See, for example, Economist Intelligence Unit, Country Report: Colombia, December 2012. 64 “El 77% de los Colombianos Aprueba Inicio de Díaologos de Paz,”, September 11, 2012; Luis Jaime Acosta, “Popularidad Presidente de Colombia Baja, Se Mantiene Apoyo a Negociación Paz,” Reuters News, December 19, 2012. 65 Andrea Peña, “Fight between Uribe and Santos Splits Colombia’s Conservatives,” El País, July 19, 2012; Grant Hurst, “Former Colombian President Accuses Incumbent of Talking to Insurgents,” IHS Global Insight Daily Analysis, August 20, 2012; Libardo Cardona, “Colombian Armed Forces, Vital to Any Peace Deal with Guerrillas, Given a Say in Talks,” Associated Press, October 12, 2012; Gregory Wilpert, “Presidential Change May Lead to Ceasefire; Colombia Gives Peace a Genuine Chance,” Le Monde Diplomatique, November 1, 2012. 66 Libardo Cardona, “FARC Cease-fire Lapses, Deemed Success,” Associated Press, January 21, 2013. 62 Congressional Research Service 18 Peace Talks in Colombia were subsequently released unharmed) and the kidnapping of two policemen and an army officer in the departments of Valle Del Cauca and Nariño just days after the ceasefire was lifted. The government reiterated that it would not join a bilateral ceasefire. In early February 2013, the Colombian military killed a FARC military commander close to the FARC’s lead negotiator, Iván Márquez.67 How these developments on the battlefield will influence the talks in Cuba is an open question. Public support is bound to fluctuate as the military situation on the ground changes and the talks proceed through difficult issues. Rural Development and Land Policy The complex issue of land tenure and rural development in Colombia,68 the first topic on the negotiators’ agenda, has proceeded slowly. While the government and the FARC have reported some progress and some areas of “overlap” in their positions, the slow pace of the talks has been a concern of several observers and described as a challenge by government spokespersons.69 One feature of deliberations on this first topic on the agenda has been the incorporation of civil society proposals into the process. In December 2012, the United Nations Development Program and Colombia’s National University co-hosted an agrarian forum involving more than 1,300 participants (reportedly involving campesinos, indigenous people, university professors, and business people) and culled from this group of civil society representatives some 546 proposals related to land and rural development.70 As the talks resumed in January 2013 following a holiday recess, the government and FARC negotiators accepted the proposals for their consideration. In a series of communiqués issued during January, the FARC laid out its 10 proposals for land and rural development. Some observers maintain that the FARC’s proposals taken as a group were not as radical as some of its previous demands for land reform and did not include a demand for elimination of all large estates. While both the government and the FARC share a concern for uneven land distribution and concentration of landholdings by a few, they disagree about what to do about it. One FARC proposal called for taking “unproductive land” from cattle ranchers up to 20 million hectares (a hectare is 2.5 acres) and distributing that land to poor Colombian peasants. The government would rather not take land from the powerful cattle ranchers, and prefers to redistribute unused land held by the government or confiscated from drug traffickers.71 To implement its land and other proposals, the FARC also called for a “Constituent National Assembly” to ratify the final agreement. The Santos government rejected this proposal, which would entail re-writing the Colombian Constitution, but President Santos did say in mid-January 67 William Neuman, “Kidnappings Imperil Talks with Rebels in Colombia,” New York Times, February 3, 2012; “Colombia: Kidnapping Belies FARC Denial of Divisions,” Latin America Weekly Report, January 31, 2013. 68 Colombia, which never underwent a land reform as in other Latin American countries, has one of the most unequal land tenure patterns in the region, with 1.15% of Colombia’s population owning 52.2% of the land, according to a recent U.N. Development Program (UNDP) report. See: UNDP, Colombia Rural: Razones para la Esperanza, Informe Nacional de Desarrollo Humano 2011, Bogotá, Colombia, September 2011. 69 For example, Enrique Santos Calderón, brother of President Juan Manuel Santos and a representative of the government in the preliminary exploratory talks phase, said in a recent presentation that the slow pace of the talks on the agrarian topic was a concern and that the talks needed to adopt “a more convincing rhythm.” Presentation on the peace process given at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, Washington, DC, January 30, 2013, at 70 “FARC Goes on the Offensive,” Latin America Weekly Report, January 17, 2013; Adam Isacson, “Colombia Peace Process Update,” Just the Facts Blog, January 26, 2013. 71 Ibid. Congressional Research Service 19 Peace Talks in Colombia 2012 that a public referendum may be held to ratify what is agreed to at the negotiating table.72 Finally, among its 10 agrarian proposals was a call by the FARC to legalize “certain illegal crops” for medical, cultural, or “therapeutic reasons,” to limit foreign ownership of rural land, and to undertake a rural census.73 Challenges to and Prospects for Peace The peace talks in Colombia face a number of challenges or constraints that may limit the scope of their outcome. These include the level of public support and timing, “spoilers,” and the FARC’s unity of command. Public Opinion and Timing A key challenge is how to maintain continued public support in Colombia for the peace process, because without the public’s backing the government’s willingness to stay engaged will erode. Will important sectors of Colombian society sustain their cautious approval of the peace talks, or will they turn away from them if the government and the FARC continue to engage on the battlefield and as closed door talks continue, perhaps beyond 2013? Some observers believe that if the talks continue without a bilateral truce, then the nature of future FARC attacks will be critical. If the guerrilla attacks on police stations and infrastructure continue as they have over the last few years, the situation may be tolerated if Colombian security forces continue to respond aggressively and effectively. However, kidnappings of security forces, car bombs, and selected assassinations that are linked to the FARC could jeopardize continued public support.74 The FARC announced after the unilateral ceasefire ended in January 2013 that their pledge to end kidnapping for ransom did not extend to security forces. The FARC’s declaration that captured security forces are “prisoners of war” was not at all well received by the government’s delegation and could erode public support for the talks.75 Support for the talks by key players such as the military, the private sector, the Colombian Congress and Colombian civil society groups—or their disillusionment if the talks get bogged down—could be an important factor in the government’s willingness to stay in the negotiations. A closely related issue involves the pace and timing of the talks. As noted earlier, the slow pace of the peace talks on the difficult first topic of land and rural development has led some observers to warn that progress on this topic must be made by late March 2013 (Easter week) or the public’s patience will wear thin. Opposition to the talks is likely to grow substantially if the peace talks are not making significant progress or concluded before the congressional and presidential campaign season begins for the legislative and presidential elections next year in March and May respectively. Insufficient progress or failure of the talks make election of conservative hardliners opposed to the peace process a clear possibility. 72 “FARC Goes on the Offensive,” Latin America Weekly Report, January 17, 2013. Olle Ohlsen Pettersson, “FARC Presents Last Rural Development Proposals,” Colombia Reports, January 24, 2013. 74 Remarks of Colombian journalist Marta Ruiz Naranjo at a presentation on the peace process in Colombia given at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, Washington, DC, January 30, 2013, at 75 For remarks by the government’s lead negotiator, Humberto de la Calle, see William Neuman, “Kidnappings Imperil Talks with Rebels in Colombia,” New York Times, February 3, 2012. 73 Congressional Research Service 20 Peace Talks in Colombia “Spoilers” In the past, powerful business and political leaders who have been sympathetic to the paramilitaries have worked to undermine or block negotiations with the insurgents. Prior efforts to reintegrate or open dialogue with the FARC were derailed through acts of violence instigated by paramilitaries or those sympathetic to them or from rogue units within the FARC itself. Such opponents include those who perpetrated attacks on members of the FARC-tied UP party in the 1980s, or the “terror campaign” unleashed by paramilitaries during the peace talks that ultimately failed during the Pastrana administration (1998-2002).76 Potential action by “spoilers” could be devastating for continued peacemaking efforts. Exactly what the response of the numerous paramilitary successor groups or “Bacrim” will be to a prospective peace deal between the government and the FARC also remains to be seen. The Bacrim may calculate that the government will focus its enforcement efforts on them if the FARC agrees to demobilize. If there is a FARC demobilization, there will likely be violent competition to take over its drug trafficking routes and mining interests as the FARC abandons these illicit enterprises. FARC Unity Another concern is whether the FARC negotiating team represents and speaks for the various FARC forces dispersed around Colombia. In other words, can the FARC team “deliver” the entire far-flung organization or at least most of the FARC fronts operating in Colombia and along its borders? Many FARC fronts are deeply involved in illicit businesses such as drug trafficking and illegal mining and may not willingly give up these profitable ventures. The talks may reveal a possible generational divide within the FARC. The older ideological members may be loyal to the ruling secretariat that is represented in Havana at the negotiating table, while other younger and mid-level members may only have known life in the jungle or remote rural areas financed by drug profits or other illegal activities. Various commentators have speculated about which FARC fronts will turn in their arms and demobilize if an agreement is signed in Cuba, and which may demobilize but return to illicit activities afterwards (much like the Bacrim) or never accept the demobilization accord in the first place. At issue are estimates of the percentage of the FARC that would demobilize if peace accords are signed. Other observers point to the FARC’s relatively successful effort to impose a two-month unilateral ceasefire between November and January, and suggest that there is an adequate unity of command within the organization and loyalty to that command.77 Prospects for Peace Forecasting what will happen in the peace talks is highly speculative given the many constraints the talks face. The roles of the other two illegal armed groups—the ELN and the Bacrim—are also hard to predict. And, of course, there are many who question whether the FARC will negotiate in good faith or if the leaders of the organization have the political will to see the negotiations through to a conclusion. 76 “Hope for Peace in Colombia: Reasons for Optimism, Awareness of Obstacles.” On FARC fragmentation, see “Fragmentation Challenges Talks,” LatinAmerica Monitor-Andean Group, March 2013; “After the Ceasefire, Talk About a Rift within the Ranks of the FARC,” Latin American Security & Strategic Review, January 2013;”Colombia: Kidnapping Belies FARC Denial of Divisions,” Latin News Weekly Report, January 31, 2013; “Hope for Peace in Colombia.” 77 Congressional Research Service 21 Peace Talks in Colombia Nevertheless, there are several reasons for cautious optimism that the current talks may produce a peace deal. Some analysts describe the state of the conflict as “ripe” for both parties to opt for a negotiated or political solution. The government’s negotiating team represents a broad spectrum of influential groups in Colombia (for instance, a former general, the renowned former chief of police, and a leading businessman), the kinds of parties, some analysts point out, who might be most resistant to a negotiated peace agreement. Thus, the “buy in” of these influential representatives of key sectors may help make support from those sectors more likely.78 The peace talks between the Santos government and the FARC also remedy a weakness of some previous peace talks that were held inside the country. In contrast, the current talks are taking place with relative discretion in Cuba. Furthermore, there have been significant roles assigned to international actors to facilitate these talks, including the support role of Cuba and Norway as “guarantors” of the talks, and the “accompanying” role of Venezuela and Chile. According to President Santos’s brother, Enrique Santos, a well-known journalist in Colombia who played a role in the early contacts between the FARC and the government, the early role Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez played in encouraging the FARC’s participation was significant.79 Previous peace talks with the FARC have not had a significant role for international mediators. Numerous steep challenges remain. Any demobilization with members of an armed group must balance the incentives for disarming with the need for justice for the victims of the crimes committed by the group.80 Even if there is agreement on the terms of a demobilization of the FARC, the government’s implementation will be challenging.81 Some analysts question whether violence will be reduced if a disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) process does take place. Some observers contend that the FARC will fragment, and that will undermine the DDR process. Others say that other illegal groups, such as the Bacrim, who are now responsible for much of the violence in Colombia, will compete violently to replace the FARC. Still other analysts maintain that despite difficult topics on the negotiating agenda, a peace deal is possible and could bring many benefits.82 Potential U.S. Policy Implications Since the beginning of the negotiations, there has been a good deal of discussion over how the peace talks and a potential peace agreement may affect the U.S.-Colombia relationship. The talks 78 See, for example, Adam Isacson, “Hope for Peace in Colombia: Reasons for Optimism, Awareness of Obstacles,”September 6, 2012, at 79 Several observers have confirmed this observation. Remarks of Colombian journalist Enrique Santos at a presentation on the peace process in Colombia given at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, Washington, DC, January 30, 2013, at 80 Although the Colombian Congress passed a Peace Framework Law in June 2012 that sets out the terms for a demobilization in a future peace process, the bill was controversial. It could result in an amnesty for most armed actors except for those “maximally responsible” for the most heinous crimes (crimes against humanity). See Adam Isacson, “Hope for Peace in Colombia: Reasons for Optimism, Awareness of Obstacles.” 81 The laws on the books in Colombia are sometimes described as “aspirational.” For example, the implementation of human rights mandates concerning displaced peoples, or significant minorities like the Afro-Colombian and indigenous populations, or the complex Victims’ Law signed by President Santos in June 2011, has been slow. Implementation has been especially difficult in more remote regions of Colombia where central state presence is weak to nonexistent. 82 See Michael Shifter, “Betting on Peace in Colombia,” El Colombiano, September 18, 2012; Colombia: Peace at Last?. Congressional Research Service 22 Peace Talks in Colombia have raised questions concerning the implications for U.S. policy in such areas as U.S. foreign assistance and regional relations if the peace process concludes with an agreement, or if the peace talks fail to produce an agreement. Congress has made a substantial investment in enhancing stability in Colombia since the passage of an emergency supplemental appropriation totaling $1.3 billion to assist counternarcotics efforts in Colombia and neighboring countries in June 2000.83 Over the next 12 years, funding for Plan Colombia and its follow-on strategies, appropriated by Congress and provided through U.S. State Department and Department of Defense accounts, exceeded $8 billion. This assistance was predominantly for security and counternarcotics purposes (i.e., equipment and training to the Colombian military and national police). Congress began to shift the balance more toward “softside” assistance in FY2008, providing an aid package with a greater emphasis on social and economic support. For example, in the FY2012 foreign operations appropriations measure, the balance between “hard-side” security and counternarcotics assistance and “soft-side” traditional development, rule of law, human rights, and humanitarian assistance was roughly 50/50, compared to the 75/25 split in FY2007. In addition, overall assistance levels to Colombia have gradually declined in recent years as the country is increasingly taking over responsibility for programs once funded by the United States. Nevertheless, there appeared to be broad congressional support for the Obama Administration’s request of $332 million for foreign operations support to Colombia in FY2013, as reflected in House and Senate foreign aid appropriations measures for the current fiscal year. Over the past 13 years, the U.S.-Colombia relationship has diversified beyond counternarcotics and concerns about domestic security to include such issues as human rights and humanitarian conditions, environmental cooperation, and broadened economic relations as trade and investment linkages have intensified since the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement entered into force in May 2012. As Colombia has shared some of its hard-earned expertise in combating drug trafficking and crime, the United States and Colombia have also collaborated in providing training to Mexico and Central American countries (and elsewhere) to meet their security challenges. Since the announcement of formal peace talks, the Obama Administration has made several statements in support of the peace process in Colombia while making clear that the United States does not have a direct role in the FARC-government talks.84 Shortly after the talks were announced, one Member of Congress raised a strong concern about the elevated role of Cuba in the current negotiations and noted the FARC’s status as a U.S. designated foreign terrorist organization (FTO).85 Some observers have maintained that a reduction of U.S. support for the talks could be damaging to their success. 83 For more background, see Colombia: Plan Colombia Legislation and Assistance (FY2000-FY2001), by Nina M. Serafino, (archived edition, July 5, 2001). 84 For example, U.S. State Department spokesperson Mike Hammer said “We, the United States, are not a part of Colombia’s peace process, although we support President Santos’ efforts because we believe that it is extremely important that the Colombian people can finally live in peace and security.” See, Michael A. Hammer, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Public Affairs, U.S. Department of State, “LiveAtState: U.S. Foreign Policy Priorities,” December 6, 2012. 85 See statement of Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, former Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, “Negotiations between Colombia, FARC, Cuban Regime Gravely Disappointing Says Ros-Lehtinen,” September 4, 2012. Congressional Research Service 23 Peace Talks in Colombia An Active Role for the United States What will the future U.S. role in the negotiations entail? If the talks get bogged down on the difficult topic of rural development or illegal drugs, the United States may be called upon for conflict resolution assistance and possibly tapped for greater flexibility in its counterdrug policies. (The United States is both the world’s largest consumer of illegal drugs produced in Colombia and its largest donor of counternarcotics assistance). Conceivably, the United States may be asked to consider new policies derived from proposals made at the negotiating table, which might include modification of forced eradication policies, halting the use of aerial eradication (spraying), limiting extradition to the United States of FARC members associated with drug trafficking, or possibly reviewing the FARC’s designation as an FTO. U.S. Assistance and Regional Dynamics with a Potential Peace Accord While such proposals are purely speculative at this time, Congress will be faced with many questions concerning U.S. assistance if the negotiations end in a peace accord. How will the United States respond to requests for increased assistance for disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) of FARC combatants? Will it be asked for increased support for rural development or alternative development measures that are part of a final agreement? Similarly, international donors including the United States may be asked to provide increased support to assist the victims of the five-decade conflict, including improving the living conditions and providing land restitution for the millions who have been displaced (addressed in part by the Victims’ Law). As foreign aid budgets have tightened, on the one hand, and Colombia has proceeded with nationalizing some of the programs once funded by the United States, on the other, U.S. assistance has declined gradually. If a peace accord is signed, Congress may have to consider if assistance to Colombia should be increased to meet new demands or if funding should be shifted from one purpose, such as counterterrorism, to another, such as humanitarian assistance, as priorities change. Another area where changes may be forthcoming if a peace accord is signed will be in regional relations. The important support roles played by ailing President Chávez in Venezuela and by the Marxist Castro government in Cuba to foster and facilitate the peace process will potentially have implications for the future relations of these governments with the United States. Colombia’s relations with its five immediate neighbors—Brazil, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela— have been strained by the lengthy conflict with the FARC. Ecuador and Panama have been flooded with refugees from the conflict, and associated drug trafficking and other crime has created large spillover effects in Ecuador and Venezuela. As noted earlier, it is unclear what a peace accord might produce in the way of violence reduction. However, some observers predict that a successful peace agreement is likely to result in less drug trafficking and terrorist activity, which will possibly increase the number of refugees who will return to Colombia. Potential Outcomes without an Agreement If the peace talks do not proceed to an agreement, the implications for U.S. policy may not be dramatic. The United States is likely to continue its gradual drawdown of assistance to Colombia as programs are gradually turned over to Colombian management and control. The U.S. government may continue to support compensation to victims of the conflict through improved Congressional Research Service 24 Peace Talks in Colombia implementation of the Victims’ Law,86 and other humanitarian and human rights-related programs. Inside Colombia, a failed peace process may make it politically difficult to return to the negotiating table for the Santos government or its successors. As noted earlier, some analysts predict that the FARC may be able to continue to fight on and exist for another 10-15 years. 86 In mid- 2012, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced $50 million of institutional support over a three-period for programs established by the Victims’ Law. See, USAID/Colombia, “Fact Sheet: Victims Programs: Institutional Strengthening Activity,” August 2012. Congressional Research Service 25 Peace Talks in Colombia Appendix. Text of the General Agreement signed by the FARC and the Colombian Government The English translation provided here of the general agreement signed by the parties to the negotiations appears in the International Crisis Group’s report Colombia: Peace at Last?. (International Crisis Group, Colombia: Peace at Last?, Latin America Report, Number 45, September 25, 2012). GENERAL AGREEMENT FOR THE TERMINATION OF THE CONFLICT AND THE CONSTRUCTION OF A STABLE AND LASTING PEACE The below translation has been adapted by Crisis Group from the text at The delegates of the Government of the Republic of Colombia (National Government) and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP): As a result of the Exploratory Meeting held in Havana, Cuba, between 23 February 2012 and 26 August 2012, that counted on the participation of the Government of the Republic of Cuba and the Government of Norway as guarantors, and on the support of the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela as facilitator of logistics and companion: With the mutual decision to put an end to the conflict as an essential condition for the construction of stable and lasting peace; Attending the clamour of the people for peace, and recognising that: construction of peace is a matter for society as a whole that requires the participation of all, without distinction, including other guerrilla forces that we invite to join this effort; respect of human rights within the entire national territory is a purpose of the State that should be promoted; economic development with social justice and in harmony with the environment is a guarantee for peace and progress; social development with equity and well-being that includes big majorities allows growing as a country; a Colombia in peace will play an active and sovereign role in peace as well as regional and worldwide development; it is important to broaden democracy as a condition to build solid foundations for peace. Congressional Research Service 26 Peace Talks in Colombia With the government’s and FARC-EP’s full intention to come to an agreement, and the invitation to the entire Colombian society, as well as to the organisations of regional integration and the international community to accompany this process; WE HAVE AGREED: I. To initiate direct and uninterrupted talks about the points of the agenda established here that are aimed at reaching a Final Agreement for the termination of the conflict that will contribute to the construction of stable and lasting peace. II. To establish a Table of Talks that will be opened publicly in Oslo, Norway, within the first two weeks of October 2012 and whose main seat will be Havana, Cuba. Meetings can take place in other countries. III. To guarantee the effectiveness of the process and conclude the work on the points of the agenda expeditiously and in the shortest time possible, in order to fulfil the expectations of society for a prompt agreement. In any case, the duration will be subject to periodic evaluations of progress. IV. To develop the talks with the support of the governments of Cuba and Norway as guarantors and the governments of Venezuela and Chile as accompaniers. In accordance with the needs of the process and subject to common agreement, others may be invited. V. The following agenda: 1. Integrated agricultural development policy Integrated agricultural development is crucial to boost regional integration and the equitable social and economic development of the country. 1. Access and use of land. Wastelands/unproductive land. Formalisation of property. Agricultural frontier and protection of reservation zones. 2. Development programs with territorial focus. 3. Infrastructure and land improvement. 4. Social development: health, education, housing, eradication of poverty. 5. Stimulus for agricultural production and for solidarity economy and cooperatives. Technical assistance. Subsidies. Credit. Generation of income. Marketing. Formalisation of employment. 6. Food security system. 2. Political participation 1. Rights and guarantees for exercising political opposition in general and for the new movements that emerge after signature of the Final Agreement. Media access. 2. Democratic mechanisms for citizen participation, including direct participation, on different levels and on diverse issues. Congressional Research Service 27 Peace Talks in Colombia 3. Effective measures to promote greater participation of all sectors in national, regional and local politics, including the most vulnerable population, under conditions of equality and with security guarantees. 3. End of the conflict Comprehensive and simultaneous process that implies: 1. Bilateral and definitive ceasefire and end of hostilities. 2. Handover of weapons. Reintegration of FARC-EP into civilian life, economically, socially and politically, in accordance with their interests. 3. The National Government will coordinate revising the situation of persons detained, charged or convicted for belonging to or collaborating with FARC-EP. 4. In parallel, the National Government will intensify the combat to finish off criminal organisations and their support networks, including the fight against corruption and impunity, in particular against any organisation responsible for homicides and massacres or that targets human rights defenders, social movements or political movements. 5. The National Government will revise and make the reforms and institutional adjustments necessary to address the challenges of constructing peace. 6. Security guarantees. 7. Under the provisions of Point 5 (Victims) of this agreement, the phenomenon of paramilitarism, among others, will be clarified. The signing of the Final Agreement initiates this process, which must be carried out within a reasonable period of time agreed by the parties. 4. Solution to the problem of illicit drugs 1. Illicit-crop substitution programs. Integral development plans with participation of communities in the design, execution and evaluation of substitution programs and environmental recovery of the areas affected by these crops. 2. Consumption prevention and public health programs. 3. Solution to the phenomenon of narcotics production and commercialisation. 5. Victims Compensating the victims is at the heart of the agreement between the National Government and FARC-EP. In this respect, the following will be addressed: 1. Human rights of the victims. 2. Truth. Congressional Research Service 28 Peace Talks in Colombia 6. Implementation, verification and ratification The signing of the Final Agreement initiates the implementation of all of the agreed points. 1. Mechanisms of implementation and verification: a. System of implementation, giving special importance to the regions. b. Verification and follow-up commissions. c. Mechanisms to settle differences. These mechanisms will have the capacity and power of execution and will be composed of representatives of the parties and society, depending on the case. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. VI. International accompaniment. Schedule. Budget. Tools for dissemination and communication. Mechanism for ratification of the agreements. The following operating rules: 1. Up to ten persons per delegation will participate in the sessions of the Table, up to five of whom will be plenipotentiaries who will speak on behalf of their delegation. Every delegation will be made up of up to 30 representatives. 2. With the aim of contributing to the development of the process, experts on the agenda issues can be consulted, once the corresponding procedure is realised. 3. To guarantee the transparency of the process, the Table will draw up periodic reports. 4. A mechanism to jointly inform about the progress of the Table will be established. The discussions of the Table will not be made public. 5. An effective dissemination strategy will be implemented. 6. To guarantee the widest possible participation, a mechanism will be established to receive, by physical or electronic means, proposals from citizens and organisations on the points of the agenda. By mutual agreement and within a given period of time, the Table can make direct consultations and receive proposals on these points, or delegate to a third party the organisation of spaces for participation. 7. The National Government will guarantee the necessary resources for the operation of the Table; these will be administered in an efficient and transparent manner. 8. The Table will have the technology necessary to move the process forward. 9. The talks will begin by discussing the issue of integral agricultural development policy and will continue in the order that the Table agrees. 10. The talks will be held under the principle that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. Signed on 26 August 2012, in Havana, Cuba. Signatures. Congressional Research Service 29 Peace Talks in Colombia Author Contact Information June S. Beittel Analyst in Latin American Affairs, 7-7613 Acknowledgments Information Specialist Susan Chesser assisted with research for this report. Congressional Research Service 30