Peace talks with Colombia’s FARC rebel group
After 52 years of bloody armed conflict and more than five years of talks, the Colombian state and the FARC, the country’s largest leftist rebel group, have agreed to make peace.
The talks were held between November 19, 2012 and August 24, 2016, and will officially be signed on September 26. After that, the peace agreement will be either ratified or rejected by the Colombian people in a referendum on October 2.
The long-time warring parties agreed to hold the peace talks in Havana, Cuba. The dialogues were formally guaranteed by Norway and Cuba, and are additionally sponsored by Chile and Venezuela.
In order to advance the process, the negotiators agreed to a fixed agenda before formally beginning the negotiations. The agenda was based on a signed preliminary General Agreement that functioned as a framework, defining which demands can be made and which not.
This General Agreement was signed after a year and a half of secret negotiations between the Santos administration and the FARC, and sought to put an end to a war that had begun to seem endless.
Top – The war – Agenda – General Agreement – Timeline – Government delegation – FARC delegation – Resources
The conflict between the FARC and the Colombian government began in 1964, but political violence closely related to the current conflict began decades earlier.
Colombia has never had much of a stable democracy. In its more than 200 years of existence, the former Spanish colony has had more than a dozen constitutions.
These radical constitutional changes were partly due to a partisan division between Conservatives and Liberals, an ideological rift introduced by Liberator Simon Bolivar and his second-in-command, General Francisco de Paula Santander.
Followers of the relatively conservative Bolivar with the support of the Catholic Church founded the Conservative Party in 1848 in response to the foundation of the secular Liberal Party, which was based on the British Enlightenment principles favored by Santander.
At the time, the current Republic of Colombia had not yet been founded.
The two parties were not just ideologically opposed, but were supported by and sometimes catered to distinct economically and politically powerful families.
The current President Juan Manuel Santos, for example, is a descendant of independence fighter Antonia Santos and a grand-nephew of President Eduardo Santos.
Attempts to consolidate political and economic power by these two powerhouses led to several violent confrontations, wars, and periods of political exclusion between the late 19th century and the 1940s.
Political control since 1810
The violence with more radically leftist forces did not take place until after World War II, when a populist liberal politician, Jorge Eliecer Gaitan, opposed the Conservative government and really began moving the masses, threatening the status quo the Liberal Party and Conservative Party had long benefited from.
Gaitan’s murder in 1948 sparked a period called “La Violencia,” a decade-long brutality in which more than 200,000 Colombians were killed.
The partisan violence ended in 1958 when the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party agreed to divide power, taking turns holding public office and controlling the economy every four years. This agreement was called the “National Front.”
The less pragmatic, more ideological left wing of the Liberal Party, joined by communists and influenced by a wave of socialism-influenced revolts across the continent, did not accept this National Front.In the countryside, where inequality was bordering extreme levels, farmers began revolting against the Bogota-based political elite.
From this movement sprung the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), who were initially nothing but a handful of peasants.
In 1964, they declared themselves independent, forming The Republic of Marquetalia in a tiny village on the foot of the Nevada de Huila mountain range.
History of the FARC
Fueling the violence with drugs
The conflict escalated in the 1980s when several leftist rebel groups became active, drug trafficking revenue was financing weapons across the country, and right-wing self-defense forces began forming to protect private interests from the increasingly powerful and wealthy guerrillas.
In hand with the Colombian Communist Party, the strengthened FARC began to have political ambitions at a national level, posing a serious challenge to the political status quo.
In 1985, the Colombian government began peace talks with the different rebel groups and the FARC joined more moderate leftist thought leaders to form a political party, the Patriotic Union.
However, groups like the FARC and ELN did not demobilize and did not agree with the new constitution.
The Patriotic Union — the rebels’ attempt to actively participate in politics — faced an extermination campaign by right-wing paramilitary groups and extreme elements within the state, particularly the military.
Additionally, the government created bad blood by attacking a FARC compound in the middle of the talks.
In turn, the FARC removed itself from politics and began an impressive territorial expansion, increasingly using the revenue from drug trafficking to fund their military campaign.
The group had also discovered a new form of making money that also served as political intimidation, kidnapping.
Kidnappings in Colombia
However, as the FARC in the mid-90s were approaching the gates of the capital Bogota from the south, state-aligned paramilitary groups from the northwest and east of Colombia united and formed the AUC and one of the bloodiest decades of the conflict began.
The state forces fighting the guerrillas were now supported by brutal paramilitary forces that began pushing the guerrillas back south while taking increasing control of the drug trafficking trade.
However, in spite of paramilitary pressure in the north, the FARC was able to make major territorial gains in the south of the country and, financed by drug trafficking and “economic retentions,” or kidnappings for extortion purposes, the FARC was able to grow stronger, increasing their territorial pressure to the point they were putting up roadblocks outside major cities.
Faced by the increasingly strong guerrilla group and an increasingly weak state, President Andres Pastrana (1998-2002) agreed to peace talks with the guerrillas in 1999 while obtaining US support for the military defeat of the FARC.
Meanwhile, paramilitary violence surged and groups united in the AUC in 1997 carried out a brutal offensive, breaking victimization records while the Pastrana administration was negotiating with the FARC.
The talks failed in 2002, and the military offensive supported by the 1999 Plan Colombia deal came into action.
Pastrana announces end of 1999-2002 peace talks
Following the talks, the Colombian people elected Alvaro Uribe, a hard-liner and Plan Colombia really came to full force.
The Colombian military gained access to arms and intelligence and was also increasingly able to push the FARC deeper inside the jungle.
The paramilitary forces demobilized between 2003 and 2006 and the military, now just with US support, since then fought the guerrillas on its own. By 2008, the FARC was at its weakest point and lost its founder, Manuel Marulanda, a.k.a. “Sure Shot.”
FARC fighters since 1985
However, the military successes claimed by the Colombian government of Alvaro Uribe and the US government of George W. Bush came with a major human cost; millions of Colombians were displaced. Tens of thousands civilians were killed or otherwise victimized.
Conflict victims since 1985
Causes of the conflict
The US began pulling funds following a series on politicians’ ties to the AUC and the killings of thousands of civilians to inflate the military’s success rate, and the Colombian military was left on its own.
Additionally, the weakened FARC switched from the toxic territorial warfare with large armies to traditional guerrilla warfare using tiny units undetectable from the sky and easily hidden among the civilian population.
The conflict seemed to have reached a stalemate as the military’s effectiveness dropped while that of the guerrillas went up.
However, the Colombian government, under the leadership of former President Alvaro Uribe, began approaching the FARC after the demobilization of the AUC.
These initiatives did not result in either informal or formal talks until current President Juan Manuel Santos took office in 2010 and, while still at war, began secret peace talks with the FARC that resulted in the formal peace talks going on at the moment.
Top – The war – Agenda – General Agreement – Timeline – Government delegation – FARC delegation – Resources
The current peace talks are following an agenda that is made up of six points.
These points attempt to cover both the causes and the effects of the conflict that never exclusively involved the FARC and the state. The points regarding rural reform and political participation can be seen as an attempt to solve the causes of the conflict, while that regarding victims clearly deals with a consequence.
Drug trafficking, one of the main aggravators of the violence, is covered as a separate subject.
Each of the agenda points needs to be signed off by both parties before a final peace deal can be reached.
Of the six points, three have been agreed on, two are currently being negotiating while the last one, the implementation of the deal, is pending.
The FARC, later followed by the government, began publishing the partial agreements on rural reform, political participation and illicit drugs in mid-2014. The government and the organizational body later made the documents publicly available too.
✔ Rural reform
In the join draft for an “Integrated Agrarian Development Policy” the two parties agreed on measures to diminish poverty on the countryside while trying to curb land inequality long seen as one of the main causes of the conflict.
✔ Political participation
The FARC were born in the 1960s from Marxist ideologies. Throughout its history, non-violent ideological allies of the group have been persecuted by the state and state-loyal paramilitary forces.
According to the FARC, this has strengthened a concentration of political and economic power to the benefit of an oligarchy and regional dynasties. In this deal, the parties agreed to mechanisms that allow a fair and safe participation in politics for the FARC and other dissident movements.
✔ Illicit drugs
The cultivation of coca and the export of cocaine have long fueled the conflict, financing both the FARC and state-loyal paramilitary groups. In the preliminary accord, the government and the FARC define a post-conflict drug policy.
According to the United Nations, Colombia’s conflict has left more than 7 million victims. Political violence that’s been wreaking havoc since the 1940s has left at least half a million Colombians dead.
To provide justice for these victims, the government agrees to an international transitional justice tribunal and a Truth Commission. The latter will have no judicial authority and evidence gathered by that commission may not be transferred to the Transitional Justice Tribunal.
The tribunal will investigate all pending and incoming criminal complaints about war crimes and war-related crimes.
FARC rebels with no suspected human rights record will have to appear before an amnesty chamber after which they will take part in reintegration programs that should support the communities victimized by the conflict. Those guerrillas who are convicted of war crimes will be able to spend a maximum of eight years outside of prison, but under “restricted movement,” but on the condition they fully collaborate with justice.
Convicted war criminals — guerrillas, members of the military, politicians and civilians alike — who only partly helped in the clarification of their crimes will serve prison sentences of no longer than eight years. War criminals who refuse collaboration can face sentences up to 20 years in prison.
To further promote the rights of victims, a Victims Fund and a Land Fund will be created to financially compensate victims of violence and provide land to the millions of small farmers who were displaced during the conflict.
✔ End of conflict
While negotiating the end of conflict, the two parties agreed to the demobilization and disarmament of the FARC and the measures put in place to help the reintegration of the guerrilla organization’s lowest ranks. At the presentation of this deal, both parties also announced a definitive ceasefire, effectively ending the war ahead of the peace deal.
In the implementation phase, Colombia’s government will ask the public to approve the peace deal in a referendum, or a plebiscite to be exact. Once the electorate approves of the agreement, the government can formally execute the final agreement and all previously arranged deals and the FARC will begin its demobilization, disarmament and reintegration.
Additionally, a period of transitional justice will take effect in which the 17,000 FARC members can apply for amnesty. Only those accused of war crimes or other grave human rights violations. Government programs will be put in place to help with the reintegration of the fighters, militia members and non-armed collaborators. The investigations will also focus on state crimes and civilian collaboration will designated terrorist groups like the FARC and AUC..
Top – The war – Agenda – General Agreement – Timeline – Government delegation – FARC delegation – Resources
The six points in the peace talks agenda were agreed on by the two negotiating teams in the General Agreement for the Construction of a Stable and Lasting Peace. This agreement serves as the framework within both parties can negotiate.
The preliminary deal was negotiated secretly by top members of the FARC, former Peace commissioner and presidential adviser Frank Pearl and the brother of the president, Enrique Santos, who quietly left the conversations as they were formalized.
The following text is the literal translation of the agreement made for the talks to kick off.
General Agreement for the Termination of the Conflict and the Construction of a Stable and Lasting Peace
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 in Havana, Cuba, between February, 23 and August 26, 2012, and which counted on the participation of the Government of the Republic of Cuba and the Government of Norway as guarantors, and with the support of the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela as facilitator of logistics and companion; With the mutual decision of putting an end to the conflict as an essential condition for the constitution of stable and lasting peace; Attending the clamor of the population for peace, and recognizing that: The construction of peace is an issue of the society as a whole that requires the participation of everybody, without distinction, including other guerrilla organizations which we invite to join this proposal; Respect for human rights in every corner of the national territory is a state purpose that should be promoted; Economic development with social justice and in harmony with the environment is a guarantee of peace and progress. Social development with equality and well-being, including the majorities, allows us to grow as a country; A Colombia in peace will play an active and sovereign role in regional and global peace and development. It is important to amplify democracy as a condition to achieve solid bases for peace; With the full disposition of the National Government and the FARC-EP to reach an agreement, and the invitation to the entire Colombian society, as well as organisms of regional integration and the international community, to accompany this process; We have agreed:
- To initiate direct and uninterrupted conversations about the points of the Agenda established here, with the purpose of reaching a Final Agreement for the termination of the conflict that will contribute to stable and lasting peace.
- To establish a Table of Conversations that will be installed publicly (in the first two weeks of October 2012) in Oslo, Norway, and whose main site will be Havana, Cuba. The Table could have meetings in other countries.
- To guarantee the effectiveness of the process and conclude the work about the points of the agenda expeditiously and in the least amount of time possible, to fulfill the expectations of the society concerning the agreement. In any case, the duration will be subject to periodic evaluations of progress.
- To develop the conversations with the support of the governments of Cuba and Norway as guarantors and the governments of Venezuela and Chile as accompanying countries. In accordance with the needs of the process and by agreement, others could be invited.
- The following Agenda:
1. Comprehensive agricultural development policy (agreed)
Comprehensive agricultural development is crucial to boost the integration of the regions and the equitable social and economic development of the country.
- Access and use of land. Wastelands. Formalization of property. Agricultural border and protection of reserve zones.
- Programs of development with a territorial focus.
- Infrastructure and land improvement.
- Social development: health, education, housing, eradication of poverty.
- Stimulus to agricultural production and the economy of solidarity and cooperation. Technical assistance. Subsidies. Credit. Generation of income. Marketing. Labor formalization.
- Food security system.
2. Political participation (agreed)
- Rights and guarantees for the exercise of the political opposition in general and in particular for the new movements that arise after the signing of the Final Agreement. Access to the media.
- Democratic mechanisms of citizen participation, including those of direct participation, on different levels and diverse themes.
- Effective measures to promote greater participation in the national, regional and local policy of all sectors, including the most vulnerable population, equality of conditions and with guarantees of security,
3. End of the conflict
Integral and simultaneous process which implies:
- Bilateral and definitive cease of fire and hostilities.
- Abandonment of arms. Reincorporation of the FARC-EP into civil life – economically, socially and politically -, in accordance with their interests.
- The National Government will coordinate the revision of the situation of individuals, charged or convicted, for belonging to or collaborating with the FARC-EP.
- Parallel, the national government will intensify the fight to end the criminal organizations and their support networks, including the fight against corruption and impunity, in particular against any organization responsible for homicides and massacres or that undermines human rights defenders, social movements or political movements.
- The National Government will revise and make the reforms and institutional adjustments necessary to address the challenges of the construction of peace.
- Guarantees of security.
- Under the provisions of Point 5 (Victims) of this agreement, the issue of paramilitarism, among others, will be clarified.
The signing of the Final Agreement initiates this process, which must develop in a reasonable time agreed by the parties.
4. Solution to the problem of illicit drugs (agreed)
- Illicit crop substitution programs. Integral development plans with participation of the communities in the design, execution and evaluation of the programs of substitution and environmental recovery of the areas affected by illicit crops.
- Prevention programs of consumption and public health.
- Solution to the phenomenon of production, consumption and public health.
To compensate the victims is in the center of the agreement National Government – FARC-EP. In this sense they will treat:
- Human rights of the victims.
6. Implementation, verification and countersignature
The signing of the Final Agreement begins the implementation of all of the agreed points.
- Mechanisms of implementation and verification
- System of implementation, with special importance for the regions.
- Commissions of monitoring and verification.
- Mechanisms of resolution of conflicts.
These mechanisms will have the capacity and executive power, and will be conformed by representatives of the parts and of society, as appropriate.
- International accompaniment
- Tools of dissemination and communication.
- Mechanism of countersignature of the agreements.
VI. The following operating rules:
- In the sessions of the Table up to 10 people will participate per delegation, of which up to 5 will be plenipotentiaries who will carry the respective voice. Every delegation will be made up of up to 30 representatives.With the end of contributing to the development of the process they can realize consultations of experts about the themes of the Agenda, once the corresponding procedure is sorted.
- To guarantee the transparency of the process, the Table will elaborate periodic reports.
- A mechanism will be established to make public the advances of the Table. The discussions of the Table will not be made public.
- A strategy of effective diffusion will be implemented.
- To guarantee the broadest participation possible, there will be established a mechanism of reception of proposals about the points of the agenda of citizens and organizations, by physical or electronic means. By mutual agreement and at some specific moment, the Table can make direct consultations and receive proposals about the points mentioned, or delegate to a third party the organization of spaces of participation.
- The National Government will guarantee the necessary resources for the Table to work, that will be administered in an efficient and transparent manner.
- The Table will have the necessary technology for the process to advance.
- The conversations will initiate with the point of integral agricultural development policy and will continue with the order the Table agrees on.
- The conversations will be hold under the principle that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.
March – The first exploratory meeting between the government and FARC takes place. According to the FARC this happened near the Colombian-Venezuelan border.
November 4 – The Colombian military kills the FARC’s commander-in-chief and initial promoter of talks, “Alfonso Cano.”
Mid November – According to secret mediator Henry Acosta he is delivered a message from the FARC’s “Pablo Catatumbo” saying: “Tell the president everything we have discussed stands, this does not affect the dialogue.”.
August 19 – Former President Alvaro Uribe claims in a public speech that his successor, President Juan Manuel Santos, has been negotiating secretly with the FARC, Colombia’s largest and longest-living rebel group. The government denies this.
August 27 – Santos and FARC representatives sign a preliminary agreement in Havana, Cuba to formalize peace talks.
August 28 – In a live television broadcast, Santos confirms his administration has been negotiating with the FARC in secret and will “soon” announce the formal beginning of peace talks.
September 4 – Santos and FARC leaders announce on national television that they have signed an agreement to begin peace talks.
October 18 – Negotiators from the Colombian government and the FARC hold a press conference in Norway, one of the guarantor countries of the process, to mark the start of the process.
October 22 – The Colombian government lifts 191 arrest warrants in order for 29 FARC negotiators to participate in the talks.
November 6 – FARC representatives move from Oslo to Havana to discuss logistics ahead of the official start to talks.
November 12 – In a letter, the National Liberation Army (ELN) expresses a desire to begin exploratory talks to potentially join the peace process.
November 19 – Talks get underway officially in Havana, Cuba. As round one begins, the FARC announces a two-month unilateral ceasefire.
November 25 – Negotiators announce that a public forum on agrarian reform to be held in Bogota in December.
November 29 – The first round of Havana talks end. The government announced the launch of a website for citizens to contribute to discussions on the peace talks.
December 2 – Santos set a November 2013 deadline for the end of the talks.
December 19 – The three-day public forum on agricultural reform concluded in Bogota. .
January 14 – Round 3 begins, discussing the first item on the agenda, land and rural development both sides discussed the proposals on agrarian reformthat emerged during the December public forum in Bogota. January 20 – The FARC ended its unilateral two-month ceasefire
January 24 – Round 3 ends and government negotiator Humberto de la Calle emphasize that ceasefire still remained off the table.
April 7 – “Pablo Catatumbo,” commander of Western Joint Command, FARC’s most powerful unit, joins the talks in Havana as guerrilla negotiator.
May 26 – Round 8 ends and the negotiators announce they made the first agreement on the agenda, concurring on ‘Land Reform’.
June 11 – Round 9 begins, discussing second item on the agenda, political participation. FARC representatives propose delaying the 2014 legislative and presidential elections by a year, and put forward the idea of a constituent assembly. Humberto de la Calle, the chief government negotiator, says no to both proposals.
July 1 – Round 10 begins. In a joint statement, representatives of the FARC and ELN say they held a joint meeting and agreed to work towards “a political solution to the social and armed conflict.”
July 20 – 19 army soldiers die in biggest FARC attack during the peace talks
August 22 – Santos announces a plan to submit an eventual peace accord to a public referendum.
August 23 – FARC negotiators suspend the talks to consider the government’s proposal for a referendum on a future peace accord.
August 26 – Following the brief suspension, negotiations resume in Havana.
August 28 – Colombia’s Constitutional Court upholds the Legal Framework for Peace, a critical piece of legislation for the talks.
September 1 – The Santos administration sends a bill to Congress to hold a referendum on a future peace accord.
September 9 – The government announces it will begin talks with the ELN, in a different location from the FARC talks in Havana.
September 11 – A bicameral committee in Congress postpones debate on the peace referendum.
September 17 – The peace accord referendum bill passes its first hurdle in Congress, and is approved by committees in both houses. The bill will now be debated by the House and the Senate.
September 24 – Santos asks for global support for the peace process during his address at the General Debate of the UN General Assembly.
November 6 – Round 16 ends and negotiators announce agreement on “Political Participation,” the second deal since the beginning of the talks.
November 20 – Santos announces that he will seek re-election in May 2014.
November 28 – Round 17 begins and delegation move on to negotiating a “Solution to the problem of illicit drugs.”
December 4 – The FARC calls for a truth commission again.
December 15 – FARC enters the one month unilateral cease-fire .
January 15 – FARC’s ends the one-month ceasefire. According to non-governmental security analysts, the guerrillas’ offensive actions declined by about 95% during this cease-fire.
February 4 – After a 15-month investigation by the Semana newspaper, it has been concluded that a secret Colombian military intelligence unit used advanced online technology and hacking techniques to monitor the text messages and emails of opposition politicians and representatives of both the government and the FARC involved in the Havana peace negotiations
February 18 – Armed Forces commander General Leonardo Barrero is dismissed by Santos amid an accumulation of corruption, wiretapping and human rights scandals.
May 16 – The FARC agrees to end all illicit drug operations and help the government in getting rid of the plant that is the basic ingredient for cocaine.
May 25 – First round of presidential elections are held
June 9 – FARC anounces unilateral ceasefire until the 30th of June to not interfere in the second round of presidential elections
July 29 – President Santos condemns all alleged FARC attacks on Colombia’s infrastructure as terrorist actions, which could affect peace talks with the government
July 31 – FARC announces that Colombia’s peace talks are in jeopardy if the Colombian government fails to guarantee the rights of the political opposition and if the military keeps targeting the group’s leaders.
August 5 – Government and FARC publicly announce consensus regarding visits of groups of conflict victims to the Havana.
August 15 – The first delegation of victims of Colombia´s armed conflict travels to Cuba, where they will partake in the negotiations between FARC and the government.
August 24 – In an exclusive interview with Colombia’s Semana newsmagazine, Andres Sepulveda, the alleged hacker accused of spying on ongoing peace talks, claims to have worked with active members of the Colombian military to gain access to privileged information and communications, at the behest of various campaign officials and political allies of presidential runner-up Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, currently the director of the Democratic Center (Centro Democratico) party, the largest opposition bloc in Congress
September 10 – Round 28 ends. A second group of 12 victims representatives arrives in Havana to talk with the delegations of rebel group FARC and the Colombian government about the treatment of victims in the event of a peace deal between the country’s oldest rebel group and the state.
September 22 – President Juan Manuel Santos meets Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to discuss ongoing peace talks and the fight against drugs
September 24 – The contents of the three draft accords agreed so far, which have been kept in secret, are announced to be made available to public.
October 1 – A third delegation of 12 victims visits the negotiating table in Havana
November 3 – Santos begins a five-day marathon tour of Europe, aiming to secure political and economic support for post-conflict Colombia in the event that a peace deal is reached with the FARC guerrillas.
November 17 – Santos suspends peace talks with rebel group FARC, hours after guerrillas of the Ivan Rios Bloc detain a general in western Colombia
November 19 – Colombia peace talks reach two-year mark.
November 30 – Colombian army general captured by FARC is released after successful negotiations involving foreign guarantors.
December 10 – Peace talks are resumed after three weeks suspension.
December 15 – The fifth and the last delegation of victims of Colombia’s armed conflict travels to Cuba, where they will partake in the negotiations between FARC and the government.
December 17 – Colombia’s largest rebel group, the FARC, declared an indefinite ceasefire, an unprecedented concession to public pressure and opponents to ongoing peace talks with the country’s government.
December 29 – “Joaquin Gomez,” whose real name is Milton de Jesus Toncel, commander of the FARC’s Southern Bloc, generally accused of being one the rebels’ main drug trafficking units, joins ongoing peace talks with the government in Cuba. .
January 7 – Colombia’s second largest rebel group, the ELN, says it is interested in taking preliminary peace talks a step further.
January 15 – President Juan Manuel Santos announces that he has given orders to government negotiators to prioritize talks with rebel group FARC over a bilateral and indefinite ceasefire.
January 20 – Colombia Ombudsman and conflict NGO report that the FARC has thus far complied with the self-imposed ceasefire that began in December.
January 29 – Three former heads of paramilitary organization AUC offer apologies to the victims of hundreds of their crimes.
January 30 – Pope Francis allegedly tells Colombia’s ambassador to the Vatican he would visit the South American country if and when peace is signed with rebel group FARC.
February 5 – Colombian rebel group FARC says that it seeks a victim reparation fund that would consist of 3% of the GDP, granting about $11 billion per year for 10 years after an eventual peace deal with the government.
February 11 – A commission of 12 Colombian historians present their account on the origins, causes, aggravators and consequences of Colombia’s 50-year long armed conflict on Tuesday.
February 12 – Colombia’s largest rebel group, the FARC, vows to immediately and indefinitely ban the recruitment of child soldiers.
February 20 – The United States takes a more direct role in Colombia’s peace talks, naming Bernard “Bernie” Aronson, a former US assistant secretary of state for Inter-American Affairs, as a special envoy to the process.
February 23 – Rebels chief negotiator announces that no FARC members will go to jail or surrender their weapons.
March 1 – The Special Envoy of United States President Barack Obama reportedly meets with Colombia’s largest rebel group FARC over the weekend, presumably to discuss pending extradition requests of guerrillas and the fate of rebel commanders in US prisons.
March 6 – US President Barack Obama sends a second top official to attend Colombia’s peace talks, while Republicans stress a peace deal must not harm US interests in the region.
March 8 – Colombia’s government and the country’s biggest rebel group, the FARC, announce an agreement to begin a pilot program for removing land mines as part of efforts to lower the intensity of a conflict that has lasted a half century.
March 9 – Colombia suspends the extradition of a FARC leader to the United States amid an ongoing debate about whether the country should end extraditing guerrillas who are negotiating peace with the government.
March 10 – Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announces that the military will suspend air strikes on camps of rebel group FARC for one month in response to the unilateral guerrilla ceasefire called in December.
March 12 – In the spite of suspended air strikes, Colombia’s military announces that they will use “all available means” to continue fighting the FARC.
March 30 – Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos begins a tour of the country’s military barracks to explain ongoing peace talks with guerrilla group FARC and quell unrest about possible military cuts in the event of peace.
April 9 – Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announces an extension of suspension of air strikes against rebel group FARC, which is holding peace talks with the government.
April 12 – A Colombian court sentences a former employee of a presidential candidate in the 2014 elections to 10 years in prison after he admitted to spying on the government’s peace talks with the FARC, and accepted the prosecution’s offer of a reduced penalty in exchange for his cooperation.
April 13 – United States President Barack Obama “celebrated” Colombia’s peace progress in a meeting with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos at the 7th Americas Summit in Panama.
April 15 – Rebel group FARC kills 11 soldiers in the southwest of Colombia, breaching the unilateral ceasefire called by the guerrillas in December.
April 15 – Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos orders the resumption of air strikes against the FARC after rebels killed 11 soldiers in an attack, breaching the organization’s unilateral ceasefire it had called for the duration of peace talks.
April 16 – The killing of eleven members of Colombia’s military early was a response to an army “siege,” rebel group FARC says.
April 16 – Five civilians are killed in what appears a spike in violence following the FARC attack that killed 11 soldiers.
April 20 – The FARC maintains the commitment to the unilateral ceasefire agreed to in December 2014 the same day the Colombian military accuses the guerrillas of the second breach within a week.
April 21 – Colombia’s government and the FARC continue peace talks despite a crisis spurred by the rebel attack that killed 11 soldiers.
May 17 – Colombia’s government suspends all 182 arrest warrants against FARC leader “Timochenko” in the hope that a more agile contact between negotiators and their supreme commander can speed up ongoing peace talks.
May 21 – Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos adds the country’s foreign minister and a business leader to the government’s negotiation team holding peace talks with rebel group FARC.
May 21 – The FARC suspends the unilateral ceasefire that had been after a military attack kills at least 26 FARC members.
May 26 – Colombia’s peace talks resume.
May 27 – The European Union urges the Colombian government and the FARC to proceed with peace talks despite recent setbacks.
May 27 – The FARC claim that the May 21 air strikes killed one of their peace negotiators.
May 27 – The FARC commemorate its 51st anniversary, marking the beginning of the 52nd year of conflict.
May 27 – At a press conference in Cuba, Colombia’s guarantors, Cuba and Norway, urge the Colombian government and the FARC to agree to a bilateral ceasefire.
May 28 – Colombia’s ombudsman said he supports a bilateral ceasefire with FARC rebels.
May 30 – Liberal party senator proposed a meeting between Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos and the supreme leader of the FARC.
June 1 – The United Nations’ representative in Colombia said that the Colombian government and FARC should ‘rethink’ peace talks without ceasefire.
June 1 – The European Union announces that a trust fund made up of donations from member states for landline removal in Colombia will be made available after a peace agreement is signed by the government and the FARC.
June 2 – FARC negotiator says that leaders of the FARC are willing to serve time in detention for crimes, as long as it isn’t an ordinary prison.
June 2 – Colombian government and FARC rebels said that they will set up a Truth Commission if a peace deal is reached.
June 3 – Colombia’s conservative opposition released a study claiming that the FARC have committed at least one act of violence per day since peace talks began 1,000 days ago.
June 7 – According to a key senator belonging to President Juan Manuel Santos, Colombians are getting ‘fed up’ with peace talks between the government and the FARC.
June 8 – The Colombian army and the FARC begin landline removal program in north Colombia village of El Orejon.
June 8 – The European Union announces a fund to support the Colombian peace process.
June 9 – The European Union announced that it would contribute €26 million to projects that would help peace building if peace talks are successful.
June 9 – The United Nations’ High Commissioner for Refugees said that ongoing peace talks could suffer from recent increase in FARC attacks and military offensives.
June 14 – Noway urged Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC to step up peace negotiations.
June 13 – The FARC said that it will release soldiers younger that 15 following government safety protocols.
June 16 – The FARC pressured the government delegation taking part in peace talks to agree to a partial agreement on victims ‘now’.
June 21 – The FARC warned that recent escalation of armed conflict could cause the collapse of peace talks in Cuba.
June 22 – A conflict monitoring group reported that the FARC carried out more than 150 attacks since they lifted their self-imposed ceasefire in May.
June 22 – The United States’ House of Representatives called a hearing on the progress of peace talks in Colombia, a long-time US ally.
June 22 – Deputy Assistant Secretary of State told US Congress that peace talks are at ‘a critical stage, perhaps the most critical to date’.
July 5 – Colombia’s peace negotiations with the FARC hit a critical low as the group stepped up violent attacks.
July 7 – Cuba, Norway, Venezuela and Chile called on Colombia’s government and FARC rebels to urgently deescalate violence that is threatening ongoing peace talks.
July 7 – A survey released indicated that three quarters of the Colombian people have no faith that the peace agreement will be signed between the FARC and the government.
July 8 – The FARC announced that they would resume a unilateral ceasefire on July 20.
July 8 – President Juan Manuel Santos said that peace talks with the FARC need more progress before he would agree to a bilateral ceasefire.
July 9 – The FARC urged the government to dismantle paramilitary organizations, fearing that they would disrupt the guerrillas’ reintegration if peace is reached.
July 12 – The Colombian government pledged to de-escalate military action against the FARC if they uphold their unilateral ceasefire.
July 12 – The FARC agreed to extend its unilateral July 20 ceasefire from one to at least four months.
July 16 – The United Nations called on Colombia’s politicians and FARC rebels to establish a more peaceful public discourse.
July 18 – Members of Colombia’s military and the FARC resumed a landmine removal pilot project in the north of Colombia that was suspended the previous week after a soldier died after accidentally detonating a mine.
July 20 – The leaders of the FARC ordered their troops to indefinitely cease attacks on Monday.
July 21 – The United Nations announced that that it will send a team of experts to Cuba for the verification and monitoring of efforts to deescalate violence between the FARC and the Colombian government.
July 24 – The ELN dropped their demand to hold a bilateral truce with the Colombian government before formalizing peace talks announced more than a year ago.
July 24 – President Juan Manuel Santos warned Colombia’s conservative opposition that he will to allow critics of peace talks to ‘sow discord’ in the United States.
July 25 – Colombia’s government said it is suspending aerial bombings of guerrilla camps in an attempt to de-escalate fighting and breathe new life into struggling peace talks.
July 26 – The FARC praised President Juan Manuel Santos’ move to suspend air strikes on guerrilla targets.
July 27 – Colombia’s Defense Minister said that a bilateral ceasefire between Colombia’s government and FARC rebels is very far away.
August 2 – Whilst negotiating a peace deal in Havana, the FARC said that they hope to meet with Pope Francis on his visit to Cuba.
August 2 – United Nations delegates met with FARC negotiators for the first time in Cuba to discuss measures to deescalate the armed conflict.
August 2 – Colombia’s chief government negotiator said that FARC must agree to submit to transnational justice and its disarmament before the government would agree to a bilateral ceasefire.
August 3 – 65 Democrats in the United States Congress urged State Secretary John Kerry to urge FARC and Colombian government negotiators to not neglect victims and to prevent impunity.
August 5 – According to a conflict analysis group, Colombia’s military did not carry out a single attack on FARC units in the second week of the group’s unilateral ceasefire.
August 9 – President Juan Manuel Santos proposed a ‘mini-Congress’ to approve possible amendments to the constitution more swiftly.
August 11 – An economics expert said that Colombia’s national government was not reserving enough money for an effective peace process with the FARC.
August 13 – United Nation’s Secretary General Bank Ki-moon named Frenchman Jean Arnault delegate to formally monitor and verify attempts to deescalate conflict violence in Colombia during peace talks.
August 14 – President Juan Manuel Santos said that he would be willing to declare a bilateral ceasefire once FARC and government peace negotiators reach a compromise on transnational justice.
August 16 – The leader of FARC claimed that the Colombian military had carried out air stokes in spite of a suspension. Contradicting observers claimed that this was not true.
August 18 – The peace talks installed an international sub-commission on transitional justice, including an American and a Spaniard, in the hope this sub-commission will find compromise on how to punish the tens of thousands of war crimes committed by both the FARC and the military.
August 17 – FARC leader “Timochenko” said that the military carried out air strikes in spite of a suspension, but contradicting observers claimed that the army had not carried out any offensives.
August 18 – The peace talks installed an international sub-commission, including an American and a Spaniard, to break the deadlock on how the Colombian state and rebels would pay for war crimes.
August 20 – The FARC’s unilateral ceasefire that began on July 20 reduced conflict-related violence to its lowest level in 30 years.
August 20 – Observers said that the FARC violated their ceasefire twice while the army had largely avoided attacking the guerrillas.
August 23 – The FARC admitted to killing a community leader during the unilateral ceasefire.
August 26 – According to pollster Gallup Almost 69% of Colombia’s urban dwellers will vote in favor of a peace deal with FARC rebels if one is reached.
August 30 – The FARC announces that they were ‘optimistic’ about the direction in which the peace talks were heading after a meeting in Havana.
August 31 – President Juan Manuel Santos announces that peace talks had advanced ‘significantly’.
September 3 – The Democratic Center’s claims that the FARC broke their unilateral ceasefire, which disputed the findings of the Resource Center for Conflict Analysis (CERAC) that has been monitoring the deescalation efforts and recorded only three violent actions attributable to the FARC in the period of July 20 to September 1.
September 3 – The host nations of Colombia’s peace talks, Cuba, Norway, Chile and Venezuela propose a meeting in order to reach a peace agreement by the “end of the year.”
September 7 – After years of promising the Colombian people they could vote on a possible peace deal with the FARC in a referendum, President Juan Manuel Santos rules out a popular vote, claiming this would be “suicide.” Santos later retracted this statement.
September 9 – The leader of Colombia’s second largest guerrilla group the ELN, Nicolas “Gabino” Rodriguez, announced that the group is very close to formalizing peace talks with the government.
September 10 – Colombia’s opposition leader Alvaro Uribe met with top government officials in two meetings facilitated by the United States to discuss the progress of ongoing peace talks with guerrilla group FARC.
September 15 – The Vatican denied any possibility that the pope would meet with the FARC in Havana during his tour through the US and Cuba from September 19-28
September 20 – Pope Francis begged the Colombian government and rebels on Sunday to end South America’s longest-running conflict, saying they simply had no right to let ongoing peace talks fail.
September 21 – The Colombian government said that they will allow leftist rebel group the FARC six regional areas in which to safely carry out the crucial disarmament process for the demobilization of the guerrilla after a peace deal is reached. The FARC asked for 50, corresponding with the 50 fronts that make up the armed group.
September 23 – Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos traveled to Cuba to meet with delegates to sign a deal on transitional justice after the FARC confirmed the presence of rebel leader “Timochenko”. Colombia’s government and FARC rebels announced prison sentences of no more than eight years for war crimes committed during the country’s conflict the warring parties are trying to end.
September 25 – The chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court has welcomed a justice deal between the Colombian government and Marxist guerrilla group the FARC. In a statement, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Fatou Bensouda expressed her optimism for the progress made following the establishment of the criminal justice mechanism.
September 28 – The transitional justice deal between the government and FARC rebels was slated by the Human Rights Watch who claimed it will not adequately punish perpetrators of war crimes committed during the country’s armed conflict.
September 29 – Representatives for the victims of Colombia’s ongoing internal armed conflict expressed their unanimous support for a transitional justice deal that was signed by the government and FARC rebels in a mutual attempt to make peace.
October 1 – The European Union announced it had appointed Ireland’s former foreign minister Eamon Gilmore to become the EU’s envoy for Colombia’s ongoing peace process. Gilmore was previously involved in the peace process in Northern Ireland where the IRA was violently resisting British rule.
October 8 – President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC rebel leader “Timochenko” were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for their “commitment to the peace process which promises to end the Colombian conflict.”
October 15 – Colombia’s FARC leader Ivan Marquez insisted on its refusal to surrender its weapons to the government, but planted the idea to leave these weapons with a foreign government or even in a museum.
October 16 – Former Colombia president Andres Pastrana resigned from a presidential peace commission in protest against a recently made deal on transitional justice as part of ongoing peace talks with FARC rebels.
October 18 – Colombia’s government and FARC rebels agreed to begin locating, exhuming and returning Colombians who have gone missing during the country’s 51-year-long armed conflict.
October 19 – A delegation of representatives from the North of Ireland visited Colombia to offer insights from their experiences of a peace process to both the government and the FARC.
October 26 – FARC leader “Timochenko,” suspended the political training of troops in light of alleged recent attacks by the military. Timochenko announced earlier in October that he would stop military training and replace this with political education programs for members of his rebel group but following these attacks he announced a reversal.
October 28 – President Juan Manuel Santos said that he agreed to work towards a bilateral ceasefire with FARC rebels that should take force on January 1 which would be“like a Christmas and New Year’s gift to Colombians.”
October 29 – The FARC and the government agreed to reach a bilateral ceasefire on December 16 despite major issues still scattered across the negotiations table. President Juan Manuel Santos proposed a January 1 deadline for the bilateral ceasefire between the state and the FARC guerrillas but he was immediately challenged by FARC delegate “Rodrigo Granda” to bump up the date two weeks earlier.
November 1 – Colombia’s FARC rebel group said its 3-month-old unilateral ceasefire, declared amid peace talks with the government may be at risk because of a rise in military actions against its fighters.
November 4 – Rights group Amnesty International said the Colombian government must ensure indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities uprooted by warring factions can return home and have a greater say in how their lands are developed.
November 5 – A number of NGO’s demanded greater participation of civil society in ongoing peace talks between the government and the FARC.
November 5 – Colombia’s peace talks received a major blow from Congress after the Senate banned rebel group FARC’s possibility to take part in politics, one of the key agreements to ending half a century of war.
November 9 – The FARC urged Colombia’s government to immediately agree to a bilateral ceasefire, arguing the rebels’ unilateral truce cannot be sustained. The guerillas made ardent complaints against the Colombian government’s lack of will to commit to a ceasefire, claiming the state continues to seek military advantage in the midst of peace talks.
November 10 – FARC leader “Timochenko” ordered to all guerrillas to end all purchases of weapons and ammunition as peace talks to end half a decade of armed conflict with the state continue.
November 10 – Representatives from the Colombian government traveled to Europe for meetings at the European Parliament to talk about the current status of the peace talks with FARC rebels.
November 13 – Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez launched an aggressive verbal attack against the FARC during his participation in the forum of Violence and Post-conflict. Ordoñez warned FARC guerrillas that, unless justice is done, amnesty agreements made in a pending peace deal could be revoked.
November 18 – In an argument over the delays to the process Timochenko claimed that “delays, pretexts and excuses” were becoming “frequent” and could mean that the final peace deal is not signed by the proposed date, 23 March 2016, as promised by both in September. Santos replied that on the side of the government, there is “all the will and the interest to reach an arrangement as soon possible.”
November 22 – President Santos sent his brother to privately meet with FARC rebel leader “Timochenko” in Cuba to negotiate a conclave between negotiators that could speed up three-year-long peace talks.
November 23 – Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos pardoned 30 convicted FARC rebels as a sign of goodwill to the guerrilla group. The guerrillas to be released were convicted only on charges of rebellion.
November 24 – Ahead of a possible peace deal with leftist FARC rebels, Colombia created “the fund of funds” that will gather foreign contributions for peace and funnel them to peace building projects.
November 25 – The FARC, and Colombia’s government agreed to a conclave that obligates negotiators in ongoing peace talks not to leave the table until a deal to put an end to 51 years of violence is agreed.
December 2 – Colombia’s government rejected FARC rebel proposals to create demilitarized zones for demobilizing fighters in the event ongoing talks result in a peace deal or truce. The FARC had proposed demilitarized areas with a certain level of autonomy called Terrepaz to safely demobilize it fighters and begin the guerrilla organization’s transformation to a non-violent political movement.
December 7 – FARC guerrilla delegates traveled to a small town in the west of Colombia to personally ask the locals forgiveness for a 2002 massacre that killed approximately 80 of the town’s inhabitants.
December 14 – Colombia’s Congress approved a government-supported bill that seeks popular ratification of a pending peace deal with FARC rebels through a plebiscite.
December 15 – The Colombian government, FARC rebels and victims presented what all parties called a historic deal on victims, which includes previously announced deals on a truth commission, victim reparation measures and punishment for war criminals.
December 16 – Following a key agreement on victims with FARC rebels, Colombia president Juan Manuel Santos took to national TV to call on his compatriots to “give peace a chance.”
December 18 – The remains of 29 people who disappeared during the half-century conflict in Colombia were handed over to their families under a deal between the FARC rebels and the government.
December 21 – The negotiation chief of Colombia’s FARC rebels Ivan Marquez reiterated that the group’s members do not have the money to contribute to victim reparation.
December 22 – The Prosecution Office announced that as many as 24,000 Colombian state agents are implicated in war-related crimes and could benefit from a transitional justice deal if peace with FARC rebels is reached.
December 22 – Human Rights Watch (HRW) slammed the recently signed transitional justice deal between Colombia’s government and FARC rebels, claiming it “sacrifices victims’ right to justice” in efforts to make peace.
January 19 – The special envoy of the European Union and Ireland’s former Foreign Minister, Eamon Gilmore, returned to Colombia to discuss European funds for Colombia if its government achieves a peace deal with the FARC.
January 20 – Colombia’s government and the FARC asked the United Nations and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States to monitor a bilateral truce as peace talks draw to an end.
January 20 – Colombia’s Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez denounced the transitional justice pact as “a pact for impunity,” before the International Criminal Court (ICC).
January 21 – Colombia released a group of 30 imprisoned FARC rebels marking another milestone in a peace process that could end Latin America’s longest-running armed conflict.
January 21 – Members of the United Nations Security Council received a draft of a resolution that calls for establishing a U.N. mission to oversee disarmament should Colombia’s government and leftist FARC rebels reach a final peace deal.
January 25 – The UN Security Council unanimously approved a resolution to establish a political mission to monitor and verify a future ceasefire in Colombia.
January 28 – The FARC asked the European Union to be removed from the EU list of terrorist groups.
January 29 – Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said he wanted the US to remove the FARC from their list of designated terrorist organisations.
February 1 – The FARC can only be removed from the United States’ Foreign Terrorism Organization list after Colombia’s largest rebel group has disarmed and stop posing a threat to US interests, the US envoy to peace talks said in response to the request made by President Santos for their removal.
February 4 – President Obama announced that the United States will drastically ramp up its contributions to Colombia from $300 million to $450 million annually to support a peace process.
February 8 – Colombia’s hard-line former President Alvaro Uribe publicly asked the United States to reconsider its support for a pending peace deal with the FARC, and continue prosecuting and imprisoning guerrilla drug traffickers.
February 10 – The FARC rebel group is reportedly sending military commanders back to lead their troops in Colombia and replacing them with ideologues, indicating a shift in strategy as the peace talks near an end and armed fighters need convincing to demobilize.
February 11 – Colombia’s FARC rebels announced they would not allow anyone under 18 to enter their ranks.
February 20 – FARC peace delegates, joined by armed guerrillas, visited a Colombian village seemingly without consent of the government that ordered to suspend rebel attempts to promote ongoing peace talks among their men.
February 22 – Colombia’s FARC released the first of an estimated 2,000 child soldiers fighting with the rebel group.
February 25 – Prominent Afro-Colombians asked President Juan Manuel Santos to receive black representatives at the Palace to discuss their now-absent role in peace talks with FARC rebels.
February 26 – Colombia’s government and FARC guerrillas vowed to tighten up protocol after a surprise visit of rebel negotiators and hundreds of armed guerrillas to a small town upset public opinion.
February 29 – While holding preliminary peace talks with Colombia’s government, rebel group ELN allegedly has increased its presence in areas traditionally under control of the FARC, the much larger guerrilla group that is set to sign peace within months.
March 3 – Colombia’s yet-to-be established Special Tribunal for Peace is set to begin with a staggering 32,433 open trials in which 111,086 crimes are investigated. The court was set up as a part of the peace process talks on transitional justice and will deal specifically with all cases related to the armed conflict.
March 4 – Colombia’s government and leftist FARC rebels have agreed upon a revised protocol prohibiting press from talking to guerrilla leaders in Colombia to promote a pending peace deal among fighters.
March 10 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed veteran U.N. envoy Jean Arnault of France to head the new U.N. political mission in Colombia that will monitor and verify a future ceasefire between the government and the country’s largest rebel group.
March 10 – Colombia’s Congress unanimously voted in favor of the creation of special areas where FARC guerrillas will concentrate in the event of the demobilization of Colombia’s largest and longest-living rebel group.
March 11 – Colombia’s Prosecutor General asked the Constitutional Court to nullify a recently approved plebiscite that would give Colombians a vote on a pending peace deal between the government and left wing FARC guerrillas.
March 13 – The Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff pledged continued strong US military support for Colombia, saying that massive security challenges will follow a peace treaty with the FARC.
March 15 – The United Kingdom promised to contribute $7.6 million to international funds that seek to finance ongoing peace efforts in Colombia.
March 19 – The European Union (EU) envoy to Colombia’s peace process met with victims of the conflict who are going through a reparations process in the capital Bogota.
March 22 – The United Nations, in charge of monitoring a future peace deal between Colombia’s government and FARC rebels, warned about a possible surge in violence by paramilitary successor groups if the FARC demobilizes.
March 22 – US Secretary of State John Kerry’s met with peace negotiators for the Colombian government and FARC guerrillas, who he promised direct US involvement to guarantee protection of demobilizing fighters.
March 23 – Colombia’s government and left-wing FARC rebels missed the self-imposed March 23 deadline for the signing of a peace agreement. However sufficient progress was made for the talks to continue.
March 28 – Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos demanded that extreme-left FARC guerrillas set a date for the disarming of their troops as the warring parties struggle through the final phase of peace talks.
March 30 – Parallel to ongoing peace talks with Colombia’s largest rebel group FARC, ELN rebels also agreed to formalize peace talks that seek to end more than half a century of violence.
March 31 – Colombia’s military will continue offensives targeting left-wing ELN rebels despite Wednesday’s announcement of peace talks with the government, the country’s defense minister announced.
April 4 – Colombia’s second largest rebel group, the ELN, is not yet willing to end kidnapping or cease attacks in spite of being in talks with the government to negotiate peace, according to one of the group’s leaders.
April 8 – Peace talks between Colombia’s government and FARC rebels are stuck because the government refuses to acknowledge the existence of far-right paramilitaries while the FARC demands their dismantling.
April 14 – Peace talks between Colombia’s government and the left-wing guerrilla group ELN will begin in May, according to the rebel group. The rebels did not announce a date and the government has yet to confirm the claim.
April 18 – Colombia’s left-wing FARC rebels called on Pope Francis to intervene in ongoing peace talks with the government in an open letter penned by the group’s commander-in-chief.
April 19 – The European Union vowed to release the necessary funds for post-conflict projects once Colombia’s government has signed peace with the FARC, the country’s largest leftist rebel group.
April 21 – Colombia’s government called on the private sector to take active part in peace talks with ELN rebels who say public participation in the talks is key to their success.
April 25 – The commander of one of the FARC’s most elite fighting units, “El Paisa,” arrived in Havana to take part in ongoing peace talks after reportedly having rejected the talks.
April 28 – The United Kingdom pledged their long-term support to Colombia’s peace process with the FARC rebels following a visit by the British Foreign Secretary to the South American country.
April 29 – The United States said it will work to prevent the collapse of a pending peace deal between Colombia’s government and the FARC rebels, according to the country’s ambassador.
May 2 – Colombia’s ELN rebels put peace talks with the government in doubt by releasing a former governor but replacing him with his brother, a former congressman.
May 10 – To the dismay of Colombia’s government, the country’s conservative opposition called on civil resistance to a pending peace deal with leftist FARC guerrillas.
May 11 – Snipers of Colombia’s largest guerrilla group, the FARC, killed two soldiers, according to the country’s defense minister who demanded answers.
May 11 – US Secretary of State John Kerry reiterated his country’s support for Colombia in the aftermath of a peace deal with leftist rebels during a meeting with President Juan Manuel Santos in London.
May 13 – Colombia’s government and FARC rebels announced an agreement that would judicially shield a pending peace deal and secure its compliance to international humanitarian law.
May 15 – Colombia’s peace talks are under more pressure than ever; The conservative opposition refuses to attend any congressional session and the Inspector General threatened to investigate President Juan Manuel Santos.
May 15 – While Colombia’s FARC guerrillas invited Colombia’s ex-president Alvaro Uribe to join peace talks, President Juan Manuel Santos doubled up on corruption allegations faced by his predecessor.
May 15 – Following almost a year of talks, negotiators of Colombia’s government and FARC rebels announced the guerrillas will release 170 child soldiers of 14 and younger.
May 17 – Commanders of Colombia’s largest rebel group FARC will have to face justice for having recruited 11,556 child soldiers since 1975, according to the country’s interim Prosecutor General.
May 17 – Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos took to national television to defend an agreement for judicial protection of a pending peace deal with FARC rebels after the opposition accused him of leading a “coup d’état against democracy.”
May 19 – The ELN said will not give into demands by the government to release hostages ahead of peace negotiations, the leader of Colombia’s second largest rebel group said.
May 26 – Public support for a pending peace deal continues to grow, according to a poll in the country’s five largest cities which indicated that 67% said they would go to vote in a plebiscite, and of those 61% would vote in favor of the peace treaty.
May 27 – Colombia’s government and leftist FARC rebels entered what they called a “permanent session” in order to reach an agreement to end 52 years of violence “as soon as possible.”
June 1 – Colombia’s former president Alvaro Uribe explicitly refuses to meet with the FARC leader “Timochenko” to discuss his opposition to the ongoing peace talks in Havana.
June 22 – The Colombian government and the FARC announce they have reached agreement on a bilateral ceasefire to be signed on June 23 in Cuba. UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon and five Latin American presidents will attend the ceremony.
June 23 – In the presence of top officials from Latin America and the United States, President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC leader Timochenko sign the definite ceasefire, effectively ending 52 years of hostilities. Both parties said they would let the Constitutional Court decide what the proper mechanism is for public ratification of the pending peace deal.
June 26 – To the dislike of the FARC, who fear attacks from neo-paramilitary groups and rogue military units, the government released the locations of 32 demobilization and disarmament camps.
June 28 – The FARC says that even if Colombians reject the peace deal, it would not return to the jungles to fight. “If ‘No’ wins this does not mean it will fret the process, because peace as the right synthesis can not bring us to take the decision to return to such a painful war,” according to FARC negotiator Carlos Antonio Lozada.
June 29 – According to the governor of Antioquia, Luis Perez, the Colombian military has begun taking control of traditional FARC territory in the areas around the camps where the guerrillas are expected to demobilize and disarm.
July 5 – FARC chief Timochenko says he has ordered all guerrillas in Colombia’s oldest rebel group to end extortion practices as the organization is preparing for a peace process.
July 5 – Multiple polls are now indicating that Colombians are convincingly vote “Yes” to the FARC peace deal.
July 7 – The FARC’s 1st Front announces that it disagrees with the rebel leadership and will not demobilize with the rest of the guerrilla organization. The FARC leadership almost immediately expels the dissident unit.
July 11 – The government and the FARC kick of a pilot project that seeks to set the standard for crop substitution programs that will be put in place after a peace deal with the guerrillas.
July 18 – The Constitutional Court rules that Colombians will be able to vote on the peace deal in a plebiscite.
July 26 – The Prosecutor General’s Office, which has been investigating FARC war crimes by the bulk, says it has evidence of hundreds of sex crimes allegedly committed by the guerrillas.
July 26 – Former President Alvaro Uribe announces that the Democratic Center, the only political party opposing peace with the FARC, will promote a “No” vote rather than abstention.
July 27 – Antioquia governor Luis Perez says that guerrillas in the north of the province are prematurely abandoning their jungle camps and heading towards the demobilization camps, creating an immediate power vacuum. The governor had said already he already sent troops into the region to prevent this.
July 27 – The government appoints two prominent former members of the ELN, Gerardo Bermudez and Carlos Velandia, as mediators in an attempt to unlatch peace talks with the country’s second largest rebel group.
August 2 – The government coalition in Santos formally kicks of the “Yes” campaign that seeks the ratification of the FARC deal in a plebiscite as ordered by the Constitutional Court.
August 2 – Commanders “Pablo Catatumbo,” “Marco Leon Calarca” and “Carlos Antonio Lozada” are put in charge of the FARC’s demobilization process.
August 3 – The National Army announces it is prepping 12,000 troops to protect demobilized FARC guerrillas from possible attacks by rival groups on the guerrillas’ transition camps.
August 4 – President Santos announced that he will allow the FARC to hold their 10th National Guerrilla Convention, during which the group should end its armed uprising and guerrilla representatives approve the transition to a political party.
August 4 – Former President Alvaro Uribe and his Democratic Center party formally launch their campaign seeking a “No” to the FARC peace deal in a pending plebiscite.
August 4 – The first poll released by Datexco indicates that a majority of Colombians in against the peace deal with the FARC.
August 4 – The government and the FARC, announce they have agreed on the security protocol necessary for the guerrillas’ safe demobilization.
August 8 – The UN and the Colombian government announced they have begun visits to the agreed demobilization sites for FARC guerrillas.
August 9 – The government announces it is expanding its land restitution program to include territories considered under FARC control.
August 10 – The United Nations asks the conservative government of Argentina to provide more peace observers for the international force that will monitor and verify the FARC’s demobilization and disarmament.
August 15 – The Electoral Observation Mission (MOE) says that more than 20% of Colombian municipalities are at serious risk of election fraud during the pending plebiscite on the FARC deal.
August 15 – If Colombia turns down a peace deal bartered between the government and the FARC, this deal can not be renegotiated as claimed by the opposition, says chief negotiator Humberto de la Calle.
August 16 – President Santos assures businesses, thousands of whom have financially contributed to illegal armed groups, that extortion victims will not be prosecuted. Only voluntary financiers of designated terrorist groups will be called to justice, said the president.
August 18 – Colombia’s Catholic Church says it would not endorse either a “Yes” or a no “No” vote in the referendum on the pending peace deal with the FARC.
August 19 – UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon calls on Colombia to urgently come to an agreement on who will cover which costs of a pending demobilization of the FARC.
August 22 – The top peace official of the Antioquia province says preliminary demobilization talks between the government and neo-paramilitary groups Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, a.k.a. “Los Urabeños” and the Medellin-based Oficina de Envigado are ongoing
August 23 – The European Parliament approves a $450 million credit line for Colombia, in addition to the $80 million promised in aid for the post-FARC period.
August 24 – The Colombian government and the FARC formally announce they have reached a peace agreement in Havana, Cuba, where the talks have taken place. The ceremony is attended by numerous foreign leaders. The final deal reveals the FARC will have 10 guaranteed seats in Congress between 2018 and 2026.
August 27 – The FARC announces it will hold its 10th and final National Guerrilla Conference between September 13 and 19, a date that would later be changed.
August 28 – The ceasefire between the state and the FARC that effectively took effect on June 23 formally comes into force, marking the formal end of hostilities between the warring parties.
August 29 – The Electoral Observation Mission (MOE), an NGO dedicated to monitoring electoral processes in Colombia, said it would deploy 2,000 observers, mainly in risk areas, during the referendum on the deal.
August 30 – UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon sent a report to the Security Council saying the organization is “read” to begin monitoring and verifying the FARC’s demobilization and disarmament.
August 30 – The government reveals that the question that will be asked in the referendum that seeks ratification of the FARC peace deal. The exact question is: ““Do you support the final agreement to end the conflict and the construction of a stable and long-lasting peace?”
August 30 – News that major companies like Coca-Cola, Postobon, Cementos Argos and dozens of other could face terrorism support charges over their financial contributions the AUC causes unrest in Colombia’s business community.
September 1 – The International Criminal Court says it welcomes Colombia’s peace accord, but urges the effective prosecution of alleged war criminals.
September 2 – Both leftist rebel group ELN and the paramilitary successor group Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces of Colombia vow to respect the FARC’s demobilization.
September 2 – President Santos announces that the formal signing of the peace accord will be on September 26 in the Caribbean city of Cartagena.
September 8 – Former President Alvaro Uribe published a letter online addressed to US presidential candidates Hillary Clinton (D) and Donald Trump (R), claiming the pending peace deal with the FARC could turn Colombia into “a second Venezuela.” Neither candidate responded publicly. Current President Obama is set to leave office next January. An election will define his successor in November.
September 9 – Antioquia Governor Luis Perez said that hundreds of police have been sent to FARC heartland in the north of Antioquia to impose state authority while the FARC prepares to demobilize.
September 10 – Multiple polls, including Datexco who initially predicted a “No” vote, say public opinion has swayed in favor of a “Yes” vote to peace with the FARC.
September 10 – The FARC has handed over its first 13 child soldiers to the Red Cross. The FARC and government disagree whether the guerrillas will surrender 20 or more than 100 child soldiers currently to be believed in their ranks.
September 12 – President Santos inaugurates the government delegation that will make part of the demobilization and disarmament commission, The commission is presided by the UN and also the FARC will be represented.
September 12 – Top FARC commanders meet privately with family members of 11 state deputies from Valle del Caquca, who were kidnapped from the Assembly in 2002 and executed in cold blood after years of captivity. While some family members express profound content over the apology, others demanded actions, not just words.
September 13 – While disarming, the FARC will surrender some 20,000 arms, mainly handguns and rifles, the government’s main military negotiator says.
September 14 – Media report that 13 political activists who have been promoting to vote “Yes” to the deal between the government and the FARC deal have been assassinated since a formal ceasefire in an apparent escalation of political intolerance or paramilitary activity
September 14 – Some 200 FARC unit representatives arrive in the plains of Yari, a village near San Vicente Del Caguan, Caqueta ahead of their impending final guerrilla conference.
September 14 – After years of refusing to talk to his successor, Uribe challenges Santos to a debate. Not with Uribe personally, but with some of most loyal party members.
September 15 – The FARC release the program of their 10th National Guerrilla Conference, the first to be attended in person since 1993 and the first ever partially open to the press. Some 900 journalists request accreditation for this last change to see the guerrillas together.
September 15 – President Santos formally apologizes for the state involvement in the killing of thousands of members of the Partiotic Union (UP) party in the 1980s and 1990s. He does so before UP party leader Aida Avella.
September 16 – The government and the FARC announce they have reduced the number of rebel concentration camps to 27 after discarding location of two camps that were initially agreed.
September 16 – A poll released by Datexco revealed that a comfortable majority of Colombians is likely to say “Yes” to the peace deal in the October 2 referendum. Some 60% said it would in favor against 33% who said they’d vote against.
September 17 – The FARC’s 10th National Guerrilla Conference begins in the plains of Yari in San Vicente del Caguan, Caqueta. The guerrillas’final conference is attended by at least 800 reporters from across the globe.
September 18 – On his first day in New York where he will visit US President Barack Obama and speak before the UN General Assembly, the Colombian president and US Secretary of State John Kerry called on the international community to contribute funds for demining projects. Santos was promised $80 million of the $200 million he had said he needed.
September 19 – On his second day in New York, Santos formally hands the peace agreement with the FARC to UN secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who called the deal a “victory for Colombia.”
September 20 – Santos turns down the invitation by Uribe to debate the peace. According to Santos, who has been seeking dialogue with the opposition for years, said he had “no time to accept any kind of debate.”
September 20 – President Obama addressed the UN General Assembly for the last time as president. Within one minute he calls Colombia’s peace process one of the worlds’s “greatest achievements” and claimed “we helped Colombia end Latin America’s longest war.”
September 20 – A considerable number of top AUC commanders send an open letter in which they ask to be repatriated to Colombia and take part in the peace process. According to the paramilitary chiefs,
September 20 – the FARC’s Ivan Marquez tells CNN that the effective movement of fighters to guerrilla concentration camps might have to wait until after Congress has approved the amnesty bill for fighters not suspected of war crimes. The congress president said earlier he would not call this vote until after the October 2 plebiscite.
September 21 – One day later than initially announced, Santos presents a copy of the peace agreement to the UN General Assembly, claiming “the war in Colombia is over.”
September 21 – President Santos then presents the peace deal personally to President Obama, who calls the negotiated end to the armed conflict a “historic achievement.”
September 23 – The FARC’s National Guerrilla Conference “unanimously” ratifies the peace deal made with Santos administration and agree their troops to begin preparations for their demobilization.
September 24 – The FARC’s top leaders leave the National Guerrilla Conference by helicopter to prepare for the final act of peace in Cartagena.
September 24 – Urabeños founder “Don Mario” tells press he wants to take active part in the peace process. The former AUC member got his AUC demobilization benefits removed for continuing criminal activity after the demobilization date.
September 26 – World leaders from around the globe come together to witness the formal signing pf peace between the state and the FARC by President Juan Manuel Santos and Timochenko, who from now on can be called by his real name, Rodrigo Londoño..
Humberto de la Calle
The former vice president and ex-minister of state is a 66-year-old lawyer and politician that was born in Manzanares of the northwest Caldas department. Of liberal affiliation, De la Calle has had an impressive political career. He studied law in the University of Caldas and specialized in international law. Several of the prominent positions he has held include judge of the Supreme Court, Minister of Government under Cesar Gaviria, Vice President under Ernesto Samper, Colombian ambassador in Spain, and Interior Minister under Andres Pastrana between 2000 and 2001. De la Calle has now been designated as head of the negotiating team in talks with the FARC.
The Presidential Security Adviser was announced as the Peace Commissioner by Santos, confirming that he would be the voice of the government in the table of negotiations with the FARC. The philosopher from Bogota was vice-minister of Defense and was in charge of the first phase of “exploratory negotiations.” He had already been working as plenipotentiary when he finalized talks in Cuba. Jaramillo has been an adviser in human rights during the first term of Alvaro Uribe, and drafted the document of the democratic security policy. He was in the government until 2004, and then went on to direct the foundation “Ideas for the Peace,” in which he continued with themes of the armed conflict and security. He was also vice-minister for human rights and international points for the Defense Ministry.
The internationally awarded former general Oscar Naranjo was director of the National Police. After retiring he was designated as adviser in security for the Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. During his 35 years with the National Police, Naranjo was commander of several departments as well as commander of Special Operations and the Directorate of Intelligence and Counterintelligence. He was also a part of operations in which authorities took down important drug trafficking leaders, such as Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha and Pablo Escobar. Naranjo will be an important voice in the theme of drug trafficking during the table of negotiations.
As ex-commissioner of peace and ex-minister of the environment, Pearl took part in the first phase of the peace process as plenipotentiary along with Jaramillo. The economist from Bogota promoted and defended the criticized Justice and Peace process during the government of Alvaro Uribe, and realized the demobilization of paramilitary group ERPAC. Along with Piedad Cordoba, he participated in the the liberation of kidnapped persons. Pearl also had a lot of influence during exploratory meetings with FARC leaders in Cuba.
Maria Paulina Riveros
Maria Paulina Riveras is the former Human Rights director at Colombia’s Interior Ministry. The attorney has a long career in law and policy. She replaced Luis Carlos Villegas after he had been appointed ambassador to Washington D.C. and has become the delegation’s leader when it comes to debating women conflict victims.
Jorge Enrique Mora
General Jorge Enrique Mora was commander of the army between 1998 and 2002, during the government of Andres Pastrana. During this time, he participated in the failed peace process. Santos praised Mora’s role in the military and perceives him as an asset during current negotiations.
Luis Carlos Villegas
Since 1996, Juan Carlos Villegas has been head of the National Industrial Association. The lawyer and socio economist is also President of Colombia’s Business Association. He was vice-minister and acting foreign minister, and held positions as a governor and senator. He has participated in dialogue processes in the National Council of Peace as well as conversations with the ELN in Cuba and Costa Rica. Villegas left the government delegation to become ambassador in the United States.
“Ivan Marquez” is one of the FARC’s most important political leaders and member of the Colombian guerrilla group’s Secretariat. After the FARC’s decision to begin peace talks with the government, the senior rebel was appointed leader of the rebel delegation that will negotiate peace with the government in Norway and Cuba.
REAL NAME: Luciano Marin
RANK: Commander of Caribbean Bloc and member of both the FARC’s Central High Command and Secretariat
PROFILE: Ivan Marquez
Pablo Catatumbo is the commander of the leftist rebel group FARC’s most powerful fighting unit, the Western Joint Command and adviser to the group’s Adan Izquierdo Joint Command, also known as the Central Bloc. Catatumbo was born in 1953 in Colombia’s third largest city, Cali, near the traditional heartland of the FARC rebels in the Cauca and Tolima states.
REAL NAME: Jorge Torres
RANK: Commander of the Western Joint Command and member of the FARC’s Secretariat and Central High Command
PROFILE: Pablo Catatumbo
“Ricardo Tellez” a.k.a. “Rodrigo Granda”
FARC negotiator “Rodrigo Granda” has dual Colombian-Venezuelan citizenship and has widely been considered the organization’s “foreign minister” after the death of bloc commander “Raul Reyes” in 2008. According to Granda, he worked at a bank and was active in the Colombian Communist Party before joining the FARC in the late 1980s. Following the formation in 1984 of the Patriotic Union party that sought to integrate the FARC into politics, Granda became one of the party’s executives. However, as paramilitary and state forces began massacring UP members, Granda went underground. He is wanted for kidnapping in Paraguay and had ten local arrest warrants on his name before joining the delegation in Cuba.
REAL NAME: Ricardo Gonzalez
RANK: Member of the FARC’s Central High Command and the group’s unofficial foreign minister
“Marco Leon Calarca”
“Marco Leon Calarca” began his career in the FARC in 1986 and has since been involved in the group’s international and diplomatic activities. While being a member of the guerrilla group, Calarca lived in Bolivia, Mexico, Costa Rica and even Canada where his wife and children currently reside.
REAL NAME: Luis Alberto Alban
RANK: Unofficial diplomat
- “Carlos Antonio Lozada” (Commander of the Antonio Nariño urban network)
- “Pastor Alape” (2nd in command of the Magdalena Medio Bloc)
Central High Command members
- Fabian Ramirez (2nd in command of the Southern Bloc)
- Isaias Trujillo (Commander of the Ivan Rios Bloc)
- Rubin Morro (Commander of the Aurelio Rodriguez front)
- Pacho Chino (2nd in command of the Western Joint Command)
- Walter Mendoza (Commander of the Arturo Ruiz mobile unit)
- Boris Guevara
- Camila Cienfuegos
- Carmenza Castillo
- Diana Grajales
- Edilson Romaña
- Edward Velasquez
- Erika Montero
- Fidel Rondon
- Gabriel Hernandez
- Hermes Aguilar
- Isabela Sanroque
- Leonidas Morales
- Lucas Carvajal
- Maritza Sanchez
- Marllely Ortiz
- Matias Aldecoa
- Milena Reyes
- Mireya Andrade
- Pablo Atrato
- Samy Flores
- Tanja Nijmeijer
- Victoria Sandino
- Viviana Hernandez
- Yira Castro
- Yuri Camargo
“Andres Paris” is the nom de guerre of Jesus Emilio Carvajalino. The guerrilla leader entered the FARC in the 1980s while the guerrillas were engaged in the formation of political party Patriotic Union. When that party became victim to the systematic killing of members, Paris joined the armed forces of the FARC. The rebel also took part in peace talks with the government between 1999 and 2002..
Colombia Reports news
Colombia Reports profiles
- Colombia Peace (WOLA)
- Guide: Colombia’s Peace Talks (AS/COA)
- Q&A: Colombia peace talks (BBC)
- Colombian conflict (1964–present) (Wikipedia)
Peace talks organizers
- President’s Office
- Colombian military
- Government delegation
- FARC delegation (Spanish)
- FARC delegation (English)