If a peace accord is reached between the Colombian government and FARC guerrillas in the coming months, experts predict that demobilized guerrillas may find employment opportunities in the oil industry as a means to reintegrate with mainstream society.
“The invitation [to FARC] is to learn how to install [pipeline] infrastructure, rather than destroy it,” claimed Hermes Aguirre, chairman of the Chamber of Petroleum Goods and Services (Campetrol). El Espectador also quoted Aguirre as saying that, “all companies would benefit from this resource.”
Legitimate employment in the oil industry would represent a complete turnaround for FARC soldiers.
Leading up to the peace talks, attacks on oil pipelines were a favorite target for the guerrillas. In the first six months of this year, oil pipelines in Colombia were hit by a wave of alleged guerrilla attacks. A total of 67 attacks occurred from January to mid-July, which represented a 300% increase from 2011.
However, since Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos formally announced on August 27 that peace talks were already underway, rebel attacks have been in decline.
Government and rebel negotiators are currently working through phase two of peace talks in Oslo. The peace process is then expected to move to Havana, Cuba by mid-November. The time frame suggests that any mass guerrilla demobilization would not take place until 2013 at the earliest.