President Santos and alias 'Timochenko' at the signing ceremony

Colombia's government and rebel group the FARC have signed a revised peace deal, as the two sides race to reduce the chances of more guerrilla fighters falling outside of the planned demobilization process.

President Juan Manuel Santos and commander-in-chief of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia - FARC), Rodrigo Londoño Echeverry, alias "Timochenko," signed a new peace deal on the morning of November 24 in the Colombian capital of Bogotá. The signing comes seven weeks after voters rejected an initial agreement between the two sides. Congress will reportedly hold a vote for its approval this coming Tuesday.

If the agreement is approved, the legislative body will have to pass numerous laws attached to the deal before it can be implemented. It remains to be seen if this will be done via a "fast-track" process by which the laws would be passed by a simple yes/no vote on each of its provisions. The other option would to open up the provisions for debate, which could take several months.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of FARC Peace

The two sides received hundreds of proposals to modify the deal from the political opposition. The main sticking points were that FARC members would face alternatives to prison time, and that the former guerrillas would be guaranteed 10 seats in congress for two terms. Another delicate issue is that under the initial deal, drug trafficking was considered a political crime that could be pardoned.

But the new agreement has not made many substantial changes in these areas, and the amendments are considered insufficient by the political opposition spearheaded by former President Álvaro Uribe and his Democratic Center party. 

InSight Crime Analysis

The Colombian government and FARC leadership are keenly aware that they are in a race against the clock. FARC fighters who had already begun preparations to demobilize have been stuck in a precarious limbo ever since the initial peace deal was voted down in early October. This sense of urgency is reflected in the quick turnaround between the rejection of the first agreement and the signing of the second. 

"We have to act," Santos said during the signing ceremony. "We have no time to lose."

As more time passes, it becomes increasingly likely that FARC elements abandon the peace process altogether and return to the financial security of their criminal activities, most notably the overseeing of cocaine production and extortion. Dissidents from the FARC's 1st Front, which has deep links to the illicit drug trade, have already announced their intention to not demobilize. 

Colombian security forces recently told InSight Crime that the rate of dissidence within FARC ranks could be as high as 49 percent. To compare, past demobilization processes with the Popular Liberation Army (Ejército Popular de Liberación - EPL) rebels and the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia - AUC) saw a non-adherence rate of around 20 percent. In both cases, splinter groups consolidated into powerful criminal factions that remain heavily involved in the drug trade, providing a worrying precedent that could be surpassed in the case of the FARC.

Investigations

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Prev Next

Homicides in Guatemala: Conclusions and Recommendations

Homicides in Guatemala: Conclusions and Recommendations

Olfato. It is a term used quite often in law enforcement and judicial circles in Central America (and other parts of the world as well). It refers to the sixth sense they have as they see a crime scene, investigate a murder or plow through the paperwork...

Reign of the Kaibil: Guatemala’s Prisons Under Byron Lima

Reign of the Kaibil: Guatemala’s Prisons Under Byron Lima

Following Guatemala's long and brutal civil war, members of the military were charged, faced trial and sentenced to jail time. Even some members of a powerful elite unit known as the Kaibil were put behind bars. Among these prisoners, none were more emblematic than Captain Byron Lima...

'MS13 Members Imprisoned in El Salvador Can Direct the Gang in the US'

'MS13 Members Imprisoned in El Salvador Can Direct the Gang in the US'

Special Agent David LeValley headed the criminal division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) Washington office until last November 8. While in office, he witnessed the rise of the MS13, the Barrio 18 (18th Street) and other smaller gangs in the District of Columbia as well...

El Salvador Prisons and the Battle for the MS13’s Soul

El Salvador Prisons and the Battle for the MS13’s Soul

El Salvador's prison system is the headquarters of the country's largest gangs. It is also where one of these gangs, the MS13, is fighting amongst itself for control of the organization.

Homicides in Guatemala: Collecting the Data

Homicides in Guatemala: Collecting the Data

When someone is murdered in Guatemala, police, forensic doctors and government prosecutors start making their way to the crime scene and a creaky, antiquated 20th century bureaucratic machine kicks into gear. Calls are made. Forms are filled out by hand, or typed into computers, or both. Some...

The Prison Dilemma: Latin America’s Incubators of Organized Crime

The Prison Dilemma: Latin America’s Incubators of Organized Crime

The prison system in Latin America and the Caribbean has become a prime incubator for organized crime. This overview -- the first of six reports on prison systems that we produced after a year-long investigation -- traces the origins and maps the consequences of the problem, including...

How the MS13 Got Its Foothold in Transnational Drug Trafficking

How the MS13 Got Its Foothold in Transnational Drug Trafficking

Throughout the continent, the debate on whether or not the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) gang is working with or for drug traffickers continues. In this investigation, journalist Carlos García tells the story of how a member of the MS13 entered the methamphetamine distribution business under the powerful auspices...

The Lucky ‘Kingpin’: How ‘Chepe Diablo’ Has (So Far) Ridiculed Justice

The Lucky ‘Kingpin’: How ‘Chepe Diablo’ Has (So Far) Ridiculed Justice

José Adán Salazar Umaña is the only Salvadoran citizen currently on the US government's Kingpin List. But in his defense, Salazar Umaña claims is he is an honorable businessman who started his career by exchanging money along the borders between Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. He does...

The MS13 Moves (Again) to Expand on US East Coast

The MS13 Moves (Again) to Expand on US East Coast

Local police and justice officials are convinced that the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) has strengthened its presence along the East Coast of the United States. The alarm follows a recent spate of violence -- of the type not seen in a decade -- which included dismembered bodies and...

Where Chaos Reigns: Inside the San Pedro Sula Prison

Where Chaos Reigns: Inside the San Pedro Sula Prison

In San Pedro Sula's jailhouse, chaos reigns. The inmates, trapped in their collective misery, battle for control over every inch of their tight quarters. Farm animals and guard dogs roam free and feed off scraps, which can include a human heart. Every day is visitors' day, and...