A Fight by Other Means: Keeping the Peace with Colombia’s FARC: Latin America Report N°92 | 30 November 2021

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Principal Findings

What’s new? Five years after the FARC laid down its arms, economic challenges and security threats cast a shadow over ex-combatants’ lives. Rural reforms have stalled, the ex-guerrillas’ political party has struggled to find its footing, and dissident fighters are taking control of criminal rackets and rural locales throughout Colombia.

Why does it matter? Setbacks to reforms, former guerrillas’ stigmatisation and the murders of hundreds of ex-FARC discredit the 2016 peace deal in the countryside. New armed actors are exploiting economic despair. The accord’s travails could fuel dissident recruiting and make it harder for the state to make peace with emerging armed groups.

What should be done? Colombia’s government should do more to bolster rural development and economic opportunities for ex-guerrillas, while ensuring they can safely participate in politics. Colombian forces should focus on protecting civilians rather than merely confronting dissident groups. The U.S. should carry through plans to lift its terrorist designation of the demobilised FARC.