Colombia Defence & Security Report Q2 2014
The most significant development regarding Colombia's defence and security situation during Q114 has been the ongoing peace talks between the government of President Juan Manuel Santos, and the left-wing FARC-EP guerrilla movement. However, violence has continued in the background, with a December 2013 attack by the government on a FARC position in central Colombia killing 10 rebels, including a senior commander.
Topics under current discussion are said to include: the FARC-EP's future participation in the democratic process; the issue of compensation being paid to the movement's victims; and any judicial proceedings which could be mounted against the FARC-EP's membership. For its part FARC has put forward proposals for 'regulated' production and cultivation of certain illegal narcotics, fuelling speculation that it is at least partly involved in drugs trafficking.
The issue of drugs continues to elevate Colombia's status as a pivotal strategic location in the Americas. It has recently entered into a join task force with Panama on its northern border, and continues to enjoy a strong defence relationship with the US, which is concerned by criminality and terrorism connected to the drugs trade.
Outstanding issues in 2014 include the procedure for drafting a new Colombian constitution and future judicial proceedings against security force personnel for past human rights abuses. At the domestic level, President Santos is heading into a presidential election campaign against hawkish opposition which would likely end the on-off peace talks with FARC. However, BMI is expecting Santos to retain his position, although it may not be a first-round victory.