Written by Daniel Edgar exclusively for SouthFront
A couple of months ago I wrote a short article for South Front (“Colombia: Security in remote and regional areas following the FARC’s demobilization”) noting that many if not almost all areas previously occupied by the FARC faced the imminent risk of falling under the control of other illegal armed groups of various types (or being subject to high levels of ‘disorganized crime’ and associated violence and conflict).
A recent report by a widely respected Colombian research foundation (“Cómo Va La Paz” – “How is the Peace (Process) Going”, published by Fundación Paz y Reconciliación in July 2017) provides a preliminary analysis of how the demobilization of the FARC has affected the security situation in areas where the insurgent group had maintained a significant presence if not effective territorial (and social) control (‘Post-FARC Zones’). (The report also contains sections reviewing other aspects of the implementation of the peace agreement between the Colombian Government and the FARC including the UN-supervised process for surrendering weapons, the enactment of several packages of legislation by the National Congress intended to enable implementation of particular components of the peace agreement, and the failure to significantly reduce the number of politically and/ or economically motivated selective assassinations being perpetrated against civil society leaders and human rights defenders.)
The report identifies five basic typologies to describe how the security situation has developed in areas previously occupied by the FARC: zones in which the ELN (the last remaining major armed insurgent group) has expanded its presence; zones in which Organized Armed Groups have expanded their presence; zones in which dissident FARC members continue to operate; zones of criminal anarchy; zones in the process of consolidation of State territorial presence. In practice these typologies are not necessarily mutually exclusive, as in many cases two or more of the phenomena identified are occurring simultaneously.
(‘Post-FARC Zones’ are defined in the report as “all of the territories where the FARC operated politically and militarily, and where they had a stable presence including significant involvement in social and economic relations.” ‘Organized Armed Groups’ are defined as “those armed groups that possess a command or leadership structure and that have the capacity to realize concerted military actions in a given territory.” ‘Criminal anarchy’ refers “to situations of an absence of authority in which the indicators of insecurity have increased, although not accompanied by a substantial increase in the levels of violence, and in which there is no criminal organization that controls the territory.” ‘Social leaders’ are defined as “men and women associated with the peace process, the defence of human rights and the rights of victims of the armed conflict”.)
The following is a translation of the sections of the report reviewing key developments affecting security and territorial control in the Post-FARC Zones. The complete report in Spanish is available at:
[p.6] In synthesis, seven primary conclusions can be drawn from the report.
- The most compelling fact of the period studied is the finalization of the process of surrendering weapons that were under the individual control of FARC members [a substantial number of collective weapons storage sites in remote areas remain to be decommissioned]…
- The evaluation of the bilateral ceasefire is overwhelmingly positive…
- Nonetheless, although a fall was apparent in various indicators of levels of violence up until the end of 2016, it is now certain that the zones where the FARC used to operate have begun to be occupied by criminal organizations, the guerrillas of the ELN, or simply present a situation of criminal anarchy. This has raised the level of homicidal violence in some municipalities, for example, Tumaco in the province of Nariño.
The structures of the FARC operated in 242 municipalities. It was hoped that these spaces would be occupied by State institutions, however, in many cases other illegal structures [armed groups] have been moving into these territories. These regions have been called post-FARC zones, and they have been classified in 5 types of territories: (i) Zones where the ELN have consolidated their presence or recently expanded into the territory (12 municipalities); (ii) Zones where Organized Armed Groups (henceforth OAG) have consolidated their presence or recently expanded into the territory (74 municipalities, 18 of which have been the product of expansion due to the FARC’s demobilization); (iii) Zones occupied by ‘dissident’ FARC elements (16 municipalities); (iv) Zones of criminal anarchy; (v) Zones in the process of consolidation by State institutions.
There are several elements in particular that characterize these territories. The expansion of OAGs has occurred in zones where there are lucrative illegal economies, such as illegal mining and [p.7] illicit crop production. The expansion strategy of the Gulf Clan [currently the largest of the known Organized Armed Groups, also referred to as the Usaga Clan] contains as a key aspect the subordination of smaller groups, groups that operate at the local level but that lack the armed and economic capacity to maintain independent control over a region. The Usaga Clan controls these smaller structures by way of a variety of ‘franchise’ arrangements. This permits the expansion of the criminal structures in different regions without producing a substantial increase in the levels of violence as there are no confrontations between competing groups. Rather, violence is used in a selective manner, leading to the high levels of victimization against social leaders.
In the information collected by the Foundation Peace & Reconciliation it is stated that there is only one dissident FARC group as such. This group is forming in the south of the country, more specifically in the provinces of Guainía, Vaupés, Guaviare, Meta and Caquetá. It is presumed that it consists of around 310 men. Generally its relations with the communities in the region are not hostile, it has been mobilizing militarily and politically. The other expressions of dissident FARC members operating in other areas can more appropriately be considered as groups of deserters whose only purpose is to secure control over illegal revenues taking advantage of the power vacuum left by the FARC. In any case these groups of deserters cause a high level of victims in the zones where they operate.
In other territories it appears that the exit of the guerrillas generated a species of augmentation in criminal activity, that is to say, insecurity has increased following the FARC’s departure featuring activities such as the theft of livestock, attacks on public roads, and personal disputes that end in violence. This means that organized crime as such is not involved, but that common delinquency has begun to increase. The ELN, for its part, is occupying some areas left by the FARC in the provinces of Arauca, Norte de Santander and Chocó. It is hoped that to the extent that the peace process with this guerrilla group advances and a bilateral ceasefire and cessation of hostilities established, the indices of violence could decline substantially.
To confront the distinct processes of reconfiguration of criminality, it is essential that State institutions and the promises of the Peace Accord can be territorialized and their implementation serve as a shield against the efforts of criminal organizations to expand. It is important to keep in mind that the surrendering of arms and reincorporation of the ex-combatants into civilian life isn’t the only focal point and basis of the peace process. The Accord is much more than that, it is an opportunity to transform the conditions of exclusion and oblivion of rural and remote Colombia, open spaces of democratic aperture and organize the construction of testimonies and accounts that contribute to the clarification of the truth. The progress made with respect to these three elements will strengthen efforts to counter the expansion of criminal organizations and signify the construction of State institutions from the local level.
- The situation of vulnerability faced by civil society leaders and human rights defenders in Colombia continues to be critical. The instances of violence perpetrated against this sector of society demonstrate a high degree of systematic execution. The motivations behind these actions are directed to limiting the participation of civil society leaders in politics, and obstructing the processes of construction of the truth, restitution of land and defence of the environment… [p.8]
- The majority of laws and decrees promulgated up to now favour the direct actors in the conflict [the Armed Forces and the FARC]. The process of concentration [as the FARC guerrillas demobilized and relocated to designated encampments] and surrendering of arms influenced the rapidity with which the National Congress enacted the legislation that would give juridical security and stability to the ex-combatants. The laws of amnesty, Special Peace Jurisdiction [a judicial process created to hear and determine cases involving crimes committed by former combatants], political reincorporation, and peace representatives [delegates selected by the FARC that are authorized to attend sessions in the National Congress related to implementation of the Peace Accord – they may participate in debates but do not have voting rights] are specifically directed to favouring the central actors of the armed conflict. Other measures intended to address the structural causes of the armed conflict – such as the promulgation of decrees containing plans for rural electrification, housing and education, as well as the statute of opposition [authorizing a series of measures to enable the transition of the FARC into a legally incorporated and recognized political party] – remain to be resolved…
The decision of the Constitutional Court with respect to legislative Act No. 1 of 2016 provides the members of the National Congress with the possibility of making modifications to the terms of the Peace Accord, and in the most recent debate on the Special Electoral Provisions for Peace it was apparent that the political parties can delay and even sink the laws in order to pressure the Government and prepare their political campaigns for the national elections to be held in 2018…
- Institutional advances are beginning to be seen in terms of security. Both the Armed Forces and the National Police have been implementing a strategy of deployment in the post-FARC zones [as well as structural reforms intended to adapt the institutions and capabilities of the armed forces to the evolving conditions and demands of the altered security environment in the country… One such structural reform is the creation of a new unit within the National Police consisting of 1000 members charged with the task of] combatting the manifestations of [politically and economically motivated] violence and dismantling the criminal organizations responsible for homicides and massacres or threats and attacks against human rights defenders and social and political leaders.
[Nonetheless, the recent structural and operational modifications and additional deployments] have barely begun to be implemented and therefore have not yet resulted in a significant reduction in the levels of criminal activity in many rural and remote areas…
- The Havana Accords can be divided into two categories of activities. Around 10% of the provisions are related directly to the actors in the war [the Armed Forces and the FARC], the other 90% benefit the society in general. Until now most measures taken pertain to the aforementioned 10% of provisions. With respect to the remaining 90%, which establish the programs, plans and actions intended to overcome the structural causes and conditions of the armed conflict and violence, much remains to be done in terms of the development of rigorous and coordinated measures to turn the expectations of transformation into concrete public policies and actions…
[p.19] Post-FARC Zones
The FARC had a historical presence in 242 of the 1,122 municipalities in Colombia, that is to say, in around 22% of the municipalities [with approximately 6,800 members bearing arms at the moment of demobilization]. With the passage of the troops to the 26 designated encampments for the process of the surrendering of arms and reincorporation into civilian life, the insurgent group abandoned more than 98% of the territory that they occupied.
Although the reduction of violent acts, homicides and forced displacement of inhabitants is undeniable in various parts of the country where previously armed confrontations were a part of everyday life, eight months from the signing of the final Peace Accord the panorama is not very encouraging. The departure of the FARC from the areas where they exercised territorial control and acted as authorities in military, political, social and economic matters has left many territories in a ‘power vacuum’.
The FARC in these zones had two faces: one predatory, based on extortion, recruitment and attacks against civilians and their properties and possessions; the other, little known, was as the principal organizer and regulating agent of social life. It is impossible to think that an armed group could maintain itself exclusively by way of armed coercion for more than 50 years [p.20]; in other words, those parallel systems of justice, together with the resolution of social disputes and conflicts, endowed the FARC in some areas with legitimacy and in many cases the appreciation of the community.
As a consequence of the absence of authority, in many municipalities throughout the country other organized armed groups have occupied or are in the process of occupying the areas vacated by the FARC. Criminal structures that are often descendants of the paramilitary groups have increased their range of activities and established a presence in places where it had not been possible to operate before. The increase in ‘criminal anarchy’ is also apparent in areas where the FARC had a significant presence and, in general, many of the spaces which in theory should be occupied by State institutions are being reconfigured by the exercise of violence as the principal mechanism of coercion by the aforementioned criminal groups.
In the context of this complex panorama, the Foundation of Peace & Reconciliation has been investigating the developing situation in the territories where it has regional networks in place or relations of solidarity with other organizations. In this sense, we must acknowledge the limitations and difficulties that impede the Foundation from conducting a case by case analysis in all of the 281 municipalities that have been prioritized for post-conflict reconstruction and consolidation. Of course, these limitations have to do with questions of logistics and resources.
Notwithstanding the difficulties and dangers, in some of the regions most affected by the armed conflict we have been closely following the evolving security situation throughout the territories as manifested in the presence and dynamic of armed groups and the perceptions that residents in each area have about the phenomena of criminality and violence.
As a part of its effort to interpret the reality of what is occurring around the country, the Foundation has constructed a system of categorization, based on a number of basic typologies, as an interpretative guide reflecting the manifestation of distinct phenomena in the areas from which the FARC have departed and which have been denominated Post-FARC Zones. The five types of zones and phenomena are:
- Zones experiencing occupation by or an expansion of the ELN.
- Zones experiencing occupation by or an expansion of Organized Armed Groups.
- Zones experiencing the presence of ‘dissident groups’ of the FARC.
- Zones experiencing criminal anarchy.
- Zones in the process of consolidation by State institutions.
Zones experiencing occupation by or an expansion of the ELN
The Zones occupied by the ELN represent those territories in which the guerrilla group has had a historical presence and exercised territorial control, in some cases by the use or threat of arms and, in others, by a combination of legitimacy and authority supported by the use of force. This is the case in the provinces of Arauca and Santander.
Nonetheless, there is recognition of the expansion of the ELN in some territories traditionally dominated by the FARC. The phenomena that are taking place in some municipalities of the province of Antioquia, in Tumaco, some municipalities of Choco and Cauca, is evidence of this expansion that, according to local sources, is not very significant in [p.21] numerical terms. Nonetheless, it is capable of putting at risk communities in these areas due to confrontations with other armed groups and the National Army.
In the south of Choco, for example, the armed clashes between the ELN and the Gulf Clan (Clan del Golfo) for territorial control have set in motion a disturbing situation of vulnerability and grave violations of human rights, among them forced displacements [of residents and in some cases entire communities] and homicides. In summary, the ELN has been reaffirming its domination in the areas where it has traditionally had a strong presence. At the same time, there appear to be plans for the expansion of their territorial presence, by way of militias, which could obey either of two principal factors:
- The first of these factors is taking advantage of the social base that the FARC had in some territories in order to integrate them into their political project in terms of reiterating the legitimacy of the advances that have been made at the table of dialogues in Quito, Ecuador.
- The second factor is taking advantage of the FARC’s social base as a defensive guard in their war strategies, which would signify the perpetuation of the armed conflict and the guerrilla struggle for power.
Additionally, the strategy of the ELN has been to prevent other armed groups from occupying territories where they have a significant presence, which translates into the ability to offer security to the inhabitants and, in turn, to appropriate resources and other sources of illegal revenue in occupied territories. This guerrilla group is preparing for war as well as for peace.
The ELN has a significant presence in 49 post-FARC municipalities. Following the FARC’s departure from these territories, the ELN has been consolidating its position as the dominant actor. In addition to this, it has expanded into 12 municipalities in which its presence had not previously been registered on a significant scale. [p.21]
Zones experiencing occupation by or an expansion of Organized Armed Groups
The zones experiencing occupation by or an expansion of Organized Armed Groups (OAGs) are those in which these groups have had an ‘historic’ presence or into which they are undergoing expansion, or proliferation, taking advantage of the redeployment of the FARC to the 26 transition points and zones.
With the departure of the FARC from the equation of the armed conflict the OAGs have multiplied; one could say that they are ‘fishing in troubled waters’ with the objective of appropriating illegal sources of revenue throughout the national territory. Notwithstanding the proliferation of such organizations, often in the form of diffuse structures and alliances, the Gulf Clan remains the largest and most powerful criminal structure in the country at this time. It has developed three fundamental strategies which are pursued concurrently in order to achieve the objective of territorial expansion. The first of these is the sale of territorial ‘franchises’, that is to say, such expansion has been achieved by selling the right to exercise territorial control in particular areas to other armed groups instead of by the recruitment and deployment of armed contingents and open confrontation with other groups. This has been the case in Bajo Cauca in the province of Antioquia.
The second strategy is the traditional form of expansion by way of armed confrontation with other illegal armed groups, an open war for territorial control. This has been the case in the south of the province of Choco, where there is an open armed confrontation with the ELN. It is also the case in the municipality of Segovia (in northeast Antioquia), where the Gulf Clan finds itself in open conflict with another OAG (‘La Nueva Generación’).
The third strategy is the recruitment of youths by offering salaries that vary between 1,200,000 – 1,800,000 pesos [approximately US$400 – $600] to ‘organize’ common delinquency and create groups to do the ‘dirty work’. This is what has been occurring in Buenaventura. According to local sources, the Gulf Clan is trying to strengthen its organization and consolidate its position with the purpose of pressuring the National Government to enter into negotiations with the group [presumably involving some form of demobilization, amnesty and reintegration into society]. ‘Plan Pistol’ [involving the assassination of members of the National Police throughout Colombia] would be a manifestation of this strategy.
Of the 242 municipalities in which the FARC had a significant presence, 74 are occupied by OAGs. Of these 74 municipalities, 18 are the product of expansion due to the redeployment of the FARC, that is to say, the expansion into 18 municipalities occurred after the 24th of November 2016. [p.23]
Zones experiencing the presence of ‘dissident groups’ of the FARC
The zones experiencing the presence of ‘dissident groups’ of the FARC are those in which there is knowledge of the presence of former FARC members, particularly mid-level commanders, that didn’t want to join the peace process with the National Government. In this respect, members of several fronts want to keep their structures in operation with the exclusive objective of maintaining control over illegal sources of revenue in the territory, with the exception of Front 1.
The only Front that declared its dissidence was the First Front ‘Armando Ríos’; the decision was announced on the 10th of June 2016. The text affirmed that they would not demobilize due, among other reasons, to their conviction that the Colombian State would not resolve the structural causes of the conflict nor would it negotiate the economic model.
For its part, the High Command of the FARC-EP (‘Estado Mayor del Bloque Comandante Jorge Briceño’) released a public statement in response on the 8th of July 2016 in which it rejected the ‘supposed’ political motives expressed by the ‘dissident group’. [p.24] The communique stated:
“The sector of commanders and combatants of the First Front that decided to renounce their principles appeal to ideological and political arguments in order to hide the evident influence of economic interests opposed to the termination of the conflict. The commanders implicated misrepresented the nature and objectives of the terms of the Peace Accord to base members of the Front.”
In addition, the FARC leadership declared that the FARC don’t recognize dissidents, that is to say, they are considered deserters, and suggested that they change the name of the group and establish their own path and identity:
“If the commanders and combatants involve have the desire to launch themselves on an uncertain adventure, they must do so taking a distinct name to that of the legitimate structures of the FARC-EP. In this way they would no longer create confusion in the public opinion and facilitate the generation of disingenuous pretexts that are exploited by extreme sectors interested in the continuation of the war.”
The members of the First Front that released the public communique are currently operating in several territories distributed around four Colombian provinces: Meta, Guaviare, Vichada and Vaupés. According to local sources, the First Front has been recruiting members by way of offering money, arms and security guarantees to people undergoing the process of reintegration in the designated transitional zone of San Jose del Guaviare, which could be considered an act of sabotage against the implementation of the Peace Accord of Havana.
It is said that this armed structure could have as many as 400 members, 310 of which are dissidents, the rest being new recruits. Under the command of Nestor Gregorio Vera Fernandez, alias ‘Ivan Mordisco’, the group has reportedly been carrying out acts of extortion, kidnapping, and controlling the production of coca paste.
At the same time, it has become known that Front 7 ‘Gentil Duarte’ has joined the dissident group’s structure. Some of its members are Indigenous or youths. Their relations with the community generally are not hostile; it appears that they have been mobilizing politically, for which reason they could be considered the only dissident group of the FARC.
For its part, the Colombian Armed Forces locate the dissident groups of Front 7 and Front 1 in the provinces of Caqueta, Meta, Guaviare, Guainia and Vaupes. According to the Military Forces the groups consist of approximately 310 members and their activities pertain to controlling the chain of production of illicit drugs. [p.25]
The National Armed Forces have identified the presence of these groups in three zones in accordance with their principal leadership structures. While the mass media has been presenting an alarming picture of the number of FARC ‘dissidents’ that have refused to participate in the process of demobilization, disarmament and reintegration, what appears to be certain is that in the rest of the country (particularly in the localities of Antioquia, Buenaventura, Tumaco, Huila and Cauca) FARC deserters have appeared and are forming small OAGs or joining existing groups. In some cases, they present themselves as members of the Gulf Clan, in other cases as ‘dissidents’, in order to generate a species of continuity that enables them to maintain control over illegal revenues.
There are also reports that a small group of FARC deserters from Front 17 under the command of alias ‘Benjamin’ are involved in activities of extortion in the rural area of Vegalarga (in the municipality of Neiva, Huila).
There are also reports of the presence of deserters of Front 14 of the FARC in the province of Caqueta that are operating as an armed group in the territories of Cartagena del Chaira and San Vicente del Caguan. The members of Front 14 that didn’t take part in the peace process never declared themselves as dissidents, nor have they stated the reasons for their refusal to demobilize and disarm. In this sense, their actions have been limited to delinquent activities.
In the municipality of Tumaco, in the province of Nariño, the situation has been complex. During the strong armed confrontation between the Gulf Clan and the FARC, which peaked in 2012 (during this period the Colombian Institute of Legal Medicine registered 262 homicides, while the Victims Unit registered 161 homicides in the course of the armed conflict), the guerrilla group won the war and consolidated its position as the dominant armed group. The members of the armed militias that remained ‘at large’, belonging to diverse criminal structures, as well as other youths that couldn’t find other means of sustenance due to the precarious education and labour conditions that prevail in the port town located on the Pacific coast, converted themselves into militias at the service of the FARC. Nonetheless, although the community recognized them as FARC members (and the militia members considered themselves as such), there was no linkage of an ideological nature between the FARC and these groups.
In the moment in which the armed column ‘Daniel Aldana’ [a military structure of the FARC] began the process of concentration in mid-2016, the group decided not to participate in the process of demobilization and disarmament. For its part, the FARC didn’t recognize them as members of the guerrilla group. The group was under the command of alias ‘Don Y’ at the time and reconstituted itself as the Organized Armed Group ‘Gente de Orden’.
‘Don Y’ was assassinated in November 2016, presumably by members of the armed column ‘Daniel Aldana’, and command of the group passed to his brother. On the 5th of January 2017 a letter appeared directed to the mayor of Tumaco, Emilsen Angulo, in which ‘youth militants of the FARC-EP’ requested that they be taken into account in the process of disarmament and reincorporation into civilian life. They explained that they had not previously participated in the process due to ‘doubts and fear’. They also stated that they were being treated as delinquents for crimes committed by a small group of people.
On the 27th of March of this year 117 members of the OAG ‘Gente de Orden’ demobilized in an individual manner; approximately 150 members of the group are still operating in the region. It appears that a new OAG denominated ‘Guerrillas Unidas del Pacifico’, comprising youths that have been passing between criminal structures in the area, has been using the euphemism ‘guerrillas’ to refer to themselves in an effort to give the criminal structure a veneer of legitimacy. [p.26]
There are reports of the presence of FARC deserters in at least 16 municipalities throughout the country. Nonetheless, the only existing dissident group is located in the provinces of Guainia, Vaupes, Guaviare and Meta, composed of members of Fronts 1 and 7 as well as new members that have recently joined the armed group. [p.27]
Zones experiencing criminal anarchy
Zones that have been categorized as ‘experiencing criminal anarchy’ consist of those territories in which there is a widespread perception of insecurity associated with an increase in delinquency of an unorganized nature due to the ‘power vacuum’ that resulted from the FARC’s departure. In this respect it is necessary to add that in those territories in which the FARC exercised a role as regulating agent of social relations, it also acted as a regulator of delinquent acts.
The principal Zones of Criminal Anarchy are to be found in the south of Tolima, Arauca, Caqueta and Meta, manifesting as areas where there is a perception of increased instances of insecurity, extortion and theft. [p.28]
[Nonetheless, there is great heterogeneity in prevailing conditions and the changes that have occurred in each of these zones. For instance, in some of the zones the number of homicides has decreased.] Particularly in municipalities in which the FARC had a significant presence and where other armed groups also operated there has been a decrease in the number of homicides reported. However, with the departure of the FARC the other armed group present in the area has consolidated its control over the territory, which suggests a reduction in the need for strategies of armed confrontation.
In Santander de Quilichao and Tulua there has been a marked increase in institutional capacity in the region, whether due to the presence of municipal government human rights officials, the National Ombudsman’s Office, or as a result of improved local access to paved roads. This has enabled the State to arrive more rapidly, albeit often in a sporadic manner. Also, there is a transitional zone [for demobilized FARC guerrillas] very close to Santander de Quilichao, which means that the public forces have a constant presence.
In Bagre, the members of the Gulf Clan are a remnant of what was the EPL [a demobilized insurgent group] that has contact with the social base of the FARC. In Zaragoza, alias ‘Carnitas’ was a FARC guerrilla, facilitating a rapid and relatively easy takeover of the area. Also, in northeast Antioquia a non-aggression pact was in place between the FARC and the ELN, and the takeover of territorial control was quite rapid and non-violent.
However, the number of homicides in Tumaco has increased drastically, especially in the rural zone. Territories in which there has been confrontation between rival armed groups have been most affected by the violence. In the case of Puerto Guzman in the province of Putumayo, there has been a substantial increase in the level of criminal anarchy associated with local disputes and common delinquency. At least 40 municipalities are known to have experienced a substantial increase in criminal anarchy. Nonetheless, in 16 of these the situation is more complex. This phenomenon has tended to proliferate in zones where the Colombian State has not adopted integrated measures to address the situation. [p.30]
Zones in the process of consolidation by State institutions
Zones in the process of consolidation by State institutions are defined as those territories which had previously been occupied by the FARC or by criminal groups, in which State institutions are trying to establish territorial control and construct an effective and permanent presence. In particular, we have analysed the attempts of recuperation and consolidation by the State in terms of security and justice.
These efforts by the State have been the subject of debate, particularly since the Minister of Defence (Luis Carlos Villegas) held a press conference on the 17th of May 2017 in which he rejected the affirmations of many analysts concerning the deficient institutional response for the post-conflict era. In addition, the minister refuted the indicators of increased violence in some areas with partial statistics that do not give an accurate representation of the reality that the country is going through.
It is essential that the State institutions combine and strengthen their efforts to mitigate and combat the new phenomena of violence and criminality, instead of resorting to the denial of evident facts…
The number of homicides have generally increased in the post-FARC zones that are predominantly rural. This has been verified by information from these localities collected by Fundación Paz y Reconciliación since the signing of the final Peace Accord. At the same time, the State has been undertaking a series of initiatives which are largely kept invisible due to the continual challenges confronting implementation of the Accord. For example, in some post-FARC municipalities the number of homicides has fallen; that is to say, the increase in violence and criminality has not been a universal phenomenon…”