The map of the escalation of the conflict in Colombia, according to Cerac

The map of the escalation of the conflict in Colombia, according to Cerac
The map of the escalation of the conflict in Colombia, according to Cerac

There has also been some escalation in Norte de Santander. I would say that those are the areas where the conflict has escalated.

A very important one is the north of Huila and the south of Tolima, where there has also been a recent significant escalation of violence. It is an escalation that is mainly due to the Clan del Golfo and groups of deserters and repeat offenders from the FARC.

ENS: What other departments are on alert?

JR: Now, there is a permanent alert situation in Arauca. There are other regions where, even if the conflict has not escalated or even de-escalated, it does not mean that they are not on alert or at risk.

Departments such as Arauca, the Catatumbo region, the area between Chocó and Risaralda, where the ELN operates; The Pacific platform of Nariño, other regions in Antioquia and the area south of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, are, in my opinion, regions in which one has to be very alert because they are regions in which important armed groups and groups operate. organized criminals, who have the potential to generate these risk situations.

In many of these regions there has been a reduction in violence, both in confrontation with the Public Force and in the armed groups themselves.

In the first case, due to the bilateral ceasefire with the ELN, which has had the effect of reducing the armed confrontation between the State and these groups, particularly in Arauca, Chocó and Risaralda.

But also, to the event of reduction of violence in the case of Catatumbo, between groups of FARC dissidents and deserters.

ENS: He talks about a de-escalation in some regions of the country, but specific attacks have been seen in some areas such as Jamundí in Valle del Cauca and Popayán in Cauca, which have been the most recent, what is happening there?

JR: The dissidents are groups that have not managed to have an umbrella to organize them. They are groups that do not have command structures or common purposes or similar tactical content.

They are very diverse groups and many of them confront each other. There are several disputes, for example, in Cauca and Nariño, also in Meta and Guaviare.

The last thing I would say is that these groups are defeated by internal violence. They also use violence to resolve disputes over income derived from organized crime.

Total peace

ENS: In view of the latest attacks and threats by illegal armed groups, in the midst of the Government’s peace discussions with the ELN and dissidents, do you think that total peace policies have served any purpose?

JR: With the ELN there is the continuation of a dialogue. He would not attribute a policy of total peace to that. It is a dialogue that began in the government of President Juan Manuel Santos.

So, I would not attribute any of the benefits to this policy of total peace, because there is no such policy either. Having said that, I would find nothing but a very marginal benefit from President Petro’s total peace initiative, in the case of some FARC dissident groups, particularly in the Catatumbo region.

Perhaps a marginal benefit in the Arauca area. But it must be said that, in both regions, the threat of risk due to insecurity persists; that is, it is not a definitive improvement or permanent change in the security situation that one can say was positive.

I do not find that there have been political benefits, but it has generated a very inconvenient strengthening of some of these groups, particularly in Cauca, between Huila and Tolima. Additionally, in eastern Colombia, in Caquetá, southern Meta, Putumayo and Guaviare.

ENS: From your point of view, what should be the Government’s strategies to reduce attacks by guerrillas?

JR: Firstly, a strengthening of judicial actions against these groups, in coordination with the Attorney General’s Office. Secondly, make some important changes in the ways of operating the Public Force, particularly the Military Forces, but also the Police in those regions where they operate in their groups. A security complement is needed to this total peace initiative.

ENS: There are those who claim that the Government reduced the strength and authority of the Public Force to combat illegals, has this been the case?

JR: I do not think that’s true. This is a very different security threat, which, as we saw in the case of Jamundí in recent days, resorts to open terrorism.

It is a security threat from unstructured organizations that has a very negative effect on the security of communities, particularly community leaders.

In addition, it directly affects the peace process with the extinct FARC. It is the main security risk today for the peace signatories and for the transition towards post-conflict in the regions where the FARC operated.

It is not a problem of the Public Force, but of the absence of a security policy and of forceful action by the Prosecutor’s Office to dismantle those criminal structures that are putting peace at risk.

ENS: What are Cerac’s warnings regarding confinements and displacements caused by violence?

JR: I would say that the most serious thing is the situation that occurs in the Colombian Pacific and in Chocó. I would say that also in some regions of Bajo Cauca, Antioquia in terms of massive displacements and confinements due to situations of insecurity caused by clashes between the different armed groups that we just mentioned.

Displacement today is no longer a phenomenon that is caused by clashes between the Public Force and armed groups. It is due to clashes between armed groups.

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