The pursuit of ‘total peace’ for Colombia

Reasons for caution, even pessimism

A striking feature of the plan for “total peace” and an important cause for caution, and even for pessimism, is that it is extremely ambitious and forms a sub-set of a wider programme of government which is also highly ambitious. There is therefore a real danger of overstretch. As previously mentioned, it took the government of Juan Manuel Santos (2010-2018) more than four years to negotiate a politically difficult peace settlement, with only one armed group, the Farc, which was then followed by another six years (2016-2022) of a difficult and partial implementation process. During the stops and starts of that long drawn out process, levels of violence dipped but then came back up. Although it hasn’t made hard-and-fast promises on the time scale, the new Petro government appears to be aiming to sign peace deals with two major rebel groups, the ELN and the Clan del Golfo/AGC , and a multitude of smaller regional groups including Farc dissidents and various criminal gangs, within a four-year presidential term that runs from 2022 to 2026.

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