Colombia’s Illusive Peace Deal: How FARC Refused to Repay its Victims
The Farc promised to deliver a little more than 5% of its livestock and yet has delivered less than 1% of what was agreed
Spanish – Every peace process has its flaws. In a world where subversive structures coexist with the underworld, it is very likely that once negotiations are over, cells of the former group will appear. This as was the case with the Royal IRA after the peace process in Ireland in the 1990s, resembling more a cartel than a revolutionary movement. Deception, lies, and failure to honor agreements, and even more so those of the financiers, are another matter.
In Colombia’s case, the FARC leadership has failed to comply with these agreements, and there are concerns about their willingness to return to arms, especially with two former members of the negotiating team who are now fugitives from the justice system.
The peace process is expected to cost 130 trillion pesos (about 34.21 billion USD), and the FARC has promised to contribute to this effort with its ill-gotten gains, making it a rare instance of one of the richest criminal organizations in the world contributing to this effort.
— Paola Holguín 🇨🇴 (@PaolaHolguin) May 18, 2020
As Senator Paola Holguín points out, the FARC guerrilla group promised to hand over 25 kilograms of jewelry and 440 kilograms of gold bars. Only 2.5 kilograms of jewelry and 242.4 kilograms of gold have been received- a tiny amount for an organization that has participated in intensive illegal mining in Chocó, Cauca, Bolívar, Norte de Santander, and northwestern Antioquia for years.
Conservative estimates calculated a livestock inventory of approximately 400,000 head of cattle at the time. Despite the estimates, the past administration only demanded a commitment to deliver 24,456 farm animals. The FARC has only delivered 229, worth 137 million pesos. In other words, the FARC promised to deliver a little more than 5% of its livestock and has actually contributed less than 1% of what was originally agreed.
As for real estate, the original commitment was for 722 properties, but only eight have been delivered, seven of which are vacant land. Just as the FARC has livestock, it also has hectares of land. Just seven pieces of land recovered in 2017 by the Attorney General’s Office added up to a total of 1,000,000 hectares. It is still unclear how much land remains in the name of FARC frontmen.
The contribution of this criminal group is meager, although they themselves admit to owning property valued at more than 60 billion pesos. This was made clear in an email sent on August 1, 2012, by former guerrilla and current Senator Carlos Antonio Lozada, where he states the following:
“At present, the Block has no economic reserves in cash. We are living with the resources that are coming in, relying on war material, drugs, etc. That has us working halfway through in many areas. The economic sources of other times no longer exist. We have a capital calculated at 60 billion pesos represented by land and livestock. For this year, we plan to budget for 450 guerrillas in all areas with what this capital produces.”
Although the Colombian state has pledged to compensate the victims, the FARC guerrillas have not paid their debt, and the state seems incapable of enforcing the agreements. At a time when the governments are constrained by the health emergency, and Colombia is committed to the peace agreement, it would certainly not be a bad idea for the FARC to hand over its illegally acquired assets.