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  • Colombia and the European Union as key partners for peace. Successes and shortcomings of the EU peacebuilding strategy in Colombia in the post-conflict scenario

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Produktart: Buch
Verlag: Diplomica Verlag
Erscheinungsdatum: 12.2021
AuflagenNr.: 1
Seiten: 76
Abb.: 3
Sprache: Englisch
Einband: Paperback


Colombia’s long path towards peace was marked by the signing of a peace agreement in 2016 that was supposed to officially put an end to the longest-running conflict in modern Latin America. Even after more than four years, violence continues to plague the country. Although the conflict’s origin is complex and multicausal, some of its root causes, such as socioeconomic inequality, limited political participation and the state’s absence in several regions, remain unsettled. Since the effects of this conflict’s prolongation go far beyond Colombian national borders, the international community has been morally obliged to cooperate with the national government to support the building of sustainable peace in the country by helping to tackle some of the structural causes of the conflict. Specifically, The European Trust Fund for Colombia (EUTF for Colombia) – established in December 2016 – embodies the EU’s aim to contribute to sustainable development in the long run. The following study attempts to examine the EU peacebuilding strategy in Colombia in the aftermath of the conflict.


Textprobe: Kapitel 4.1 Historical background and course of the Colombian internal armed conflict: Colombian internal armed conflict has its roots in a broad range of structural factors, which summed up together have resulted in one of the most violent and longstanding conflicts around the globe. At the same time, its prolongation over several decades has a multicausal nature. Even though many additional components have fueled sociopolitical violence in the territory – like is the case of drug trafficking (cf. Bello Montes 2008: 79f) – the most decisive root causes of the conflict can be traced back to the i) State’s weakness and its failure at being present throughout the whole Colombian territory ii) the socioeconomic inequality, reflected in the asymmetrical possession of land and the lacking access to basic services on the part of a vast number of Colombians (cf. Ioannides 2019: 2) and iii) the limited political participation of many societal segments, which has aggravated political polarization (cf. Bello Montes 2008: 76). Bearing in mind that these, and other factors are deeply interconnected, the interplay of such has turned the Colombian territory into the battleground for a complex and multifaceted dispute, bringing together various, predominantly antagonist actors. The State, leftist guerrillas, right-wing paramilitary groups, drug cartels as well as criminal bands and organizations, have thus far been responsible for a violenct outbreak that has affected primarily Colombian civil society and has massively deteriorated social fabric and trust towards the authorities (cf. Ioannides 2019: 1). The urban-rural gap, aggravated by the extremely unequal access to land in rural areas, has its roots in the socioeconomic disparities regarding income throughout the territory. The marked institutional vacuum in the rural areas – influenced by Colombia’s geographical constitution – has led not only to a lacking provision of public services and to an insufficient social and political participation, but has also laid the ground for the origin and strengthening of insurgent groups aiming to fill the government’s gap (cf. Ioannides 2019: 2). Uneven land’s possession land has, however, manifested more notably due to the non-inclusive political system (cf. Grasa 2020: 3). Political polarization dates back from the 1920s, distinguished by the clash between the Conservative and the Liberal parties (cf. Castilla 2018: 3). The ideological dichotomy that shaped the political landscape at the time was further accentuated when the Colombian Communist Party (PCC) came into play in the 1940s.18 The late 1940s are widely considered as the key historical – denominated La Violencia – that continued to plague the country for decades (cf. Bello Montes 2008: 76). Within this context, rural areas turned into the main scene of a deep-rooted enmity that led to a death toll of 180.000 Colombians until 196519 (cf. UNDP 2003: 25). Aiming to put an end to the rivalry between Liberals and Conservatives, the National Front (1958-1974) agreed to alternate the power between both parties in the presidency, ensuring equal representation on all executive and legislative bodies and ministerial posts (cf. Acevedo Tarazona 2015: 28 32). The political exclusion of third parties associated therewith is considered as a decisive factor in the origin of guerillas and the prolongation of the political violence heretofore. In the 1960s, the first guerrilla groups – that would then turn into one of the main actors in the long-lasting internal armed conflict – began to emerge in the rural areas of the country. (cf. Bello Montes 2008: 76). Albeit both political parties resorted to the formation of armed groups in isolated rural areas to combat its enemy, the liberal guerillas – mainly composed of peasants – allied with the remaining fraction of the PCC, which had been excluded from the political system during the National Front and gave birth to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia- People’s army (FARC- EP) (cf. ibid.: 77). The FARC-EP finds its justification in the deep political conflict during La Violencia, which exacerbated the already existing social inequality, the unequal possession of land and the limited political participation of several segments of Colombian society in the decision-making process (cf. Melamed/Pérez 2017: 139). The emergence of the FARC-EP responded thus to a series of sociopolitical circumstances and got fueled by the spreading ideological influence of the Soviet Communist Party in Latin America (cf. CNMH 2014: 66f). 20 To counterbalance them, right-wing paramilitary groups such as the Chuvalita Police and The Birds – often backed by landowners, wealthy farmers and members of the elites with the State’s complicity (cf. Valencia/Zúñiga 2015: 162f) – emerged to eradicate the liberal guerillas. Thus, organized self-defense groups, under the auspices of the armed forces, were formed through a legislative decree in 1965 (cf. Velásquez Rivera 2007: 137f), turning the systematic combat of guerrillas into a legitimate State’s strategy. These would lead to the formation of the United Self- Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) in 1997 (cf. ibid.: 137f). The lacking presence of the State in isolated rural areas benefited the formation of such groups and partly accounts for the success of illegal crops as well as of other funding strategies like kidnappings, forced disappearances, extortion, and illegal mining, etc. (cf. Valencia/Zúñiga 2015: 161 CNMH 2014: 291). During the 1980s the leftist guerillas became increasingly involved in drug-related criminal activities, which prevailed for decades (cf. Castilla 2018: 3). In parallel, the conflict experienced one of its most acute episodes, shaped by a massive militarization against the drug issue. The AUC would then also become perpetrators of atrocities, and equally responsible for the worsening of the structural causes of the conflict, since rural areas were disproportionally hit by violence and the illegal activities linked to it (cf. Ioannides 2019: 1f). This intensified war against drugs set the beginning of a new era of the conflict. Thus, the first negotiation attempts with the FARC-EP began to take place, however, all of them without any satisfactory outcome (cf. Amortegui Pinzón 2016: 8-12). During the first decade of the 21st century, the government changes its approach, focusing primarily on the weakening of the FARC’s leaders by employing coercive means (cf. Castilla 2018: 4). Under Álvaro Uribe’s administration, the government launched a renewed security strategy denominated the Democratic Security Policy (DSP), welcoming a military offensive against the FARC-EP with the support of the United States (US) (cf. Amortegui Pinzón 2016: 12). While the DSP managed to neutralize some of the FARC-EP’s military advantages and generate euphoria among many Colombians, it introduced a degree of irregularity into the conflict. Between 1996 and 2004, the number of massacres perpetrated by paramilitary groups raised massively, reaching its highest peak in the 2000s (cf. Calderón Rojas 2016: 239). This was followed by an exacerbated use of violence that infringes upon the international humanitarian law and the human rights declaration (cf. Acemoglu et al. 2016: 3).21. In short, the armed conflict has led to more than 230.000 deaths, nearly 32.000 kidnappings, between 80.000 and 100.000 forced disappearances and at least 8 million internal displacements (cf. Grasa 2020: 3 HRW 2021), making Colombia the second country with the largest number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) worldwide by 2019, following Syria (cf. World Bank 2021). That being said, all forms of violence experienced throughout the conflict, have affected unevenly civil society, considering that eight out of ten victims of the conflict have been civilians (cf. CNMH 2013: 32). This disproportional affectation of Colombia’s rurality ended aggravating, even more, the initial urban-rural disparity, since around 60% of the deathly victims were peasants (cf. ibid.: 54). This balance has not only resulted from the emergence of irregular armed groups all through the 20th century, but has been aggravated through the State’s compliance, omission and incapability of combatting the root causes of the conflict. Instead, the Colombian government has been rather prolonging warfare with the introduction of new coercive means.

Über den Autor

Daniela Forero Nuñez, B.A. wurde 1998 in Bogotá, Kolumbien geboren und lebt in Deutschland seit 2017. Ihr Studium der Politikwissenschaft und Geschichte an der Universität Regensburg schloss die Autorin im Jahre 2021 erfolgreich ab. Zurzeit ist sie Masterstudentin im Fach Internationale Studien/Friedens- und Konfliktforschung an der Johann Wolfgang-Goethe-Universität in Frankfurt am Main. Bereits während des Studiums sammelte die Autorin praktische Erfahrungen im Zusammenhang mit der Friedensbildung und der Wahrheitsfindung in Kolumbien. Ihre Tätigkeiten in diesen Bereichen und ihr ehrenamtliches Engagement, um den kolumbianischen Friedensprozess von Deutschland aus zu unterstützen motivierten sie, sich der Thematik des vorliegenden Buches im Detail zu widmen.

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