Almost a year and a half after the signing of peace between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and the government of Juan Manuel Santos, the issue of dissidences, which had already been seen as a threat to the process during the dialogues in Cuba, shows the power that these groups have gained, their expansion and links with drug trafficking, criminality, forced and aggressive recruitment, in the midst of a controversy over the slow reaction of the regime to control these groups.
The recent murder of three members of a journalistic team of the Ecuadorian newspaper El Comercio and the kidnapping of a couple in the border area between Ecuador and Colombia, where more criminal dissidents operate like the Oliver Sinisterra Front (FOS), led by alias Guacho , in the department of Nariño, are added to a chain of events.
A follow-up by the Ideas for Peace Foundation registered that in the last 21 months there were 147 dissident actions with an increasing trend since mid-2016 and that there were peaks of important armed activity in April and October 2017 and February 2018 According to the study, 5% of those actions occurred in Ecuador.
Guaviare, Nariño, Cauca, Meta and Caquetá, with 83% of the actions executed during the period studied, are the departments most affected.
In Nariño operate several dissident groups, in addition to the FOS is the ELN or Peasant Resistance, among others, which dispute routes or corridors for the operation of drug trafficking, in some cases have achieved social and political control of the communities.
“The Nicaraguan Pacific coast is a zone of civil war, there are twelve groups competing in eleven municipalities metro by metro,” says Ariel Ávila, director of the Peace and Reconciliation Foundation, to canalrcn.com.
The most active group is the dissidence of Front 1, followed by Front 7 and the FOS.
From a single group (Front 1), in June 2016, today between 16 and 18 structures are registered. The official figures of how many dissidents are contradicted, but it is estimated that there are some 1,200 members present in 13 departments.
Extortion, control over drug trafficking and opposition to the illicit crop substitution program are some of the actions of the dissidence that have had an impact in Ecuador in the provinces of Esmeraldas and Carchi, where several attacks have been recorded. Border areas of Venezuela and Brazil are also affected.
Uncertainty about the implementation of the peace process, lack of security guarantees, doubts about reincorporation into society have influenced the emergence of dissent, but the evolution of the groups also points to factors such as forming new armed factions and in others the drug trafficking, says the IFJ.
Among activists there is concern about the increase in the forced recruitment of children and young people, which had been denounced by the Public defender’s Office. The risks faced by those who live along the rivers Mira, Mataje, Rosario, Mejicano and Patía, and in neighborhoods of Tumaco are noted.
The Santos government has been criticized for the delay in actions.
“The military strategy came late,” Ariel Ávila, director of the Peace and Reconciliation Foundation, told channelrcn.com. The FARC operated in 242 municipalities, today there are serious security problems in 76, it is a relatively small group, but it can be expanded, he adds.
“The National Government has failed to prevent the growth of these armed strongholds, more forceful operations are required,” says analyst Jaime Fajardo.
“The fact that it has gone from a single group in two departments to almost 18 structures in different areas of 13 departments shows that these groups have been expanding and strengthening, and that it is necessary to review the institutional response to continue advancing more forcefully in its effective disarticulation.” Ideas for Peace Foundation
“The military strategy was late, the military operation ORUS and Perseus is important … but it was late. The other problem is that the other institutions of the State have not arrived, the tertiary roads did not arrive, the rural electrification, the districts of irrigation for the population … It is an area that seems to be condemned to live in this circle of violence.”” Ariel Ávila, director of the Peace and Reconciliation Foundation. (I)