Incidents were back down this week to 47 but they had settled into the familiar pattern of both location and type of incident. The ELN continues to try and get itself taken seriously through kidnapping. Our 4-week Moving Average up slightly and it now sits at 54 incidents per week, back where it was at the beginning of November last year although still down from a peak of 58 back in October.
As we reported last week, the peace process has been marked by the optimism of Santos, the FARC’s claim of a National Constituent Assembly and the skepticism of the political right and other sectors. However, the FARC has stepped up attacks and kidnappings and Santos seems less optimistic.
Incidents were back down this week to 50 but a number of high-profile kidnappings got the country’s attention. Our 4-week Moving Average up another 15% and it now sits at 51 incidents per week, back where it was at the beginning of November last year although still down from a peak of 58 back in October.
In recent statements, President Santos has been optimistic about the peace process with Farc. He said that “if there is will, this country will find that much desired peace.” He recalled that ever since he took office, he considered the peace process a possibility: “And so from day one, with great humility, but with much -and this is what I learned from Winston Churchill- perseverance, I began to weave the possibility of approaching the enemy, approaching FARC, to see if they wanted to find a negotiated solution and end this conflict.”
Incidents were up 38% again this week to 69 – the highest level we have ever recorded. This sent our 4-week Moving Average up 36% and it now sits at 44 incidents per week, back where it was at the beginning of December last year although still down from a peak of 58 back in October.
Business newspaper La Republica reports that the mining and energy locomotive is slowing its advance due to terrorist attacks. In July 2012 the Cerrejon suffered seven attacks while Ecopetrol reported 49 to September of the same year. This caused sector goals in 2012 to not be fully met. “Without doubt the reported attacks influenced the outcome of mining GDP, which slowed last year,” said María Constanza García, National Mining Agency (ANM) president.
It was never an absolute cease fire. Colombia’s ombudsman (“Defensor del Pueblo”) reported 57 separate violations (see for example this RCN TV report) and the MinDefensa never stopped saying that the Farc continued to operate, sometimes through third-parties like criminal gangs or the country’s other major guerrilla group, the ELN. This latter qualification gave President Juan Manuel Santos leave to say the Farc had complied which perhaps was good diplomacy but we doubt even he believes that.
The truce ended as it started: blowing up the TransAndino pipeline.
Incidents were up 47% this week to 50, a level not seen since late November. This sent our 4-week Moving Average up 20% and it now sits at 33 incidents per week although still down from a peak of 58 back in October.
National business magazine Dinero reports that the Colombian State Council, a superior court for government issues, declared today that Ecopetrol must pay CoP$1B (US$568,000) for damages from a propane gas pipeline attack in 1991. The attack occurred in the section between Puerto Salgar and Facatativá, in the rural area of the municipality of Albán in Cundinamarca. The explosion and resulting fire from escaped propane damaged agricultural facilities and crops in the surrounding area.
Government and Farc negotiators met today in Havana to resume peace talks. It was widely reported in the Colombian press that lead negotiator Humberto de la Calle admonished the Farc to stay focused on the agenda and to avoid attempts to practice public politics while still armed. Surprisingly perhaps, there was a positive response from the guerrilla negotiating team.