Colombia peace talks offer scope for organised crime

Friday, February 13, 2015

Subject

The rising threat from BACRIM.

Significance

Organised criminal groups are now the non-state actors most frequently responsible for internal displacement of Colombians, according to a recent UN report. There is also evidence that the so-called BACRIM (criminal bands) are seeking to fill the vacuum after an eventual demobilisation of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The BACRIM, and Los Urabenos in particular, have expanded control over rural areas and the mining sector, posing a threat as the government seeks to attract foreign investment to boost development in a post-conflict environment.

Impacts

  • Criminal violence in cities along the western coast is already causing damage to Colombia's international image.
  • Increased insecurity perceptions risk marring the political and economic benefits the government expects from the peace process.
  • Criminal groups such as Los Urabenos will benefit from the vacuum left by the FARC if a peace treaty is signed later this year.
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