Small Wars Journal

From Terrorist Organizations to Cocaine Groups in Colombia: Is ELN the Next?

Tue, 08/15/2023 - 7:55pm

From Terrorist Organizations to Cocaine Groups in Colombia: Is ELN the Next?

Mahmut Chengiz

It has been a trend in Latin America to see how terrorist groups have evolved into criminal groups involved in the cocaine trade. Revolutionary and leftist organizations have generated revenue from the cocaine trade when they have pursued ideological goals. Moreover, they ended up in the cocaine trade when they were defeated by the military or negotiated with the local governments. The groups in Colombia have followed suit. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia or FARC) were involved in the cocaine trade long years and became one of the biggest suppliers of cocaine in the region. After the FARC ended due to negotiations, the group has created dissident groups that has followed the FARC’s ideology or become involved in the cocaine trade.

Colombia is on the verge of staging another negotiation with the National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional or ELN). The ELN is a rebel group that has taken up arms against the Colombian government since the early 1960s. The group has agreed on another truce on July 2023.[1] If successfully held, it will be the most prolonged halt in the conflict the ELN has agreed since its inception in 1964. The ongoing truce process will likely bring the country’s last active rebel group to the negotiations, similar to the historic 2016 peace deal with the FARC. This article analyzes revolutionary and paramilitary groups and how they evolve into cocaine groups. After examining the FARC’s negotiations with the government, it concentrates on the FARC dissident groups and discusses the likely results of successful talks with the ELN.

From Terrorist Organizations to Cocaine Groups

Colombia has a strong terrorism and crime history. Colombian society was divided between Conservative and Liberal party followers. The assassination of Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, a presidential candidate of the Liberal party, in 1948 caused a civil war that paved the way for the emergence of multiple insurgent groups.[2] They were seen as some of the most entrenched leftist insurgencies.[3]

Several factors lead to the violence in the following years. In Chernick’s view, violence originated from lingering social problems in rural areas where inequality, social exclusion, and poverty have been root causes for Colombians to seek legitimate means of survival.[4] Over the six decades, the never-ending conflict has brought devastating results to the country. For example, human rights organizations reported that an estimated 20,000 persons were killed by paramilitary, guerilla, and state forces, and more than two million people were displaced between 2000 and 2008.[5] According to the final report of Colombia’s Truth Commission in 2022, 45 percent non-combat homicides linked to the armed conflict attributed to the paramilitary groups, followed by 21 percent to the FARC, 12 percent to the army and police, and four percent to the ELN.[6]  

Colombia was one of the countries with the most terrorist incidents between 1970 and 2014.[7] Its history has recorded the armed confrontations by the leftist revolutionary guerrilla forces such as the Popular Liberation Army (Ejército Popular de Liberación or EPL), the 19th of April Movement (Movimiento 19 de Abril or M-19), FARC, and ELN, as well as their rival paramilitary groups such as the United Self Defense Forces (Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia or AUC).[8] FARC and ELN are two groups in this list that have controlled territories for over sixty years.[9] To Holmes and Pineres, the violence from guerilla and paramilitary groups has more significantly impacted the economy than the violence by the drug trafficking organizations.[10]

Moreover, Colombia is the world’s largest cocaine producer, and the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) estimated in 2021 that the cultivation of the coca plant hit record levels and rose to 204,000 hectares.[11] In 2022, around 4 percent of the world’s population consumed cocaine, and Colombia produced 70 percent of the world’s cocaine consumption.[12] Besides criminal and guerilla groups, Mexican cartels such as the Sinaloa Cartel and Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG)  have forged competing alliances with their Colombian peers such as ELN, Clan del Golfo Gulf Clan), and FARC-Dissident (FARC-D) groups.[13] The country seized an increasing amount of cocaine from 2018 to 2022, as seen in Figure 1 below.

Fig 1

Figure 1: Amount of Cocaine Seized in Colombia from 2018 to 2022 [14]

The cocaine trade unsurprisingly occupies a special place for revolutionary groups in Latin America. It has played an essential role in generating revenue for these groups and caused debates about whether they should be labeled criminal enterprises. In addition to the groups in Colombia, Paraguayan People’s Army in Paraguay[15] and Shining Path in Peru are other groups involved in the drug trade in the continent.

The distinctive similarity between revolutionary and paramilitary groups in Colombia is their involvement in the cocaine trade. First, Gaitanistas—also known as the Gulf Clan, Urabeños, Clan Úsuga or Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia (Gaitanist Self-Defense Forces of Colombia or AGC) —emerged from the ashes of the AUC and became one of the most powerful criminal groups. The AUC had its roots in the 1980s when drug lords hired its members to combat kidnappings and extortion by leftist rebel groups.[16] Contrary to rebel groups, the AUC was a far-right paramilitary group to combat the FARC in the late 1990s. It derived approximately 70 percent of its revenue from narcotrafficking.[17] The organization had a close connection and strong links with local military commanders. At its peak, the AUC comprised 20,000 members and was primarily financed through the cocaine trade, mining or petroleum companies, and politicians.[18] The United States officially designated the AUC as a terrorist organization in 2001 and condemned it for its massacres, torture, and human rights violations.[19] President Alvaro Uribe launched a demobilization process for paramilitary groups in 2002, and most AUC members were demobilized in the following years.[20] In 2006, its former leader was extradited to the US.     

Breaking away from the demobilization process of the AUC, an estimated 3,800-10,000 participated in criminal groups, also known as criminal gangs or Bandas Criminales Emergentes (BACRIM). BACRIM are active in 31 of Colombia’s 32 departments. They are involved in drug trafficking, extortion, unauthorized mining, and smuggling contraband. BACRIM members joined FARC or ELN in some regions to run drug-trafficking organizations. The following years have broadened the scope of BACRIM, and any criminal groups and enterprises essentially not linked to the Marxist rebels were labeled as BACRIM. They are also categorized as the third generation of Colombian drug trafficking organizations, followed by the Medellín and Cali Cartels in the first generation and the baby cartels that tended to specialize in certain links in the drug chain in the second generation. BACRIM are also viewed as criminal structures capable of transnational criminal activity and providing a wide variety of services to drug traffickers. BACRIM are criminal networks rather than a hierarchical and integrated organizations.[23] One of these criminal groups used the name of Urabeños and was involved in the drug trade, controlling drug production zones across the country.[24] The Urabeños developed a new model of organized crime by absorbing local criminal organizations into its network that operates as semi-autonomous clan members. The group controls territories and runs the coca base market. Escorting shipments along international trafficking corridors, the group ensures access or protection for processing laboratories.[25]      

Second, the Los Pelusos is a splinter group of the EPL that was created in 1967 as an offshoot of the Colombian Communist Party and aimed to promote socialist revolution from a rural base in the countryside. The group failed to gain intellectual sympathy or recruits like larger guerilla groups since its prominent leaders were killed in military operations.[26] The group rejoined peace talks with the Colombian government in 1991, and most of its members were demobilized.[27] A small group of disgruntled EPL members left the organization and continued to operate in the coming years. EPL began using the Los Pelusos name in 2016. It is primarily active in the Catatumbo region on the border with Venezuela. The Colombian government declared the group a Class A Organized Armed group networked with Venezuelan and Mexican drug cartels. Following the demobilization of FARC, Los Pelusos targeted former FARC members to recruit them into the organization.[28] 

Third, the ELN is another group involved in the drug trade. It is a powerful insurgent group that still operates in the country. The group became involved in the conflict in 1964 and was influenced by Marxist-Leninist ideology. The group embraced more students and young activists from cities than the rural areas, as opposed to the FARC, mainly composed of peasants. The group seeks to control territories associated with drug trafficking.[29] The ELN’s tactics are armed assaults, assassinations, extortion, and hostage-takings, and they target the government, military forces, critical infrastructure, and civilians. The US government designated the ELN as a foreign terrorist organization in 1997. Several of its notable attacks recorded the blowing up of a pipeline that killed 72 people in 1998, its attacks targeting a police academy in 2018 that killed five police officers, and another one in 2019 that killed 22 cadets.[30] The group initially resisted becoming directly involved with drug trafficking. Still, the transformation of armed conflict and weakening of guerilla groups paved the way for several of its fronts to be engaged in coca growing. While the group generates revenue from the taxation of drug traffickers, some of its members are actively involved in cocaine trafficking on the border between the Norte de Santander in Colombia and Zulia in Venezuela.[31]      

Fourth, FARC, a Marxist-Leninist guerilla group, was another organization that was intensely involved in the cocaine trade. It was formed in 1964 as the military wing of the Colombian Communist Party. The group was a peasant movement of a limited geographic area. Its mission was to provide basic order in the territories where the government left vacuums.[32] The organization viewed itself as the vanguard of exploited and mistreated peasants.[33] It was the largest rebel group in the country, estimated to possess more than 10,000 supporters at its peak in history. Under the influence of leftist ideologies, FARC supported the redistribution of wealth and opposed multinational corporations and foreign governments, particularly against the United States.[34] The group’s tactics varied from bombings and assassinations to kidnappings and hijackings, targeting politicians, foreigners, and civilians. The organization received some external support and was intensely involved in the cocaine trade in the region, and it was one of the dominant groups supplying cocaine to regional countries.[35]  

Experiences from the FARC Negotiations: FARC Dissidents

The history of terrorism presents several patterns that can end terrorism. Some groups are dissolved due to decapitation, which targets a leader of a terrorist group. In contrast, others are defeated as they fail to survivein their ideologies or are crushed by the military force. Another pattern indicates that terrorist groups are reoriented when they trade their ideologies with criminal activities and evolve into criminal enterprises.[36] Negotiations with terrorist groups occupy a special place in the list of patterns. While the Turkish government’s attempts to negotiate with the PKK terrorist group or the US government’s attempts with the Taliban are examples of failure, ETA with the Spanish government and IRA with the British government are successful examples of negotiations. Additionally, FARC is another organization whose violence has ended due to successful negotiations with the Colombian government. According to Vanegas and Guzman, the agreement is seen as a model regarding its gender and ethnic perspective and its negotiation methodology amid the conflict.[37]  

Colombia recorded failed attempts to negotiate with FARC until the term of President Juan Manuel Santos. Santos learned from his predecessors’ experiences and was extremely cautious about a clearly defined agenda. He favored an agreement covering all issues and resisted any false ceasefire that could strengthen the guerillas. His placement of victims at the center of the process was crucial to obtain reparation and reconciliation.[38] Before the final agreement in 2016, there were two years of secret negotiations and four years of public talks in Havana.[39]

FARC signed a permanent ceasefire agreement in 2016, stipulating that FARC would turn in their weapons at concentration zones within 180 days. After turning over its last accessible armaments to UN representatives in 2017, the Colombian government declared an official end to its conflict with the FARC.[40] Afterward, the FARC began transitioning into a political party that guaranteed ten seats in the Colombian legislature. Since then, FARC has been loyal to the agreement, and the organization has not resorted to violence to pursue its ideology, other than dissident groups formed by former disgruntled organization members. It should be noted that the following administration led by President Ivan Duque was against the peace agreement, and its refusal to implement the peace deal brought about the resurgence of violence and armed conflict in Colombia. Duque’s administration also rejected peace talks with the ELN and neglected to fight against paramilitarism impacted the peace process.[41]

Figure 2 below shows the number of terrorist incidents in Colombia. The fluctuations in the number of incidents between 2010 and 2022, six years before and six years after the 2016 FARC negotiations, followed suit. However, the post-FARC negotiation period recorded an increasing number of terrorist attacks in the country. It was the highest in 2019, with 315 terrorist attacks.   

Fig 2

Figure 2: The Number of Terrorist Incidents in Colombia from 2010 to 2022 [42]

The vacuum that emerged in the post-FARC period was filled by the ELN and FARC Dissidents (FARC-D), as seen in Figure 3 below. ELN was the perpetrator of around 50 percent of terrorist attacks between 2018 and 2022, followed by 372 attacks by the FARC-D groups.

Fig 3

Figure 3: The Number of Terrorist Attacks by the Perpetrators from 2018 to 2022 [43]

Demobilized fighters have gone recidivist as members of organized crime groups and participants of petty crime vigilantism or new armed groups.[44] In Colombia, some estimations underlined that 24 percent of the demobilized paramilitary and guerilla fighters ended up in a criminal group.[45] FARC jumped on the bandwagon, and 830 out of 13,185 demobilized FARC members took up arms again in 2019.[46] In 2020, 1,600 former FARC members operated within 23 dissident groups in 85 out of 1,103 counties.[47]

FARC-D refers to groups who have refused to lay weapons after the FARC negotiated with the government in 2016. Seeing the negotiation process as dubious, these groups either used the name of Front or founding commanders’ names. Figure 4 below shows the FARC-D groups recorded as perpetrators of attacks between 2018 and 2022 in Colombia.[48] As seen into Figure 4, the Dagaberto Ramos Mobile Column was the most active group, followed by the Front 33, Carlos Patina Front, and 6th Front.

Fig 4

Figure 4: The Number of Attacks by FARC –D Groups from 2018 to 2022

The dissident groups, led by former mid-level commanders, attempted to recruit locals to take up their cause and constitute a parallel state in poor rural areas. They claim to follow the leftist ideology but struggle to reintegrate society; therefore, they continue to battle against the government. Moreover, they aim to protect themselves from other paramilitary groups or criminal organizations and clash with drug cartels.[49] In 2022, FARC-D groups operated in at least 20 of Colombia’s 32 departments. These groups have predominantly operated in border regions such as Arauca, Putumayo, Nariño, and Norte de Santander, where they can reach out to international safe havens and have been involved in cross-border criminal economies.[50] They have become allies or competed with ELN, Gaitanistas, and the Caparros.[51]   

FARC-D groups are not a single structured organization; their factions are former FARC members occupying formerly FARC-controlled areas.[52] Most FARC dissidents are loosely concentrated into two national structures.[53] In 2020, of 23 FARC-Dissident groups in the country, 11 were grouped around the First Front, and four were around the Segunda Marquetalia. The rest was independent.[54]  

The First Front was the first organization that published a press release and announced its withdrawal from the peace process in 2016. The group claimed they would be loyal to FARC’s ideology and combat the structural causes of armed conflict.[55] The First Front group perpetrated 14 attacks between 2018 and 2022. 

The Segunda Marquetalia (FARC-SM) group has garnered attention due to its violent acts in Colombia. Based primarily in northeastern Colombia and Venezuela, the FARC-SM is considered one of Colombia’s largest and most dangerous dissident groups. The group conducts armed assaults, assassinations, extortion operations, and hostage takings.[56] It was designated as a terrorist organization by the Department of the State in 2021.

Negotiations with the ELN

Negotiation attempts between the government and the ELN have failed so far. The most recent one restarted in December 2022, and it seems that the ELN and the government aim to reach a final agreement. Knowing that most Colombians support the renewal of peace talks with the ELN, President Gustavo Petro has appointed a diverse negotiation team to generate early momentum and support. The two sides announced that they have agreed to the return of indigenous communities and the improvement of prison conditions for populations, including the ELN members.[57]   

Based on the experiences of how the FARC’s negotiations have created dissident groups that are involved in the cocaine trade, it is likely that ELN commanders that are against the ongoing negotiations with the government will leave the organization and form new dissident groups. While several of these dissident groups pursue the ideology of ELN and continue to target government officials, mines, and pipelines, many would act as criminal groups and become involved in the cocaine trade.

It would not be wrong the predict the flourishing cocaine networks between the ELN dissident groups and Mexican Cartels in the region as well. The ELN is already active in Venezuela and will use existing networks. The current armed confrontations between BACRIM, FARC-Dissidents, and ELN dissidents to control the drug corridor will increasingly continue in the region. Effective negotiations with the ELN will bring credit to the Colombian government and be seen as another successful model; however, it will flourish the drug networks that will threaten regional and global security.   


It has been a trend to see a transition from paramilitary or leftist guerilla groups to drug trafficking organizations in Colombia. The Colombian government has been successful in handling and coming to an end the FARC terrorism with its military operations and inviting the organization to the negotiation table. However, the country has kept more terrorist attacks after the FARC’s demobilization and sees the emerging dissident groups against the negotiations with the government. These dissident groups have aimed to represent the FARC’s structural violence. Moreover, some former FARC members have joined other drug trafficking groups.

Similar to FARC, which initially adopted a Marxist and Leninist ideology but then evolved into a criminal enterprise, other active guerilla groups and dissident groups have increasingly become involved in the cocaine trade in Colombia. Ongoing security vacuums in the borderland areas of Venezuela and emerging opportunities and collaborations with Mexican cartels have generated a favorable environment for existing groups to become involved in cocaine trafficking. Post-revolutionary (EPL-Los Pelusos) and post-paramilitary groups (AUC-Gaitanistas) and FARC-D groups have capitalized on emerging opportunities and are interested in the cocaine trade. The ELN is the only remaining historical guerilla group who have pursued its leftist ideology and generated revenue from cocaine trafficking. The current government attempts seem to be successfully negotiating with the ELN in the future. Still, the region and the Colombian government should be prepared to see the emergence of new dissident groups and their joining drug networks in the region.    


[1] Will Grant and Kathryn Armstrong, “Colombia: Country's Last Active Guerrilla Group ELN Agrees Truce.” BBC. 5 July 2023,

[2] Javier Osorio, Mohamed Mohamed, Viveca Pavon, and Susan Brewer-Osorio, “Mapping Violent Presence of Armed Actors in Colombia.” Advances in Cartography and GIScience of the ICA . Vol. 1, 2019, p. 6,

[3] Jennifer S. Holmes, De Piñeres Gutiérrez, Sheila Amin, and Kevin M. Curtin, “A Subnational Study of Insurgency: FARC Violence in the 1990s.” Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 2007, Vol. 30 no. 3, p.249–265,

[4] Marc Chernick, “Negotiating Peace amid Multiple Forms of Violence: The Protracted Search for a Settlement to the Armed Conflicts in Colombia” in Comparative Peace Processes in Latin America, Cynthia Arnson, Ed.  Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 1999.

[5] John Bailey, Written Testimony “The U.S. Homeland Security Role in the Mexican War against Drug Cartels” to the hearing on “The U.S. Homeland Security Role in the Mexican War against Drug Cartels.” Washington, DC: House Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Management,

[6]“The Final Report of the Truth Commission from Colombia's 2016 FARC Peace Accord: A Discussion with Commission Members on Colombia's Reckoning with its Past and the Ongoing Armed Conflict.” United States Institute of Peace. 15 July 2022,

[7] Andreas E. Feldmann, “Revolutionary Terror in the Colombian Civil War.” Studies in Conflict and Terrorism. Vol. 41, no. 10, 2018, pp. 825–846,

[8] Garry Leech, The FARC The Longest Insurgency. London: Zed Books, 2011.

[9] Op. Cit., Feldmann, “Revolutionary Terror in the Colombian Civil War” at Note 7.

[10] Jennifer S. Holmes and Sheila Amin Gutierrez De Pineres, “The Illegal Drug Industry, Violence and the Colombian Economy: A Department Level Analysis.” Bulletin of Latin American Research. Vol. 25, no. 1, 2006,

[11] World Drug Report 2021. Vienna: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

[12] “Colombia’s Drug Trade.” Colombia Reports. 12 January 2023,

[13] Juan Rojas, “Mexican Cartels Bolster Foothold and Alliances in Colombia.” Dialogo Americas. 21 March 2023,

[[1]4] “Amount of Cocaine Seized in Colombia 2022.” Statista. 21 July 2023,   

[[1]5] Jeremy McDermott, “The Paraguayan People’s Army: A New Rebel Group or Simple Bandits?” Friedrich Ebert Stiftung,

[[1]6] “The United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, AUC.” Stanford University. Center for International Security and Cooperation, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. 2015,

[[1]7] John P. Sullivan, “BACRIM: Colombian Bandas Criminales Emergentes.” The Counter Terrorist. April/May 2014, pp. 47–54.

[[1]8] “United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC).” START: The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and

[19] Ibid.

[20] Angélica Durán-Martínez, “To Kill and Tell? State Power, Criminal Competition, and Drug Violence.” The Journal of Conflict Resolution. Vol. 59, no. 8, 2015. pp. 1377–1402,

[21] Op. Cit., Sullivan, “BACRIM: Colombian Bandas Criminales Emergentes” at Note 17.

[22] Ibid.

[23] Jeremy McDermott, “The BACRIM and Their Position in Colombia's Underworld.” Insight Crime. 2 May 2014,  

[24] Op. Cit., Sullivan, “BACRIM: Colombian Bandas Criminales Emergentes” at Note 17.

[25] “Gaitanistas - Gulf Clan.” Insight Crime. 8 November 2022,  

[26] “Popular Liberation Army.” Stanford University. Center for International Security and Cooperation, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. 2015,

[27] “Civil Society Under Siege in Colombia.” Special Report.  Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace.  13 February 2004,

[28] “EPL/Los Pelusos.” Colombia Reports. 26 March 2017,

[29] Jenifer S. Holmes, Sheila Amin Gutierrez, and Kevin Curtin, Guns, Drugs and Development in Colombia. Austin: University of North Texas, 2008.

[30] “National Liberation Army (ELN).” Counter Terrorism Guide.  Washington, DC: Office of the Director of National Intelligence, National Counterterrorism Center. October 2022,

[31] “ELN.” Insight Crime. 19 October 2022,,become%20involved%20in%20coca%20growing.

[32] Op. Cit., Holmes, et al., “A Subnational Study of Insurgency: FARC Violence in the 1990s” at Note 29.

[33] Op. Cit., Feldmann,  “Revolutionary Terror in the Colombian Civil War” at Note 7.

[34] Carlos Ospina, “Colombia and the FARC: From Military Victory to Ambivalent Political Reintegration?” PRISM: The Journal of Complex Operations. 24 May 2016,

[35] Lee E. Taylor, “Case Analysis: The FARC in Colombia.” Small Wars Journal. 5 March 2022,

[36] Audrey Kurth Cronin, How Terrorism Ends: Understanding the Decline and Demise of Terrorist Campaigns. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009.

[37] Farid Samir Benavides Vanegas and Sandra Borda Guzmán, “Introduction: The Peace Agreement between the Colombian Government and the FARC-EP.” Revista CIDOB d’Afers Internacionals. No. 121. 2019,

[38] Juan Manuel Santos, The Battle for Peace: The Long Road to Ending a War with the World's Oldest Guerrilla Army. Lawrence, Kansas: Press of Kansas, 2021.

[39] Renata Segura And Delphine Mechoulan, “Made in Havana: How Colombia and the FARC Decided to End the War.” New York: International Peace Institute, February 2017,  

[40] Nick Miroff, “Colombian Government and FARC Rebels Announce Peace Deal.” Washington Post.  24 August 2016,

[41] Adrianna Alsema, “Duque Obstructed Peace in Colombia ‘Deliberately.” Colombia Reports. 16 June 2022.

[42] This article used data from Global Terrorism Database from 2010 to 2017 (, and the rest between 2018 and 2018 belonged to the data from Global Terrorism and Trends Analysis Center (GTTAC),

[43] “Global Terrorism and Trends Analysis Center (GTTAC),” GTTAC recorded act of violence by these groups that excludes their fight for the drugs.

[44] Oliver Kaplan and Nussio Enzo, “Community Counts: The Social Reintegration of Ex-combatants in Colombia.” Conflict Management and Peace Science. Vol. 35, no. 2, March 2018, pp. 132–153,

[45] “Retorno A La Legalidad O Reincidencia De Excombatientes En Colombia.” Publicaciones Analysis. 7 July 2014,

[46] Natalia Aguilar Salas, “Fumigaciones y Militarización, Estrategias Inservibles.” Colaboradora Pares. 27 January 2020,

[47] Ariel Ávila, “La guerra entre las disidencias,” Semana. 8 January 2020,

[48] “Global Terrorism and Trends Analysis Center (GTTAC),” It should be noted that the GTTAC recorded incidents whose act of violence fit Department of State’s definitional inclusion criteria. The database excluded the violent acts for cocaine.

[49] Nicholas Casey and Federico Rios Escobar. "Colombia Struck a Peace Deal With Guerrillas — but Many Return to Arms." New York Times. 18 September 2018,

[50] “Ex-FARC Mafia.” Insight Crime. 1 June 2023,

[51] “Colombia Complexities in Negotiating ‘Total Peace’.” ACAPS. 13 January 2023,

[52] Op. Cit., “Ex-FARC Mafia” at Note 52.

[53] “FARC Dissident Groups.” Colombia Peace. 24 April 2020,  

[54] “Second Marquetalia.” Insight Crime. 5 July 2022,

[55] Op. Cit., “Ex-FARC Mafia” at Note 52.

[56]  “Segunda Marquetalia.” Counter Terrorism Guide. Washington, DC: Office of the Director of National Intelligence, National Counterterrorism Center. October 2022,

[57] Steve Hege, “Colombia’s Renewed Peace Talks with ELN Rebels Provide Historic Opportunity.”  United States Institute of Peace.15 December 2022,,one%20step%20at%20a%20time.&text=As%20part%20of%20its%20ambitious,new%20negotiations%20since%20January%202019.

Categories: El Centro

About the Author(s)

Dr. Mahmut Cengiz is an Assistant Professor and Research Faculty with Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center (TraCCC) and the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. Dr. Cengiz has international field experience where he has delivered capacity building and training assistance to international partners in the Middle East, Asia, and Europe. He also has been involved in the research projects for the Brookings Institute, European Union, and various US agencies.