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Last Updated:8/10/07
Peace Initiatives in Colombia:
Dialogues with the FARC

August 8, 2007

The International Committee of the Red Cross reports that two Colombian soldiers, Jesus Alberto Sol Rivera and Alexander Cardona, die in FARC captivity. This escalates the anti-kidnapping sentiment lingering from the Valle del Cauca deputies' death.

August 3, 2007

President Uribe enters into an impromtu, two hour debate with protestors in the Plaza de Bolivar. Though originally intending only to meet with Gustavo Moncayo, a humanitarian exchange advocate who is the father of a kidnapped police officer, Uribe ultimately ends up defending arguments from the entire crowd. Afterwords, he offers to create a 90 day demilitarized zone in exchange for the release of hostages.

July 9, 2007

Ricardo Palmera is found guilty by a U.S. federal jury of kidnapping the three American hostages still held by the FARC. Though the conviction carries with it a mandatory life sentence, prosecutors agree to lessen the sentence if the hostages are released.

July 6, 2007

In response to the killings of the assembly members, Colombians flood the streets in every major city showing solidarity against violence and kidnapping.

  • [English] Plan Colombia and Beyond posting, July 8, 2007

June 28, 2007

The FARC release a communiqué announcing the death of 11 Valle del Cauca assembly members two weeks prior, on June 18. The FARC claim the hostages died in the crossfire of a battle with an unidentified rescue operation and offers to turn over the bodies. The Colombian government holds the FARC responsible for the deaths.
  • [Español] FARC communiqué, June 28, 2007
  • [Español] Government communiqué, June 28, 2007
  • [English] Government communiqué, June 28, 2007
  • [Español] FARC communiqué, July 10, 2007
  • [English] Plan Colombia and Beyond posting, June 28, 2006

June 7, 2007

President Uribe finally discloses the "reasons of state" for his unilateral release of 193 FARC prisoners. He argues that this humanitarian gesture will facilitate a dialogue and the eventual release of the FARC's 56 political hostages. Additionally, Uribe frees Rodrigo Granda, high-ranking officer who had been instrumental external relations of the FARC because French President Nicolas Sarkozy had hoped that the former guerrilla could be an interlocutor for the release of Ingrid Betancourt. Despite Uribe's explanations, many question whether Uribe's intentions were more political or if Uribe even had a clear plan.
  • [English] Plan Colombia and Beyond posting, June 1, 2006
  • [Español] Government communiqué establishing its authority to release guerrilla prisoners, May 15, 2007

May 24, 2007

Raul Reyes, in an ANNCOL interview, urges French President Nicolas Sarkozy to use his good offices to encourage a humanitarian exchange.

  • [Español] ANNCOL interview transcription, May 24, 2007

May 20, 2007

Diana Patricia Pena escapes captivity during a police rescue attempt two days after her capture. Pena, Colombian national, was kidnapped with her Swedish husband Roland Erick Larson. Though the Colombian government asserts that the FARC were behind the kidnapping, the Swedish government questions this claim.

May 16, 2007

Anti-narcotic police discover Jhon Frank Pinchao in the jungle, who escaped from FARC captivity 17 days earlier. Pinchao's testimony serves as a proof of life for Ingrid Betancourt and the three American hostages (though he reported that one, Marc Gonsalves, had hepatitus). Pinchao warns that, though his FARC captors intended keep their prisoners alive, they would not allow government forces to take them back; any rescue attempt would be disastrous. He also confirms rumors that Betancourt's campaign manager, Clara Rojas, gave birth to a son in captivity.

March 8, 2007

Seven members of the U.S. House of Representatives sign a letter addressed to Luis Carlos Restrepo and the foreign ministers of France, Switzerland, and Spain. In the letter, the representatives affirm their support for the European proposal and offer to advise and observe a humanitarian exchange. Commissioner Restrepo responds, thanking the representatives for their support.

  • [English] Letter from U.S. Congress members, March 8, 2007
  • [Español] Letter from Luis Carlos Restrepo, March 21, 2007

February 23, 2007

President Uribe authorizes kidnapping victims' families to attempt direct contact with the FARC to negotiate a release.

January 5, 2007

Former Cabinet member Fernando Araujo escapes after six years of FARC captivity. He is soon appointed to be Foreign Minister.

December 21, 2006

The Uribe Administration discretely reauthorizes the European nations to speak with the FARC.

November 9, 2006

The FARC publish a letter to the people of the United States, specifically naming James Petras, Noam Chomsky, Jesse Jackson, Angela Davis, Michael Moore, Oliver Stone, and Denzel Washington. They request that Americans pressure Presidents Bush and Uribe to agree to a humanitarian exchange. They highlight the extradition of Sonia and Simon Trinidad as two unjust cases and whose release would merit the release of the three American hostages.

  • [Español] Open letter from the FARC, November 9, 2006

October 27, 2006

The FARC reiterate their interest in negotiating a humanitarian exchange, but they make no mention of the War College bombing.

  • [Español] FARC communiqué, October 27, 2006

October 19, 2006

A mysterious car bomb goes off outside the Nevada Granda War College in Bogota, but kills no one. While the administration immediately blames the FARC, the uncertain details of the bombing leave many unconvinced. Nonetheless, Uribe refuses to participate in the pending negotiations.

  • [English] Plan Colombia and Beyond posting, October 20, 2006
  • [Español] Uribe speech at the bombing site, October 20, 2006

October 2, 2006

The FARC publish an open letter to the three branches of government stating the conditions under which they would agree to negotiate a bilateral ceasefire and prisoner exchange. In this letter, they reiterate their demand for a 45 day withdrawal from the Florida and Pradera municipalities. Similarly, Luis Carlos Restrepo announces that President Uribe has authorized the Alto Comisionado para la Paz arrange a meeting with the FARC. This exchange marks the beginning of a two week period of frequent statements from both sides in which a humanitarian accord seems imminent.

  • [Español] Letter from the FARC, October 2, 2006
  • [Español] Transcription of Restrepo's announcement, October 2, 2006

June 23, 2006

In an interview on Venezuelan television, FARC spokesman Raul Reyes suggests that the guerrillas would again be willing to negotiate a humanitarian exchange with the government.

May 28, 2006

Amid increased violence from guerrillas, Colombians reelect Uribe by a landslide. His victory is considered a mandate to continue a crackdown against the FARC.

March 24, 2006

The United States Department of Justice and Department of State indict the 50 highest ranking FARC officers on drug trafficking charges. They also demand the extradition of Jorge Enrique Rodriguez Mendieta, a.k.a "Ivan Vargas," Erminso Cuevas Cabrera, a.k.a "Mincho," and Juan Jose Martinez Vega, a.k.a "Gentil Alvis Patino" or "Chiguiro."

January 26, 2006

The Alto Comisionado para la Paz publishes a communiqué that supports the negotiation process and asks families to take leadership in moving it forward.

  • [Español] Government communiqué, January 26, 2006

January 1, 2006

In a public statement, the FARC say that they will never negotiate a humanitarian exchange while Uribe is in office. There is speculation that this move is designed to hurt his reelection bid.
  • [Español] FARC communiqué, January 1, 2006

December 19, 2005

A tape surfaces of former Development Minister Fernando Araujo urging a humanitarian exchange in front of a FARC-EP banner. This video serves as a proof of life.

December 13, 2005

President Uribe accepts a proposal submitted by the governments of Spain, Switzerland, and Fance to moderate a meeting between the two parties. In accepting the proposal, the Colombian government agrees to withdraw troops from a predetermined demilitarized zone in La Florida and La Pradera and leave security to the European governments.

  • [Español] Proposal, December 12, 2005

November 25, 2005

The Colombian government announces that it is soliciting the help of an undisclosed international commission to negotiate the humanitarian accord.

September 23, 2005

After the latest government proposal collapses, the French begin meeting with the FARC without the approval of the Colombian government. When the Colombian government learns of this negotiation, it sends a rebuking letter to the French embassy.
  • [Español] Letter from the Colombian government to the French embassy in Bogota, September 23, 2005

September 10, 2005

The FARC respond to the government's proposal, arguing that it had always been the will and initiative of the FARC to agree on a humanitarian exchange. Nonetheless, they insist that more time and a complete military withdrawal from the Florida and Pradera provinces are needed to guarantee security for the FARC's delegates.

  • [Español] FARC communiqué, September 10, 2005

September 8, 2005

The government releases another proposal, this time asking for a meeting an a school in the Pradera municipality. The communiqué offers security for the FARC delegates and promises no military or police action will take place.
  • [Español] Government communiqué, September 8, 2005

August 23, 2005

President Uribe allows the Episcopal Conference and the Apostolic Nuncio to engage in a "pre-dialogue" with all of the country's illegal armed groups, with hopes of moving towards a cessation of hostilities. The FARC respond in a communiqué commending the work of the Church and other negotiators but denouncing Uribe's actions as distractions from a humanitarian exchange. They also argue that though Uribe is making gestures of peace, he continues aggressive military action.

  • [Español] FARC communiqué, September 5, 2005

August 9, 2005

The Uribe government accepts the Aures proposal put forward by the families of the kidnapped assembly members from Valle del Cauca. This proposal would demilitarize the village of Aures to allow a negotiation. The FARC responds that this proposal is militarily unfeasible, though it commends the effort to create a meeting.
  • [Español] Transcription of Luis Carlos Restrepo's speech, August 9, 2005
  • [Español] FARC communiqué, August 14, 2005

July 26, 2005

After meeting with family members of hostages, Uribe initiates another effort to negotiate a prisoner exchange. Luis Carlos Rastrepo announces an offer to meet in any location at any time proposed by the FARC.

June 27, 2005

The FARC offer to open a dialogue with the United States about a prisoner exchange. They suggest they would release the three American contractors in exchange for Omaira Rojas and Ricardo Palmera. The State Department quickly rejects the offer in a press briefing.

March 27, 2005

In letters addressed to the Colombian Congress and the Supreme Court, the FARC demand an end extraditing captured guerrillas.
  • [Español] Letter from the FARC to the Colombian Congress, March 27, 2005
  • [Español] Letter from the FARC to the Colombian Supreme Court, March 27, 2005

March 9, 2005

Uribe signs an extradition order sending Omaira Rojas to the U.S. on drug trafficking charges. Rojas, A.K.A. Sonia, was captured in December 2004 and suspected to play a major role in the FARC's drug trafficking business.

April 30, 2005

James Lemoyne's Good Offices of the United Nations in Colombia close. This represents the final blow to a frustrated operation, unable to gain significant ground with either the Uribe administration or the FARC after the collapse of the 1998-2002 peace talks. An attempt to bring the parties together beginning in late 2003 in Brazilian territory faded out after the FARC failed to respond. Another effort, suggested by Kofi Annan after a FARC appeal, failed in early 2005 as the parties could not settle on their terms of negotiation.

February 1, 2005

200 FARC fighters attack a Colombian Army riverine post in Iscuandé, Nariño. Using mortars made out of propane tanks, the guerrillas inflict significant damage on the outpost. This attack marks a rumored end to the FARC's "tactical retreat." The FARC release a statement in December, claiming that their tactics will become increasingly offensive in the future. Though the Uribe administration claims to have the situation under control, critics grow concerned about a return to 1998 levels of violence. CIP's Adam Isacson speculates that the surge is more of a reaction to Uribe's tactic of refusing to label the violence as a "conflict" and thus avoiding Protocol II restrictions of the Geneva Conventions.

  • [English] Plan Colombia and Beyond posting, February 13, 2005
  • [Español] FARC communiqué, December 30, 2004

December 31, 2004

No compromise is met between Uribe and the FARC. Ricardo Palmera is extradited to the U.S. on kidnapping and drug trafficking charges.

December 20, 2004

Luis Carlos Restrepo announces an offer to meet in a church to negotiate the release of the FARC's political hostages.
  • [Español] Government communiqué, December 20, 2004

December 17, 2004

President Uribe offers to suspend the impending extradition of Ricardo Palmera on the condition that the FARC release its top political hostages.
  • [Español] Government communiqué, December 17, 2004

December 13, 2004

Rodrigo Granda, a FARC spokesman suspected of arranging large drug deals, is kidnapped in Caracas by bounty hunters and immediately brought back to Colombia for a reward. The FARC condemn the action, claiming that Granda was engaging in diplomacy other nations to find a political solution to the conflict. The capture sets off a diplomatic dispute between Colombian and Venezuela. The Colombian government claims the Venezuelan government hosted Granda and had not done enough to impede illegal guerrilla activity. The Venezuelan government denies this accusation and claims that Colombia impinged on its sovereignty by sponsoring the capture operation.
  • [Español] FARC communiqué, January 2, 2005

December 2, 2004

Uribe unexpectedly releases 23 low-level FARC guerrillas from prison in an effort to encourage the FARC to release some of 59 key political hostages. This gesture is aimed at promoting the Swiss proposal, which is short of the FARC's request. They seek the exoneration of many of its mid and upper level commanders taken captive over the years.

  • [Español] Press conference transcription December 2, 2004
  • [English] Press conference transcription December 2, 2004

November 28, 2004

The government rejects the FARC's proposal because, according to the FARC, the demilitarization of Cartagena del Chairá and San Vicente del Caguán would make the government suspend Plan Patriota, Uribe's military offensive in the Southwest. In response, the FARC release a proposal to demilitarize La Florida and La Pradera municipalities in the Ville del Cauca department.
  • [Español] FARC communiqué, November 28, 2004

October 28, 2004

The Alto Comisionado para la Paz releases a public letter to the Apostolic Nuncio seeking another facilitator for the Swiss proposal. This letter contains more specifics regarding where, when, and how a meeting would take place.

  • [Español] Letter from Luis Carlos Restrepo to Monseñor Beniamino Stella, October 28, 2004

October 24, 2004

The FARC propose to demilitarize the Cartagena del Chairá and San Vicente del Caguán municipalities in the Caquetá department.
  • [Español] FARC communiqué, October 24, 2004

August 18 , 2004

The Uribe administration leaks a communiqué containing some details from the Swiss proposal, anticipating a FARC response. According to the Colombian government, the FARC decline to use Switzerland as a mediator.

  • [English] Government communiqué, August 18, 2004
  • [Español] Government communiqué, August 18, 2004
  • [English] Government report on dialogues with the FARC, September 30, 2005

July 22-23, 2004

The Colombian and Swiss governments meet to work on a proposal, following up on a meeting between Raul Reyes and a Swiss facilitator.

January 2, 2004

Ricardo Palerma, AKA Simon Trinidad, is arrested in a Quito hospital while seeking treatment. He is quickly returned to Colombia and transferred to a prison to await trial. It is alleged that his trip to Ecuador has an alternative motive to make contacts to negotiate a prisoner exchange.

September 23, 2003

The Colombian government sends a note to the French Embassy in Bogota, stating that negotiations with the FARC, inside or out of Colombian territory, would impinge on Colombia's sovereignty. This is intended as a rebuke for the rescue attempt in July.

August 30, 2003

Another proof of life of Ingrid Betancourt is aired on Colombian television. This time Betancourt pleads for a rescue or humanitarian exchange.

August 24, 2003

The FARC and the ELN release a joint, six-point communiqué from a secret meeting held sometime in July between both groups' leadership at an undisclosed location in the Colombian mountains. The note calls Uribe an "enemy of peace" and declares the two armies to be allied against his government. Both parties pledge to never engage in talks with Uribe's government.

  • [Español] FARC/ELN communiqué, August 24, 2003

July 25, 2003

The documentary film "Held Hostage in Colombia" is released. The film features footage shot by journalist Jorge Enrique Botero in a remote FARC camp that serves as the first proof of life for the three American contractors.

July 19, 2003

The United Nations Office of the Secretariat agrees to a meeting with the FARC, accepting a proposal submitted by the guerrillas two days earlier. The groups plan to meet in Brazil to discuss a potential political solution to the conflict.

July 9, 2003

The French government sends Special Forces and a medical team in a Hercules C-130 Helicopter to Manaus, Amazonas in Brazil. Allegedly, it does so in response to a plea from Astrid Betancourt, Ingrid Betancourt's sister, who hears word that her sister is ill and about to be released. The French government denies its involvement, though rebuked by the Brazilian government, and the FARC deny they ever had any intention of releasing Betancourt. The Colombian government criticizes France's involvement.

May 5, 2003

Colombian soldiers approach a FARC camp near Urrao, Antioquia in a rescue attempt authorized by President Uribe. As soon as the guerrillas hear helicopters approaching, they begin executing hostages and evacuate the camp. In total, 10 hostages die, including Governor Guillermo Gaviria and former Defense Minister Gilberto Echeverri. Uribe responds to the failed rescue attempt on television.

February 13, 2003

A U.S. Cessna plane carrying 2 Department of Defense contractors, 2 American pilots, and a Colombian guide crashes 250 miles south of Bogota. Though all crew members survive the crash, they are abducted by FARC forces. The Colombian guide, Luis Alcides Cruz, and one American pilot, Thomas Janis, are killed and left by the plane; the remaining three Americans, Keith Stansell, Marc Gonsalves, and Thomas Howes are taken hostage.

February 8, 2003

The FARC reject the commission on the grounds that it placates those concerned with a hostage/prisoner exchange while not addressing the demands of the guerrillas. Subsequently, the commission dissolves. Monsignor Castro and Father Echeverri are later invited back to meet with the FARC as representatives of the Church and not of the government. Uribe approves the switch and they meet the FARC in the end of 2003. Eventually, however, talks fall apart once again after little headway.

  • [Español] FARC communiqué, February 8, 2003

January 31, 2003

The Uribe government releases a communiqué which authorizes Monsignor Luis Augusto Castro, former Minister Angelino Garzón, and Father Dario Echeverri to negotiate as a commission on behalf of the government through the U.N.

November 4, 2002

The FARC release a statement describing their requirements for a prisoner exchange, which oppose those of Uribe. They offer all their hostages in exchange for all FARC guerrilla prisoners, provided that the government holds negotiations in a agreed upon demilitarized zone inside Colombia.

September 24, 2002

Uribe refines his FARC policy, backing off from the cease-fire precondition. He maintains that he will not agree to a demilitarized zone and that ex-combatants cannot rearm.

September 1, 2002

The Uribe government releases a communiqué which describes the United Nations roll in the conflict. The government welcomes the UN's effort to bring a humanitarian accord which would end the violence, but does not allow the UN to take any part in hostage negotiation.

  • [Español] Communiqué from the Alto Comisionado de la Paz, September 1, 2002
  • [English] Communiqué from the Alto Comisionado de la Paz, September 1, 2002

August 12, 2002

President Uribe declares a state of emergency in response to heightened guerrilla violence.

August 7, 2002

President Alvaro Uribe is inaugurated. He reiterates his campaign stance that he will not engage in dialogue with any group without a ceasefire. He also opposes a demilitarized zone. During the ceremony, a group shells the presidential palace, causing a disturbance and killing several in a nearby slum. Police blame the attack on the FARC.

  • [Español] Uribe speech, August 7, 2002

July 30, 2002

The FARC release three foreign prisoners in a "humanitarian gesture." This same day, the Colombian Armed Forces kill Agudelo Alvares, who they believe to be the architect of the February 2002 hijacking.

July 23 , 2002

The FARC release a proof of life video, dated May 15, showing Ingrid Betancourt and her campaign manager, Clara Rojas, still alive.

April 21, 2002

The Governor of Antioquia, Guillermo Gaviria, and his peace advisor, former Defense Minister Gilberto Echeverri, are kidnapped after leading a peace rally critical of the FARC.

February 23, 2002

Senator and presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt is kidnapped by the FARC while traveling by land to the former demilitarized zone on a mission to advocate respect for the rights of the zone's residents. The FARC gives the Colombian government one year to negotiate the exchange of Betancourt and five other kidnapped legislators for FARC prisoners in Colombian jails.

February 20, 2002

The FARC hijacks a domestic airliner, forcing it to land on a stretch of highway in Huila department. All passengers are freed but one, Colombian Senator Jorge Gechem Turbay, the fifth member of Colombia's Congress to be kidnapped by the guerrillas since June 2001.

President Pastrana responds by announcing the end of the three-year-old talks with the FARC. Aerial bombardment, the first phase of military operations to re-take the demilitarized zone, begins at midnight.

  • [Español] Pastrana speech, February 20, 2002
  • [Español] Resolution ending FARC peace process, February 20, 2002
  • [Español] FARC communiqué, February 21, 2002
  • [Español] Statement from Colombian non-governmental peace organizations, February 21, 2002

February 19, 2002

FARC and government representatives exchange cease-fire proposals. The government proposal calls for maintaining guerilla fronts in small zones to keep them separate from the armed forces.

February 14, 2002

Several presidential candidates, including Horacio Serpa (pictured), Luis Eduardo Garzón and Ingrid Betancourt travel to the demilitarized zone for a meeting scheduled as part of the peace talks' timetable. All candidates sharply criticize the guerrillas' ongoing offensive against civilian targets.

February 5 , 2002

A FARC offensive, much of it sabotage of infrastructure and bombings of urban areas, further increases skepticism about the peace process. The Colombian government issues a proposal for a six-month cease fire.

  • [Español] FARC-government communiqué, February 6, 2002
  • [Español] FARC communiqué, February 6, 2002
  • [Español] Draft government cease-fire proposal, February 4, 2002
  • [Español] Press conference by High Commissioner for Peace Camilo Gómez, February 4, 2002
  • [Español] FARC proposal to diminish the intensity of the conflict, February 2, 2002
  • [Español] Communiqué from Permanent Assembly of Civil Society for Peace, January 24, 2002

January 20, 2002

Shortly before the deadline for expiration of the guerrilla demilitarized zone, the FARC and Colombian government agree to a timetable for cease-fire discussions. The main issues to be discussed are cease-fire terms, kidnapping, and paramilitarism. The document, drawn up with the presence of UN, foreign embassy and church representatives, lays out a brisk schedule that would bring a cease-fire by April 7. President Pastrana extends the demilitarized zone until April 10.

  • Text of "Accord for a timetable for the future of the peace process," January 20, 2002 [English | Español]
  • Speech by President Andrés Pastrana, January 20, 2002 [Español]
  • [Español] Communiqué from Paz Colombia, January 20, 2002

January 14, 2002

In a late afternoon announcement, after a day of efforts from UN, international, and church representatives, the FARC announce that guarantees exist for the peace process to continue, complying with President Pastrana's demand. The January 20 deadline for the demilitarized zone's renewal remains in place, Pastrana says, unless both sides can agree on a strict timetable for cease-fire discussions. Future talks will include international representatives in a more formal fashion.

January 13, 2002

The FARC announce that they will hand over the demilitarized zone's town centers, officially ending the three-year-old peace process.

January 12, 2002

After two days of talks with UN representative James LeMoyne, the FARC releases a proposal for re-starting the peace talks just before the Colombian government's 9:30 PM deadline. The guerrillas' draft re-affirms the commitments of the October 2001 "San Francisco de la Sombra" accord, but leaves out the question of government controls in the area surrounding the demilitarized zone. The FARC had demanded that these measures be lifted in order for talks to continue. To most observers, the statement tacitly acknowledges that the FARC has yielded on the issue of the control measures -- though the guerrilla proposal would create a commission to investigate complaints about the measures.

At midnight, President Pastrana rejects the guerrillas' proposal and orders the army to re-take the zone at 9:30 PM on Monday, January 14. Pastrana offers one last hope: that the guerrillas clearly state that the dialogues may continue even with the control measures in place. The UN's Lemoyne and FARC negotiators continued their meetings on January 13.

  • FARC proposal to re-start talks, January 12, 2002 [Español]
  • Statement of President Pastrana rejecting FARC offer, January 12, 2002 [Español]
  • Statement of UN representative James LeMoyne, January 12, 2002 [Español]

January 11, 2002

UN representative James LeMoyne arrives in the demilitarized zone in early afternoon for last-ditch talks with the FARC. The two sides have until 9:30 PM on the 12th to find a solution that might save the peace process.

January 10, 2002

As troops mass on the fringes of the demilitarized zone, President Pastrana grants the United Nations time to find a solution to the stalled dialogues with the FARC. If no agreement is reached, the 48-hour countdown for the guerrillas' exit from the zone will begin the evening of Saturday, January 12.

  • Statement of President Pastrana, January 10, 2002 [Español]
  • FARC communiqué, January 10, 2002 [Español]
  • Statement of UN representative James LeMoyne, January 10, 2002 [Español]
  • Statement of Colombian non-governmental peace organizations, January 10, 2002 [Español]

January 9, 2002

The Colombian government announces the suspension of peace talks with the FARC. The military is to enter the demilitarized zone 48 hours after President Pastrana issues an order (which, as of the afternoon of January 10, he has not done). The U.S. State Department blames the FARC for the talks' collapse.

Dialogue and Negotiations Phase ("Mesa de Diálogos y Negociación"), May 1999-present

After the signing of a formal agenda for peace talks on May 6, 1999, the FARC-government peace process entered a phase of topic-by-topic negotiations. While progress has been slow, both sides have agreed to begin negotiations with discussions of economic issues, specifically unemployment.

The negotiators have also established a "thematic committee," empowered to organize public forums ("audiencias"), gather information, and make recommendations.

Government and FARC negotiators
"Thematic Committee"
  • Camilo Gómez Alzate, high commissioner for peace
  • Four "consultants":
    • Manuel Salazar
    • Ricardo Correa
    • Reinaldo Botero
    • Luis Fernando Criales
  • Three "advisors" (all of them former negotiators):
    • Juan Gabriel Uribe
    • Monsignor Alberto Giraldo
    • Ramón de la Torre
  • Raúl Reyes
  • Joaquín Gómez
  • Simón Trinidad
  • Andrés Paris
  • Carlos Antonio Lozada



  • Roberto Pombo, coordinator
  • Andrés González, goveror of Cundinamarca department
  • Juan Gómez Martínez, mayor of Medellín
  • Ana Teresa Bernal, director of REDEPAZ
  • Fernando Dejanon
  • David Manzur
  • Camilo Leguízamo
  • Monsignor Luis Augusto Castro


  • Iván Ríos, coordinator
  • Mariana Páez
  • Domingo Biohó
  • Felipe Rincón
  • Marco León Calarcá
  • Julián Conrado
  • Gabriel Angel
  • Fidel Rondón
  • Bayron Yepes
  • Pedro Aldana
For more on these committees, visit

January 8, 2002

A new meeting between the FARC and Colombian government fails to make progress. The FARC continues to cite government controls on the demilitarized zone as the chief obstacle to progress in the talks and to the guerrillas' compliance with the October 2001 "San Francisco de la Sombra" accord. In a letter, FARC leader Manuel Marulanda leaves the talks' future up to President Pastrana. He also proposes a timetable, should the present difficulties be overcome: discussion of a subsidy for the unemployed in February and March, and discussion of a ceasefire in April and May. The FARC releases a series of open letters to officials and sectors of society.

  • FARC communiqué, January 8, 2002 [Español]
  • Letter from Marulanda to Pastrana, January 6, 2002 [Español]
  • FARC letter to peasant organizations, January 8, 2002 [Español]
  • FARC letter to Colombian Congress, January 8, 2002 [Español]
  • FARC letter to Monsignor Alberto Giraldo, president of the Colombian Episcopal Conference, January 8, 2002 [Español]
  • FARC letter to business groups, January 8, 2002 [Español]
  • FARC letter to United Nations representative James LeMoyne, January 8, 2002 [Español]
  • FARC letter to the armed forces, January 8, 2002 [Español]
  • FARC letter to the international "group of friends" of the peace process, January 8, 2002 [Español]
  • FARC letter to Colombian teachers and students, January 8, 2002 [Español]
  • FARC letter to Victor Ricardo, Colombian ambassador to Great Britain and former high commissioner for peace, January 8, 2002 [Español]
  • FARC letter to Colombian workers, January 8, 2002 [Español]

January 4, 2002

No progress is made after two days of talks between Colombian government and FARC representatives. The FARC continues to insist that the government lift the control measures it has implemented in the area surrounding the group's demilitarized zone -- activities such as border controls and air patrols that the guerrillas view as tantamount to a blockade. Arguing that the control measures have brought a reduction in kidnappings, the government -- particularly armed forces chief Gen. Fernando Tapias -- has made clear its intention to keep them in place.

  • FARC communiqué, January 4, 2002 [Español]
  • Government communiqué, January 6, 2001 [Español]

December 24, 2001

The FARC and Colombian government agree to hold talks, for the first time since mid-October, on January 3 and 4, 2002. According to a January 3 FARC communiqué, the talks' purpose is "to find formulas to get the process moving and to allow for discussion" of the talks' common agenda [English | Spanish], a cease-fire, subsidies for the unemployed, the September recommendations of the "notables commission," and the October "San Francisco de la Sombra" accord.

  • FARC communiqué, January 3, 2002 [Español]
  • FARC communiqué, December 25, 2001 [Español]

November 20, 2001

FARC leader Manuel Marulanda invites President Pastrana and leaders of business groups, Colombia's congress, judiciary and Catholic church to a January 15 meeting in the demilitarized zone. The meeting, Marulanda indicates, would seek to determine "what is negotiable" among a list of concerns, among them Plan Colombia, drug crop eradication, prisoner exchanges, and paramilitarism. The meeting would occur five days before the January 20, 2002 deadline for expiration of the demilitarized zone where talks are taking place. The Colombian government declared it would "study" Marulanda's proposal and respond in writing.

  • [Español] Text of Marulanda's letter, November 20, 2001

November 13, 2001

The UN Secretary-General's special representative for Colombia's peace talks, Jan Egeland, resigns to head the Norwegian Red Cross. He is replaced by Egeland's deputy, UNDP official and former New York Times reporter James LeMoyne.

November 12, 2001

Residents of the indigenous community of Caldono, Cauca, resist an attempted FARC takeover of their town by assembling non-violently in the town center. Similiar examples of non-violent resistance to incursions follow in several indigenous towns in southwest Colombia. FARC fighters kill some non-violent resisters in Puracé, Cauca, on December 31, 2001.

  • FARC message to the indigenous communities of southwestern Colombia, August 12, 2001 [Spanish]

November 7, 2001

In a letter to his group's peace negotiators, FARC leader Manuel Marulanda issues a set of demands for the restarting of stalled peace talks. These include, among others, a suspension of government overflights of the demilitarized zone, a government affirmation that the FARC are not terrorists or narco-traffickers, an end to military incursions in the zone (the Colombian military denies any such episodes have occurred), and suspension of the government's ban on unauthorized foreigners in the zone. If these demands are not met, Marulanda says, "it will be necessary to agree upon a day ... to officially hand over" the demilitarized zone to the government. President Pastrana and other government officials reject Marulanda's "ultimatum."

  • [Español] Letter from Marulanda to FARC negotiators, November 7, 2001

October 24-25, 2001

In two speeches, U.S. Ambassador to Colombia Anne Patterson warns that Washington will seek to extradite guerrilla and paramilitary leaders alleged to be involved in narcotrafficking, and compares Colombia's armed groups to Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda terrorist organization. "My government is concerned by the use of the [FARC] demilitarized zone as a base for terrorist acts," Patterson adds. While she states that "the United States must do more to combat terrorism in Colombia," Patterson affirms that "Plan Colombia remains the most effective anti-terrorist strategy we could design."

  • [Español] Speech by U.S. Ambassador to Colombia Anne Patterson, Bogotá, Colombia, October 25, 2001
  • [Español] Speech by U.S. Ambassador to Colombia Anne Patterson, Cartagena, Colombia, October 24, 2001

October 17, 2001

FARC leader Manuel Marulanda orders his negotiators to stay away from talks with the Colombian government until the military ceases overflights and alleged inflitration of the FARC demilitarized zone.

  • Letter from Marulanda to Pastrana, October 25, 2001 [Spanish]
  • Memorandum from FARC negotiators, October 20, 2001 [Spanish]
  • Response from Colombian government to FARC communiqués, October 17, 2001 [Spanish]
  • Letter from Marulanda to FARC negotiators, October 16, 2001 [Spanish]
  • Letter from Marulanda to President Pastrana, October 16, 2001 [Spanish]
  • Memorandum from FARC negotiators to Colombian government, October 15, 2001 [Spanish]

October 15, 2001

Addressing a press conference at the Organization of American States, State Department Coordinator for Counterterrorism Francis X. Taylor tells reporters that the United States will fight hemispheric terrorism using "all the elements of our national power as well as the elements of the national power of all the countries in our region." At a House subcommittee hearing on October 10, Taylor identified the FARC as "the most dangerous international terrorist group based in this hemisphere."

October 5, 2001

Days before the FARC demilitarized zone's next expiration deadline, FARC and Colombian government negotiators sign the "San Francisco de la Sombra Accord," allowing the zone to be renewed until January 20. (FARC negotiators expressed disappointment that it was not renewed until August, when President Pastrana's term ends.) The accord commits both sides to focusing talks on conditions for a cease-fire, and the FARC pledges to cease its practice of "miracle fishing" -- staging roadblocks and kidnapping travelers for ransom. The government pledged to increase anti-paramilitary efforts.

  • San Francisco de la Sombra Accord, October 5, 2001 [English | Spanish]

September 30, 2001

Soldiers find the body of Consuelo Araújonoguera, a popular former minister of Culture and the wife of Attorney-General Edgardo Maya. Araujonoguera had been kidnapped September 24 by the FARC at a roadblock near Valledupar, Cesar. The FARC admit the kidnapping but deny the murder, though witnesses say her guerrilla captors shot her at pointblank range while they were being pursued by the Army.

On September 29, Liberal Party presidential candidate Horacio Serpa was forced to give up an attempt to lead a protest march into the FARC demilitarized zone. FARC fighters at the zone's entrance fired warning shots with rifles and mortars, calling into question the status of the zone just over a week before its renewal deadline.

  • FARC communiqué, October 2, 2001 [Spanish]
  • FARC Caribbean Bloc communiqué, October 1, 2001 [Spanish]
  • FARC Southern Bloc communiqué, September 12, 2001 [Spanish]

September 19, 2001

The "notables commission" created on May 11 to find solutions to the paramilitary problem issues a report recommending that the government-FARC talks proceed under a six-month cease-fire. Under the proposed agreement, the FARC would abstain from kidnappings and extortion, while the government would pay for the FARC members' basic needs and refrain from fumigating small-holding coca-growers.
  • "Propuestas concretas de las FARC-EP al gobierno de Pastrana para agilizar el Proceso de Paz," letter from Marulanda to Pastrana, September 12, 2001 [Spanish]
  • Communiqué #30 from negotiators, September 7, 2001 [Spanish]
  • Letter from FARC negotiators to government negotiator Camilo Gómez, August 22, 2001 [Spanish]

August 13, 2001

The Colombian government arrests three suspected members of the Irish Republican Army in the Bogotá airport. James Monaghan, Martin McCauley and David Bracken are accused of spending five weeks in the FARC demilitarized zone, offering training in urban terror tactics.
September 19, 2001
The "notables commission" created on May 11 to find solutions to the paramilitary problem issues a report recommending that the government-FARC talks proceed under a six-month cease-fire. Under the proposed agreement, the FARC would abstain from kidnappings and extortion, while the government would pay for the FARC members' basic needs and refrain from fumigating small-holding coca-growers.
July 31, 2001
The Pastrana government names a new team of negotiators (Now called "consultants") for its talks with the FARC. The four so-called "consultants" are Manuel Salazar, the president's advisor for social policy; Ricardo Correa, secretary-general of the National Association of Industries (ANDI, one of Colombia's main business associations); Reinaldo Botero, coordinator of the government's human rights program; and Luis Fernando Criales, the assistant high commissioner for peace for the FARC peace talks.
July 15-16, 2001
Two FARC kidnappings anger the international community and slow the pace of the peace talks. On July 15, FARC guerrillas in Meta department kidnap the department's former governor, Alan Jara, while he was traveling in a clearly marked United Nations vehicle. A FARC statement issued later accuses Jara of paramilitary ties, criticizes the UN for transporting him, and promises to submit the former governor to a "popular tribunal." On July 16, the FARC kidnaps three German development workers in Cauca department, demanding an end to fumigations in the zone (which had started the day before). The United Nations and European Union issue strong protests, amid speculation that the guerrillas' actions will affect international support for the peace process.
  • FARC statement on Jara kidnapping, July 19, 2001 [Spanish]
  • FARC statement on German citizens' kidnapping, October 11, 2001 [Spanish]
  • FARC statement on German citizens' kidnapping, August 24, 2001 [Spanish]
July 11, 2001
      • FARC negotiators' second report to Manuel Marulanda [Spanish]
July 7, 2001
Queen Noor of Jordan and America Online founder James Kimsey visit the demilitarized zone for a meeting with Manuel Marulanda and High Commissioner for Peace Camilo Gómez.
June 28, 2001
The FARC unilaterally releases 242 soldiers and police agents it has held prisoner for months, in most cases for years. The group threatens to increase its kidnappings, however. FARC leader Jorge Briceño ("El Mono Jojoy") told the prisoners, "We have to grab people from the Senate, from Congress, judges and ministers, from all the three powers (of the Colombian state), and we'll see how they squeal."
The public-relations impact of the release is further dulled by the group's kidnapping of Hernán Mejía Campuzano, vice-president of the Colombian Soccer Federation. Though Mejía was not kidnapped because of his position -- the guerrillas released him on June 29 -- the crime proved likely to force the Copa América soccer tournament, scheduled to begin in mid-July in Colombia, to relocate to another country.
June 23, 2001
FARC militias attack the La Picota prison in southern Bogotá, freeing 98 prisoners, including several FARC and ELN members.

June 5, 2001

The FARC releases police Col. Alvaro León Acosta and three other officers, the beginning of compliance with a prisoner exchange agreement. Under the June 2 accord, the FARC will free 42 sick military and police personnel in exchange for 15 ailing guerrillas in government prisons.
May 22, 2001
      • FARC negotiators' first report to Manuel Marulanda [Spanish]
May 11, 2001
The negotiators establish a commission to recommend ways to do away with paramilitarism. Its members are Ana Mercedes Gómez Martíne, Carlos Lozano Guillén, Vladimiro Naranjo Mesa, and Alberto Pinzón Sánchez.
A two-person commission (Luis Fernando Criales and Simón Trinidad) is formed to evaluate the status of the demilitarized zone, in accordance with point 8 of the Los Pozos accord.
  • Communiqué no. 29, May 11, 2001 [English | Spanish]
April 5, 2001
The negotiators meet with members of the "Commission of Friendly Countries" of the peace process (Canada, Cuba, France, Italy, Mexico, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Venezuela), establishing guidelines for the commission's operation.
  • Communiqué no. 28, April 5, 2001 [English | Spanish]
The Government and the FARC continue to hold negotiations for a possible "humanitarian exchange." As part of this swap the FARC wants the government to release a group of captive rebels in exchange for some of the 500 servicemen in its custody.
Government and FARC sources stated that plans for a swap are in doubt. Earlier Marulanda and Pastrana had agreed to try and arrange a prisoner exchange. The FARC had presented a list of 85 prisoners they hope to release. The army fears freeing the prisoners, many of whom suffer from relatively mild ailments, would hit troop morale and encourage soldiers to murder guerrillas who surrend.
March 9, 2001
The negotiators meet with representatives of twenty-six foreign governments to inform them about the process. The United States declines an invitation to attend.
  • Communiqué no. 27, March 9, 2001 [English | Spanish]
March 2, 2001
Three months after her kidnapping the FARC released the teenage daughter of a leading businessman as "peace gesture."
February 27, 2001
Pastrana meets with President Bush in Washington a day after a State Department report blasts the human rights situation in Colombia. Bush agreed in principle to strengthen trade with Colombia, but refused Pastrana's call for a U.S. role in peace negotiations with the FARC.
  • Communiqué from "fuerzas políticas," February 28, 2001 [English | Spanish]
  • Communiqué no. 26, February 23, 2001 [English | Spanish]
  • Communiqué no. 25, February 16, 2001 [English | Spanish]
February 8-9, 2001
President Pastrana stays overnight in the FARC demilitarized zone between two days of meetings with FARC leader Manuel Marulanda. The leaders emerge with a deal to revive peace talks, the 13-point "Pact of Los Pozos."
Pastrana and Marulanda agree to extend the demilitarized zone for another 8 months, and to negotiate a prisoner exchange and a possible ceasefire. The Pact creates a 3-panel advisory group that will report on the paramilitary and guerilla terrorism problem, side issues that could threaten the peace process, and conditions in the demilitarized zone. The language of the pact was often ambiguous, but increased optimism about the peace talks' future.
  • "Los Pozos Accord," February 9, 2001 [English | Spanish]
  • "The Peace Process and the Public Hearings," from FARC publication Resistencia 25, February 2001 [English | Spanish]
February 3, 2001
Pastrana pays a brief visit to the FARC demilitarized zone to speak with residents.
January 31-February 2, 2001
On the eve of a new deadline for the FARC demilitarized zone, President Pastrana extends the zone for four more days, asking for a face-to-face meeting with FARC leader Manuel Marulanda. Marulanda accepts a meeting on February 8.
January 23, 2001
The FARC rejects a Colombian government proposal for re-starting the talks, which had called for an end to kidnappings and the guerrillas' use of homemade bombs. With a January 31 deadline for renewal of the demilitarized zone approaching, the Colombian Army announces that 600 counter-guerrilla troops have been airlifted to sites near the zone. "If Manuel Marulanda wants an extension of the safe haven, he has to sit at the negotiating table," President Pastrana said.
January 10, 2001
Reports indicate that the FARC may release 100-150 soldiers and police officers in its custody by the middle of February.
  • Communiqué, January 18, 2001 [English | Spanish]
January 7, 2001
The two-year anniversary of the FARC peace talks passes in a moment of pessimism, with dialogues frozen since mid-November.
December 29, 2000
Diego Turbay, a Colombian legislator who headed a congressional peace committee, is assassinated along with his mother and five other people on a highway in southern Caquetá department, not far from the FARC demilitarized zone. The assassination is widely attributed to the FARC, casting further doubt on the future of peace talks.
December 12, 2000
Colombian Army chief Gen. Jorge Mora declares that the Army is prepared to reclaim the FARC demilitarized zone whenever it is called upon to do so.
December 6, 2000
Though the FARC maintains its freeze on the talks, President Pastrana announces that the guerrillas' despeje (demilitarized) zone is extended until January 31, 2001.
December 1, 2000
Camilo Gomez, Colombia's chief peace negotiator, meets FARC leader Manuel Marulanda though the talks remain officially "frozen."
November 15, 2000
The FARC declares a unilateral "freeze" on the peace process. The guerrillas say they are suspending the talks until the government takes firmer measures against paramilitary groups.
October 29, 2000
Elections are held for both municipal and departmental posts. Officials said that aside from isolated fighting between members of the FARC and army troops in the outlying provinces, voting was carried out with no major disruptions.
  • Communiqué October 30, 2000 [English | Spanish]
  • Communiqué no. 24, October 26, 2000 [English | Spanish]
  • Communiqué no. 23, October 23, 2000 [English | Spanish]
September 24, 2000
The FARC calls an "armed strike" in the southern deparment of Putumayo, where the U.S.-funded anti-drug offensive is to take place. Demanding an end to the Plan Colombia's military component, the guerrillas prohibit all vehicle traffic on Putumayo's roads. As a result, isolated towns and hamlets suffer severe shortages of food, gasoline and drinking water. The strike lasts until early December, when the FARC unilaterally lifts it.
September 8, 2000
A FARC guerrilla named Arnubio Ramos hijacks a commuter airliner and forces it to land in San Vicente del Caguán in the FARC demilitarized zone. Government officials insist that the guerrillas turn Ramos over as an indication of their commitment to the peace process. The guerrillas refuse to hand him over, arguing that Ramos hijacked the plane on his own account and "the FARC bears no responsibility."
July 20, 2000
FARC statement on Plan Colombia and US strategy, July 20, 2000 [English | Spanish]
July 3, 2000
FARC and government negotiators exchange cease-fire proposals in sealed envelopes. Though the proposals are to be discussed after a one-month analysis period, no progress toward a truce is made.
  • FARC cease-fire proposal [English | Spanish]
June 29-30, 2000
More than 20 diplomats from Europe, Canada, Japan and the United Nations meet in San Vicente del Caguán with Colombian officials and FARC leaders to talk about alternatives to drug production. This is the first discussion of drug policy since peace talks began.
May 17, 2000
President Pastrana suspends peace talks with the FARC for several days after a woman in Boyacá department was killed by a bomb placed around her neck. It is the first time since the peace process began that the government has suspended the talks. A few days later, the Colombian government acknowledges that evidence does not indicate that the FARC committed the crime.
April 26, 2000
Victor G. Ricardo, the high commissioner for peace, announces his resignation. While Ricardo said that he was leaving because the peace process had reached "a point of no return," many observers speculated that frequent death threats influenced his decision.
Camilo Gómez, the president's private secretary and a member of the government negotiating team, replaces Ricardo as high commissioner.
  • Speech launching the "Movimiento Bolivariano," April 29, 2000 [English | Spanish]
  • Communiqué no. 15, April 28, 2000 [English | Spanish]
  • Communiqué no. 14, April 28, 2000 [English | Spanish]
  • Communiqué no. 13, April 27, 2000 [English | Spanish]
April 25, 2000
The FARC's military head, Jorge Briceño Suárez, el "Mono Jojoy", announces that any person whose net worth exceeds 1 million dollars would be "taxed" by the FARC.
April 15-16, 2000
A second round of "public audiences" are held in Los Pozos.
  • FARC bulletin, April 2000 [English | Spanish]
April 13, 2000
Government and FARC negotiators announce that a possible open-ended cease-fire agreement is "on the table." Cease-fire discussions are to take place behind closed doors, with confidential proposals. According to reports, the FARC's proposal foresees a temporary cessation of hostilities for a fixed period that can be extended. A bilateral government-FARC commission would verify the agreement. The most difficult condition in the FARC proposal is a demand that the cease-fire apply to all parties to the conflict, including right-wing paramilitary groups.
  • Communiqué no. 12, April 13, 2000 [English | Spanish]
April 9-11, 2000
The FARC and Colombian government host a "Public Audience" in Los Pozos, inviting Colombian organizations and citizens to the demilitarized zone for an open discussion on "the generation of employment." Though the meetings were marked by tensions between representatives of unions and business groups, both called on the FARC to implement a cease-fire, a halt to kidnappings and respect for international humanitarian law in the conflict.
  • FARC bulletin, April 2000 [English | Spanish]
  • FARC communiqué on unemployment, April 7, 2000 [English | Spanish]
  • Communiqué no. 11, April 3, 2000 [English | Spanish]
March 27, 2000
The FARC earns widespread condemnation by carrying out a brutal attack in Vigía del Fuerte, Chocó, killing 21 policemen and several civilians.
March 17, 2000
A group including some of Colombia's most important businessmen (known colloquially as "los cacaos") travels to the zone for a meeting with Marulanda and the FARC leadership.
March 15, 2000
America Online co-founder James Kimsey travels to the FARC demilitarized zone for a meeting with Marulanda. The meeting's purpose is to educate the guerrillas about the changes in the world economy wrought by new technologies and international investment flows.
  • Communiqué no. 10, March 9, 2000 [English | Spanish]
  • Communiqué no. 9, March 9, 2000 [English | Spanish]
January 31- February 16, 2000
Peace Commissioner Victor G. Ricardo and a delegation of FARC negotiators travel to Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Italy, France and Spain on a "tour" facilitated by Jan Egeland, the special representative for Colombia of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The trip's primary purpose is to inform the negotiations' discussion of Colombia's economic model by familiarizing participants with the mixed economies of Scandinavia and Western Europe. An unstated secondary goal of the visit is to increase the FARC's exposure to a changing world and the international community's expectations.
  • FARC letter to Victor G. Ricardo, January 29, 2000 [English | Spanish]
  • Manuel Marulanda letter to President Pastrana, January 29, 2000 [English | Spanish]
  • Communiqué no. 8, January 28, 2000 [English | Spanish]

Negotiators' trip to Europe, January-February 2000
  • Communiqué from Sweden, February 3, 2000 [English | Spanish]
  • Communiqué from Sweden, February 5, 2000 [English | Spanish]
  • Communiqué from Sweden, February 6, 2000 [English | Spanish]
  • Communiqué from Sweden, February 9, 2000 [English | Spanish]
  • Communiqué from Norway, February 10, 2000 [English | Spanish]
  • Communiqué from Norway, February 11, 2000 [English | Spanish]
  • Communiqué from Norway, February 12, 2000 [English | Spanish]
  • Communiqué from Italy, February 15, 2000 [English | Spanish]
  • Communiqué from Switzerland, February 19, 2000 [English | Spanish]
  • Communiqué from Spain, February 23, 2000 [English | Spanish]
  • Communiqué upon return to Colombia, March 2, 2000 [English | Spanish]

January 20, 2000

With Colombia's economic model the first topic on the agenda, Finance Minister Juan Camilo Restrepo travels to Los Pozos to meet Marulanda and seven other FARC leaders. The purpose of their meeting is to evaluate the cost of making peace and other economic issues, particularly unemployment.

  • FARC communiqué 7, January 15, 2000 [Spanish]
January 13, 2000

Peace talks with the FARC re-start. On January 14 FARC leader Marulanda pays a surprise visit to the site of the talks in Los Pozos, Meta. Marulanda voices optimism, stating that the talks are near the point at which substantive negotiations, following the twelve-point agenda agreed on May 6, 1999, may begin.

December 9-20, 1999

The FARC carries out another offensive, with combat occurring in seven different departments. The greatest casualties result from a FARC attack on a naval post in Juradó, Chocó, near the border with Panama, and from a military aerial attack on FARC fighters outside Hobo, Huila. On December 20, the FARC announces a holiday cease-fire, calling off military operations until January 10, 2000. Peace talks are to resume on January 13.

  • FARC communiqué, 20 December 1999 [English | Spanish]
  • Communiqué no. 6, December 19, 1999 [English | Spanish]
December 5, 1999

FARC leaders and Colombian government officials hold a televised meeting at Los Pozos, Meta, asking the Colombian people for suggestions or questions via e-mail, fax and phone. The event, however, is plagued by technical difficulties which prevent many Colombians from viewing it or contacting the participants.

  • Communiqué no. 5, December 3, 1999 [English | Spanish]
November 14, 1999

A FARC offensive -- believed to be a response to President Pastrana's call for a holiday cease-fire -- deals the peace process another setback. The Colombian armed forces turn back a FARC attempt to take Puerto Inírida, the capital of remote Guainía department.

  • Communiqué no. 4, November 19-20, 1999 [English | Spanish]
  • FARC statement, November 15, 1999 [English | Spanish]
  • Communiqué no. 3, November 5, 1999 [English | Spanish]
  • Communiqué no. 2, November 2, 1999 [English | Spanish]
October 24, 1999

Between 6 and 12 million Colombians mobilize in the streets to demand an end to the fighting. Several Colombian peace and human rights groups, among them País Libre, Redepaz and Viva la Ciudadanía, organized this nationwide protest against kidnappings and the armed conflict.

This same date also witnessed a re-starting of talks between the FARC and the Colombian government.

  • Communiqué no. 1, October 25, 1999 [English | Spanish]
July 19, 1999

Citing an inability to agree upon the creation of an international verification commission, FARC-government talks are suspended until July 30th. FARC spokesman Raúl Reyes argues that Colombia's military is exaggerating the threat posed by the FARC in order to obtain foreign aid.

July 8-12, 1999

The FARC launches a five-day offensive throughout Colombia which one army official calls "the largest and most demented guerilla offensive in the past forty years." The campaign encompasses 15 towns, one of which is just 35 miles south of Bogotá. The guerillas bomb banks, blow up bridges and energy infrastructure, block roads and assault police barracks. The Colombian military successfully counters the offensive, thanks in part to U.S. intelligence monitoring which enables government aircraft to bomb FARC transports en route to their target areas. Government reports claim that upwards of 300 combatants lose their lives in the fighting, over 200 of them FARC guerillas. The FARC accuses the government of exaggerating FARC losses.

July 6, 1999

The government and FARC postpone peace talks until the 19th of July. The reasons given for the postponement are (1) the inability of three members of the FARC negotiating team to arrive at the clearance zone on time, and (2) the need for more time to define "the rules of the game" for the international commission -- a result of the May 2 agreement between Pastrana and Marulanda -- that will verify conditions in the clearance zone.

June 20, 1999

The government announces that the formal negotiations with the FARC will begin on July 7th.

June 4, 1999

The Center for International Policy leads a delegation from the U.S. Congress to Colombia. Rep. William Delahunt (D-MA) and staff members for six other members of Congress. On June 4, the delegation, accompanied by Colombian government Peace Commissioner Víctor G. Ricardo, travels to the clearance zone for a meeting with FARC comandante Raúl Reyes. The U.S. delegation raises concerns about the FARC's willingness to seek a political solution, its links to the drug trade, kidnappings and murders of U.S. citizens.

May 26, 1999

The respected Minister of Defense, Rodrigo Lloreda, abruptly resigns, citing disagreements over the peace process with the FARC. Lloreda protested statements made on May 21 by government Peace Commissioner Víctor G. Ricardo indicating that the "clearance zone" might be extended indefinitely. The defense minister also cited Pastrana's failure to return a phone call inquiring about Ricardo's statements.

Lloreda's resignation is accompanied by the alarming resignations of at least fifty other high-ranking officers, including eighteen generals. While President Pastrana accepts Lloreda's resignation, he refuses to accept the others. The head of the armed forces, Gen. Fernando Tapias, offers Pastrana a public show of support.

  • FARC communiqué, May 30, 1999 [English | Spanish]

Dialogue Phase ("Mesa de Diálogo"), January-May 1999
"Dialogues" -- not negotiations -- between the government and FARC began on January 7, 1999 with a ceremony in San Vicente del Caguán, the largest town in the five-municipality FARC demilitarized zone. These discussions ended on May 6, 1999 with the signing of a formal agenda for formal negotiations.
Government and FARC "spokespersons"


  • Camilo Gómez
  • Rodolfo Espinosa Meola
  • Nicanor Restrepo Santamaría
  • Fabio Valencia Cossio
  • María Emma Mejía Vélez


  • Raúl Reyes
  • Joaquín Gómez
  • Fabián Ramírez

May 6, 1999
FARC and government officials meet and agree on a joint agenda for formal negotiations, a stage that past talks with the FARC were unable to reach. The formal talks are to begin in approximately three weeks.
Common Agenda for the peace talks [English | Spanish]
  • Colombian Government proposal for negotiating agenda [English | Spanish]
  • FARC proposal for negotiating agenda [English | Spanish]
  • Final Communiqué, 6 May [English | Spanish]
  • Joint Communiqué, May 6, 1999 [English | Spanish]
  • Communiqué no. 7, May 4, 1999 [English | Spanish]
  • FARC communiqué, May 2, 1999 [English | Spanish]
  • Joint communiqué, Marulanda and Pastrana, May 2, 1999 [English | Spanish]
  • Letter from Marulanda to Victor Ricardo, May 10, 1999 [English | Spanish]
May 2, 1999
President Pastrana visits FARC rebels in the "clearance zone" for the second time since becoming president. Pastrana meets with FARC leader Marulanda for six hours, convincing him to agree to formal peace talks with the government starting May 6th. In a statement released by Pastrana, the president indicates the "unwavering political commitment of both sides to find a political solution to the conflict." Although the size of the clearance zone is not expanded, its expiration date is postponed. The two leaders also agree to form an international verification commission that will verify agreements and monitor FARC actions in the zone.
April 20 - May 1, 1999
Unofficial talks between government and FARC representatives begin in the southern demilitarized zone. FARC leaders say the talks are still officially "frozen" while it evaluates the government's efforts against paramilitary groups. Pushing for an expansion of the "clearance zone" in order to enact a cocaine crop substitution program, FARC officials say that they will end all peace talks if the government does not at least push back the zone's May 7 expiration date.
  • Communiqué no. 6, April 30 [English | Spanish]
  • Communiqué no. 5, April 25 [English | Spanish]
  • Communiqué no. 4, April 21 [English | Spanish]
  • Government communiqué, March 8, 1999 [English | Spanish]
February 25, 1999
Three U.S. indigenous-rights activists, Terence Freitas, Lahe'ena'e Gay, and Ingrid Washinawatok, are abducted February 25 by FARC guerrillas in the northeastern state of Arauca. Their bodies are found on March 6.
The three activists had been working with the U'wa, an indigenous ethnic group in the region. After conducting its own investigation, the FARC admits responsibility for the murders on March 11, asking forgiveness and blaming the act on a low-ranking field commander in the area.
The Colombian government alleges that higher-ranking FARC commanders ordered the killings, including the chief of one of the fronts operating in the area, Germán Briceño ("Grannobles"), the brother of number-two FARC leader Jorge Briceño. The U.S. State Department announces that it will not meet again with FARC representatives, as it did in December 1998, unless the FARC turns those responsible for the crime over to Colombian authorities.
February 6, 1999
Though talks with the FARC remain frozen, the Pastrana government announces a 90-day extension of the guerrilla group's demilitarized zone in southern Colombia. The "clearance zone" is now to expire on May 7.
  • FARC communiqué, February 6, 1999 [English | Spanish]
  • Government communiqué, February 26, 1999 [English | Spanish]
January 19, 1999
Claiming an upsurge in paramilitary activity, the FARC "freezes" the peace dialogue until April 20.
  • Communiqué no. 3, January 25, 1999[English | Spanish]
  • FARC communiqué, January 24, 1999 [English | Spanish]
  • Government communiqué, January 20, 1999 [English | Spanish]
  • Government communiqué, January 19, 1999 [English | Spanish]
  • FARC communiqué, January 18, 1999 [English | Spanish]
  • Communiqué no. 2, January 11, 1999[English | Spanish]
  • Communiqué no. 1, January 9, 1999 [English | Spanish]
January 7, 1999

Formal peace talks begin between the government and FARC. "Tirofijo," however, fails to appear at the opening ceremony, leaving President Pastrana seated alone at the table. The FARC claims that the snub was unintended, citing concerns about a threat to assassinate the guerrilla leader.

  • Speech by President Andrés Pastrana at opening of talks, January 7, 1999 [English | Spanish]
  • Speech delivered by FARC negotiator Joaquín Gómez, in name of Manuel "Tirofijo" Marulanda, at opening of talks, January 7, 1999 [English | Spanish]

October 8, 1998
Government and guerrilla representatives continue discussions about a FARC proposal to pull all security forces out of five municipalities in southern Colombia, creating a temporary "clearance zone" for the holding of peace talks. The municipalities are Vistahermosa, La Macarena, Uribe, and Mesetas in Meta department, and San Vicente del Caguán in Caquetá department.
The guerrillas' clearance plan requires that the "Cazadores" Infantry Battalion vacate their headquarters in San Vicente del Caguán, Caquetá. The government, however, insists that the 130 troops stationed there be allowed to remain.
July 9, 1998
Pastrana(right) , now president-elect, travels to the mountains of rural Colombia to meet with FARC leaders, including Marulanda (left).
June 15, 1998:
With popular clamor growing for a peaceful resolution of the conflict, peace becomes a key issue in Colombia's ongoing presidential campaign. Candidate Andrés Pastrana reveals that an emissary, future High Commissioner for Peace Víctor G. Ricardo, met with Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) leader Manuel Marulanda Vélez (alias "Tirofijo," or "Sureshot").
December 14, 1998
FARC leader "Tirofijo" and Ricardo agree to hold talks between the two parties beginning January 7, 1999. Ricardo agrees to withdraw the Cazadores Battalion, apparently without consulting the army.

Other Documents:

Summary of demands, from Peace on the Table (1998)

Link to FARC website


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