This is an August 2007 copy of a website maintained by the Center for International Policy. It is posted here for historical purposes. The Center for International Policy no longer maintains this resource.

Last Updated:8/7/01
Peace Timeline : 2000
Pre-1999 | 1999 | 2001
| 2002

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 23, 2000

As an act of goodwill, the ELN releases forty-two police and military officials it had taken hostage.

December 15, 2000

A prominent union leader, Federation of State Workers President Wilson Borja, is wounded in a shootout that kills two people.

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 8, 2000

The second of three U.S.-created Colombian Army counternarcotics battalions "graduates" at a ceremony in Larandia, Caquetá department.

Gen. Peter Pace, head of the U.S. Southern Command, congratulates a graduate. (Associated Press photo)

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 29, 2000

Carlos Julio Rosas, mayor of Orito, Putumayo, is assassinated. He is the seventeenth Colombian mayor killed this year.

November 28, 2000

U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone, a critic of the military component of the U.S. aid package, visits Colombia. While in Colombia, Wellstone observes the spraying of coca fields and travels to Barrancabermeja for a meeting with human rights defenders.

November 19-21, 2000

A delegation of U.S. officials meet government representatives for talks about implementation of the U.S. aid package.

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.

November 14, 2000

Rep. Benjamin Gilman, R-N.Y., a key congressional supporter of the aid package, declares the U.S. aid package "a major mistake" in a letter to anti-drug chief Barry McCaffrey.

November 9, 2000

Paramilitaries free the last of the legislators they have kidnapped, after Interior Minister Humberto de la Calle meets with AUC leader Carlos Castaño.

November 1, 2000

The last of the hostages taken by the ELN on September 10 is released.

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.

October 26, 2000

More than six weeks after the Arnubio Ramos hijacking, government and rebel representatives resume talks. Discussions of a possible cease-fire lead the agenda.

October 25, 2000

Paramilitaries kidnap three members of Colombia's Congress, bringing to six the number of legislators abducted during the past week. The kidnappings take place days before October 29 regional and local elections.

October 19, 2000

Four FARC units launch attacks on Dabeiba, Antioquia, and Bagadó, Chocó. The upsurge in fighting comes before nationwide local elections.

October 17-19, 2000

More than 300 people meet in Costa Rica for a three-day meeting known as "Paz Colombia." The meeting aims to increase civil-society participation in peace efforts and to come to agreement on alternatives to the "Plan Colombia."

The meeting brought together representatives from the Colombian government, civil society and one of the largest leftist rebel groups, the National Liberation Army (ELN).

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 10, 2000

The ELN kidnaps at least 50 people along a main road on the outskirts of Cali. The hostages are freed a few weeks later.

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."

August 30, 2000

President Clinton arrives in Cartagena, Colombia for a one-day visit with a delegation of U.S. lawmakers, Cabinet members and diplomats.

August 23, 2000

President Clinton issued a determination waiving all but one of the human rights conditions in the aid package. This step allowed most military assistance to begin flowing.

August 9, 2000

President Andrés Pastrana met with U.S. Undersecretary of State Thomas Pickering and White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Gen. Barry McCaffrey, to discuss preparations for President Clinton's first visit to Colombia Aug. 30. They also discussed implementation of the $7.5 billion ``Plan Colombia.''

July 24-25, 2000

Colombian government officials begin talks in Geneva, Switzerland with the ELN to try to move the peace process forward. Approximately 80 Colombian civil-society representatives also took part in the discussions.

July 13, 2000

President Clinton signs into law H.R. 4425, which contains the aid package for Colombia. This package totals $1.321 billion, about 65 percent of it -- $860.3 million -- for Colombia.

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.

June 28, 2000

A "conference committee" made up of senators and representatives finishes reconciling the differences between the House and Senate versions of the Colombia aid package. Their approved version of the Colombia aid package contains a different mix of helicopters, a combination of the House and Senate human rights conditions but with a waiver allowing the Secretary of State to skip the human rights certification if doing so is in the "national security interest," cuts in the Senate's funding for human rights, removal of a House provision increasing funding for internally displaced persons and removal of the Senate's environmental conditions on herbicides. The conference report goes to the President for his signature.

June 22, 2000

The U.S. Senate approves its version of the Colombia aid package (S. 2522) by a 95-4 vote.

June 18, 2000

Government officials, the ELN, and the mayors of the proposed "encounter zone" meet at the Serranía de San Lucas in Southern Bolivar.

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.

May 9, 2000

The U.S. aid package is presented in the Senate Appropriations Committee. The committee's version contains less military aid and more human rights funding and conditions. An amendment which would have cut about 90 percent of the aid fails by a narrow margin.

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.

Gómez, left, with Ricardo.

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 25, 2000

Government and ELN negotiators announce the creation of an "encounter zone", located in the southern part of Bolivar and northeastern part of Antioquia encompassing the municipalities of Cantagallo and San Pablo in Bolívar and Yondó in Antioquia. The security forces are to vacate these areas to facilitate dialogue with the guerillas, though civil and judicial authorities will continue to be present to guarantee the safety of the citizens. This "encounter zone" will last approximately nine months and will host peace negotiations and the National Convention that has been proposed by the ELN since 1996. The agreement does not establish mechanisms for creating the zone, which opposed by paramilitaries active in the area and many local residents.


Approximate location of ELN "encounter zone"

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.

April 12, 2000

The ELN declares a temporary cease-fire for Easter week.

April 11-12, 2000

President Pastrana travels to Washington to try to re-start U.S. congressional action on the aid proposal. Sen. Lott assures Pastrana that the aid package will be attached to the first available 2001 appropriations bill, and that it will take effect immediately once signed into law. Lott says this could happen as early as late May or early June.

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.

March 29-30, 2000

The U.S. House of Representatives passes an emergency supplemental appropriation for 2000 that includes the administration's aid proposal with few changes.

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.

March 1, 2000

(From Semana magazine)

In a television interview seen by many as a public-relations effort, paramilitary leader Carlos Castaño declares his "respect" for the government-FARC peace process and says he favors the formation of an "encounter zone" -- one municipality in Bolívar or two in Córdoba -- for possible ELN talks. He calls as well for the inclusion of paramilitary groups in peace talks. In the interview, Castaño -- who shows his face for the first time -- is unapologetic about paramilitary atrocities, and again admits that his forces profit by taxing the drug trade.

February 11, 2000

Meeting with government representatives, ELN leaders reiterate their request to demilitarize a 6,000 square-kilometer zone in southern Bolivar department to host subsequent peace talks.

February 6-12

The ELN blockades the main highway between Bogotá and Medellín for several days, demanding that the government demilitarize municipalities in southern Bolívar department to hold peace talks. At the same time, peasants in southern Bolívar -- reportedly encouraged by paramilitaries -- block the main highway from Bogotá to the Caribbean coast to protest a possible demilitarization of their area for ELN talks.

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.

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.

January 13-16, 2000

Its Christmas truce over, the FARC carries out attacks in Nariño department and about 30 miles southeast of Bogota. The Bogota attack is successfully repelled by the Colombian military.

January 11, 2000

The Clinton Administration proposes a $1.273 billion, two-year package of assistance for Colombia. About $1 billion of the package would add new military and police assistance. The aid is to be submitted to Congress for its approval.

U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright pays a visit to Colombia January 14 and 15 to explain the proposed package to Colombian officials.

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.

Pre-1999 | 1999 | 2001 | 2002

See also:

"An Overview of Recent Colombian History," from the Colombia Human Rights Network website.

"Colombia: A Country Study" - US Library of Congress

State Department Background Notes: Colombia

CIA World Factbook 1998: Colombia

CIP's New and Noteworthy Page, including links to current Colombia news

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