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Last Updated:1/8/02
Peace Timeline: 2001
Pre-1999 | 1999 | 2000
| 2002

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]
December 15, 2001
Signing of "Declaration of Havana"

In Havana, Cuba, the Colombian government and ELN guerrillas agree to begin discussions of a cease-fire during the second week of January, and to hold a series of thematic meetings in Cuba from January to June. These meetings, to be attended by a maximum of fifty people, will cover progress and challenges to the talks (January 30-31), International Humanitarian Law (February 25-27), participatory democracy (March 25-27), agrarian problems, narcotrafficking and crop substitution (April 29-May 1), energy and mining (May 27-29), and the economy and social problems (June 24-26).

Two days later, the ELN announces a unilateral cease-fire for the Christmas holiday (December 17-January 6).

  • "Declaration of Havana," December 15, 2001 [Español].
  • ELN Christmas truce communiqué, December 17, 2001 [Español].

November 24, 2001

High Commissioner for Peace Camilo Gómez shakes hands with the ELN's Ramiro Vargas

After a week of meetings in Havana, Cuba, the Colombian government and ELN guerrillas agree to re-start negotiations. President Pastrana had broken off contacts with the group on August 7. The Havana meetings began on November 18, one week after congress members Antonio Navarro Wolff, Benjamín Higuita and Luis Fernando Velasco met with ELN leaders in Venezuela.

According to the government-ELN "Accord for Colombia," the talks are to re-start in Havana on December 12, 2001. Topics will include a possible cease-fire, measures to reduce the conflict, and problems of Colombia's energy sector.

  • [Español] Text of "Accord for Colombia," November 24, 2001

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

Egeland, Lemoyne

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 26 , 2001


Twenty-three mayors from violence-torn eastern Antioquia department secretly negotiate a cease-fire with ELN guerrillas. In exchange for a halt to hostilities, the mayors agree to relocate police stations outside of town centers. The national government strongly opposes the agreement, and on November 19 the AUC paramilitaries kidnap six of the region's mayors.

  • [Español] Letter from AUC to Antioquia Governor Guillermo Gaviria, November 19, 2001

October 24-25, 2001

Amb. Patterson with President Pastrana in July

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

Consuelo Araújonoguera

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.

August 7 , 2001

In a speech before the army, President Pastrana announces that he is cutting off all talks with the ELN guerrillas. Pastrana blames the group's stubbornness in insisting on a paramilitary-free demilitarized zone in San Pablo and Cantagallo municipalities, in southern Bolívar department.

    • Pastrana speech, August 7, 2001 [Spanish]
    • ELN response, August 8, 2001 [Spanish]
    • Paramilitary (AUC) letter to ELN, August 8, 2001 [Spanish]

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

Alan Jara

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 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."
FARC communiqué [Spanish]
The public-relations impact of the release is further dulled by the group's kidnapping of Hernán Mejía Campuzano (right), 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.

March 30, 2001

Pastrana pulls troops from 1,120 sq. mile zone in northern Colombia to create safe haven for ELN and act as a site for direct rebel-government negotiations.

March 23, 2001

Pastrana meets with Venezuelan President Chavez to address strained diplomatic ties due to Venezuelan military exercises and the botched extradition of an ELN guerrilla hijacker captured in Caracas.  Venezuela denied supporting guerrillas and diplomatic ties were "put on a fresh footing".  

February 27, 2001

Pastrana met with President Bush a day after a State Department report blasts human rights situation in Colombia.  Bush agreed to strengthen trade with Colombia, but refused Pastrana's call for a U.S. role in peace negotiations with the FARC.

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.

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 11, 2001

The Colombian government announces new measures to rein in paramilitary groups. Human rights groups are generally skeptical, citing similar past commitments that went unfulfilled.

January 10, 2001

Reports indicate that the FARC may release 100-150 soldiers and police officers in its custody by the middle of February. A car bomb went off in a busy shopping mall parking lot in Medellín; though none claim responsibility, many blame it on an feud between paramilitaries and a powerful Medellín gang. The Colombian military rescues the ELN's fifty-six hostages.

January 7, 2001

The two-year anniversary of the FARC peace talks passes in a moment of pessimism, with dialogues frozen since mid-November.

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