A precarious peace? The threat of paramilitary violence to the peace process in Colombia

Maher, DJ ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0948-5476 and Thomson, A 2018, 'A precarious peace? The threat of paramilitary violence to the peace process in Colombia' , Third World Quarterly, 39 (11) , pp. 2142-2172.

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Abstract

This article provides an investigation into claims that paramilitary violence in Colombia can pose a threat to the peace agreement signed in 2016 between the Colombian government and the FARC rebels. These claims highlight the capacity for paramilitary groups to ‘spoil’ the peace deal. Hitherto, however, there is a lack of scholarly research to investigate the potential of paramilitary spoiling. Firstly, this article highlights the flaws in the government’s perspective that paramilitarism no longer exists in Colombia. Instead, the government argues that Colombia is plagued by criminal bands (known as BACRIMs). Secondly, through fieldwork interviews and questionnaires conducted in FARC demobilisation camps, together with descriptive data analysed through a uniquely coded dataset on violence in western Colombia, this article supports claims that successor paramilitary groups represent a key spoiler threat to the current government-FARC peace process. On the one hand, the paramilitaries can represent a direct spoiler threat by, for instance, violently targeting demobilising FARC guerrillas. On the other hand, successor paramilitary groups represent a key indirect spoiler threat, as paramilitary violence is exacerbating the root causes of the conflict that the peace deal seeks to address, with negative implications for the prospects for peace.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media > Arts, Media and Communication Research Centre
Journal or Publication Title: Third World Quarterly
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 0143-6597
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Dr DJ Maher
Date Deposited: 04 Sep 2018 09:27
Last Modified: 05 Feb 2019 13:29
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/48206

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