The FARC carried out an attack on infrastructure on Sunday, leaving 400000 thousand people without power in Buenaventura, Colombia’s main Pacific port city. Whilst Colombia’s defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon referred to the attack as an act of ‘terrorism’, this demonstrates the FARC’s reengagement with strategic military attacks on critical infrastructure following its suspension of a unilateral ceasefire.
The attack follows the Colombian army’s airstrike attack on the Cauca province, killing 27 FARC guerrillas including Jairo Martínez. Martínez had been a member of the FARC delegate for two separate peace processes, and was allegedly at the FARC camp informing combatants of progress in the current rounds.
The last few months have seen a significant escalation of tensions between the Colombian and the FARC, particularly after the FARC attack in Cauca leaving 11 soldiers dead. As attacks on both sides continue, the question remains: is a bilateral ceasefire necessary at this stage of negotiations?
Given the amount of time that has passed since the commencement of the current round, there are mounting concerns that the peace process may collapse. However, this is the furthest that any Colombian administration has come to achieving a settlement with the FARC, including significant agreement on key agenda items. Moreover, bilateral ceasefires have rarely been agreed upon by the Colombian government, with a key exception being during the Betancur (1982-1986) peace process.
This being said, given mounting pressure it is becoming evident that the Colombian government may have to agree to a bilateral ceasefire, as called on by the FARC. With Colombia’s Attorney General and ombudsman showing their support, as well as Cuba and Norway urging for a bilateral ceasefire, it seems as though this potentially would give the current peace negotiations the boost it needs