August 2023 | UN Security Council to oversee ceasefire between government and ELN
A UN Security Council resolution has approved the role of a UN mission in Colombia to oversee and monitor a ceasefire agreed between the government and the National Liberation Army (Ejercito de Liberacion Nacional, ELN). The ceasefire entered into force in the beginning of August, after negotiations facilitated by international actors over the summer. The ceasefire will be in place for 180 days.
July 2023 | President Petro’s son is arrested in connection with a money-laundering investigation
President Gustavo Petro’s son, local politician Nicolas Petro Burgos, was arrested along with his former spouse, accused of money laundering. Prosecutors launched an investigation into Petro Burgos’s finances after his former spouse revealed that he had received large payments from a former drug trafficker and individuals accused of corruption as contributions to his father’s campaign and peace plan, but reportedly without the knowledge of now president Petro. According to prosecutors, the contributions were kept by Petro Burgos to finance a lavish lifestyle. While initially Petro Burgos denied the allegations, prosecutors affirmed in early August that Petro Burgos acknowledged in a sworn statement to using contributions for his personal enrichment. He reportedly further alleged that Petro’s campaign had received undisclosed funds, including part of the contributions that led to the money laundering investigation, without the knowledge of the now President. President Petro denies that his campaign received any illegal funds.
March 2023 | Setbacks to peace process as rebel group and cartel renew violence
President Gustavo Petro’s government has experienced setbacks to its plans for peace in Colombia. Authorities announced the suspension of a ceasefire that had been put in place in the past months with the main drug trafficking group operating in the country, the Gulf Clan, and announced that military operations against this group would be renewed. The government alleges the Gulf Clan did not respect the ceasefire and has instigated terror among civil population. Petro’s plan for total peace has also suffered a blow due to renewed violence, after an army base was attacked with mortar shells, which the government attributes to the National Liberation Army (ELN). Nine soldiers were killed. While a cease-fire with the rebel group had not yet been agreed, peace talks had been undertaken in previous months after a stalemate of years.
January 2023 | Vice-President Marquez is targeted in an assassination attempt
Vice-President Francia Marquez announced that her security detail had detected an explosive device near her family home. Security officers confirmed that due to the circumstances in which such a device had been found, it could be concluded that Marquez had been the target of an assassination attempt. Francia Marquez, the first woman of African descent to hold the vice-presidency, had previously been the target of threats, harassment and a prior assassination attempt, due to her work as an environmental activist.