USDOS – US Department of State (Author)
Colombia. Rough terrain and dense forest cover, coupled with low population densities and historically weak government presence, define Colombia’s borders with Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. Historically these conditions have allowed terrorist groups to operate, particularly Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) dissidents and the National Liberation Army (ELN). The peace accord between the Government of Colombia and FARC in 2016 led to a normalization of relations, with the latter entering the political sphere. However, ongoing challenges to peace accord implementation and continued security vacuums have created risk for terrorist activity and attacks on civilians, security forces, and infrastructure in some areas in 2019. A troubling number of FARC dissidents, estimated at around 2,600 individuals who chose not to participate in the peace process or have since abandoned the peace process, continued engaging in terrorist and other criminal activities, particularly in border regions and areas previously controlled by the FARC.
The ELN perpetrated armed attacks across the country in 2019. In January, the ELN detonated a car bomb inside Colombia’s national police academy, killing 22 cadets and injuring 87 others. President Duque suspended peace talks with the ELN after assuming office in August 2018, then ended them after the January 2019 attack.
Improved relations with neighboring Ecuador have led to some increased cooperation on law enforcement issues. Colombia also continued to cooperate and share information with the Panamanian National Border Service. Additionally, the Government of Colombia cooperated with Brazil to address potentially problematic areas along their shared borders, while Brazil continued efforts to implement its Integrated Border Monitoring System to monitor its entire border.