Colombia's Bold Gamble for Peace

by Brian Michael Jenkins


Download Free Electronic Document

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 1.2 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.


Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price Price
Add to Cart Paperback21 pages $20.00 $16.00 20% Web Discount

Colombia's recent rash of kidnappings and terrorism has given rise to government efforts to put an end to the guerrilla warfare and political violence that have plagued the country for twenty years. To this end, in 1982 the government passed a law granting unconditional amnesty for all acts of rebellion and all crimes connected with the rebellion and later negotiated ceasefires with most of the guerrilla groups. While the amnesty and ceasefire negotiations provoked some divisions within guerrilla ranks, the level of violence increased, as did the number of kidnappings in 1983 and 1984. The government's single-minded pursuit of peace, driven largely by President Belisario Betancur, has provided the guerrillas with time to rest, recruit, and rearm, and has, to some extent, legitimized their activities and recognized the political content of their struggle. They are riding a wave of popularity but will have to concern themselves with staying in the headlines without using violence. The likely outcome is that some guerrillas will quit, leaving the most ruthless extremists, who may escalate the political violence.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.