Colombian conflict

The Colombian conflict (Spanish: Conflicto armado interno de Colombia) began on May 27, 1964, and is a low-intensity asymmetric war between the government of Colombia, far-right paramilitary groups, crime syndicates, and far-left guerrilla groups such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the Popular Liberation Army (EPL), fighting each other to increase their influence in Colombian territory.[48] Some of the most important international contributors to the Colombian conflict include multinational corporations, the United States,[49][50][51] Cuba,[52] and the drug trafficking industry.[53]

Colombian conflict (1964–present)
Part of the Cold War (1964–1992)
and the War on Drugs (1993–present)

Left: A Colombian marine on a field training exercise
Center: FARC guerrillas at the Caguan peace talks
Right: A Narco-submarine, used by the FARC and Colombian cartels to transport drugs at sea, captured by the Peruvian Navy in December 2019
DateMay 27, 1964[1][2] – present
(57 years, 3 months, 2 weeks and 5 days)


El Caguán DMZ (currently non-existent)

Supported by:
 United States
 United Kingdom

Paramilitaries (Far-right)

Various Mexican drug cartels including:

Many Ex-FARC and EX-rebel gangs including:

Guerrillas (Far-left)

Supported by:
 Venezuela (alleged; until 2021)[15][16][17][18]
Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (until 2011)[21][22]
 Soviet Union (until 1989)[20][citation needed]
ETA (1964–2018)
PIRA (1969–98)
Bolivarian Forces of Liberation[23]
Shining Path[24][25]
 Nicaragua (alleged)
Commanders and leaders

Iván Duque Márquez

Fidel Castaño 
Carlos Castaño 
Vicente Castaño[27]
Rodrigo Tovar Pupo
Salvatore Mancuso
Diego Murillo
Medellín cartel:
Pablo Escobar 

Timoleón Jiménez
Iván Márquez
Joaquín Gómez
Mauricio Jaramillo

Antonio García
Francisco Galán
National Police: 175,250[28]
Army: 237,567[28]
Navy: 33,913[28]
Air Force: 14,033[28]
Paramilitary successor groups, including the Black Eagles: 3,749–13,000[29][30][31] FARC: 13,980 (2016[32])[33][34][35][36][37][38]
ELN: 1,380–3,000 (2013)[36][37][39]
EPL: 400 (2017)[14]
FARC dissidents: 1200 (2018)[40]
2500 (2021) [41]
Casualties and losses
Army and Police:
4,908 killed since 2004[28]
20,001 injured since 2004[28]
2,200 killed
35,000 demobilized.
222 killed[28]
18,506 captured[28]
Medellín cartel:
2.100 killed
one Narco-submarine sunk
ELN and other irregular military groups:
11,484 killed since 2004[28]
26,648 demobilized since 2002[42]
34,065 captured since 2004[28]
Total casualties: 218,094[43][44]
Total civilians killed: 177,307[43]
People abducted: 27,023[43]
Victims of enforced disappearances: 25,007[43]
Victims of anti-personnel mines: 10,189[43]
Total people displaced: 4,744,046–5,712,506[43][45]
Total number of children displaced: 2.3 million children.[46]
Number of refugees: 340,000[47]
The number of children killed: 45,000[46]
Missing children: 8,000 minors[46]

(De): Demobilized
(Dis): Dismantled

It is historically rooted in the conflict known as La Violencia, which was triggered by the 1948 assassination of liberal political leader Jorge Eliécer Gaitán,[54] and in the aftermath of the anti-communist repression in rural Colombia in the 1960s that led Liberal and Communist militants to re-organize into FARC.[55]

The reasons for fighting vary from group to group. The FARC and other guerrilla movements claim to be fighting for the rights of the poor in Colombia to protect them from government violence and to provide social justice through communism.[56] The Colombian government claims to be fighting for order and stability, and to protect the rights and interests of its citizens. The paramilitary groups claim to be reacting to perceived threats by guerrilla movements.[57]

According to a study by Colombia's National Centre for Historical Memory, 220,000 people have died in the conflict between 1958 and 2013, most of them civilians (177,307 civilians and 40,787 fighters), and more than five million civilians were forced from their homes between 1985 and 2012, generating the world's second-largest population of internally displaced persons (IDPs).[43][58][59] 16.9% of the population in Colombia has been a direct victim of the war.[60] 2.3 million children have been displaced from their homes, and 45,000 children killed, according to national figures cited by Unicef. In total, one in three of the 7.6 million registered victims of the conflict are children, and since 1985, 8,000 minors have disappeared.[46] A Special Unit was created to search for persons deemed as missing within the context of and due to the armed conflict.[61]

On 23 June 2016, the Colombian government and the FARC rebels signed a historic ceasefire deal, bringing them closer to ending more than five decades of conflict.[62] Although the deal was rejected in the subsequent October plebiscite,[63] the same month, President of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to bring the country's more than 50-year-long civil war to an end.[64] A revised peace deal was signed the following month and submitted to Congress for approval.[65] The House of Representatives unanimously approved the plan on November 30, a day after the Senate also gave its backing.[66]