Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos admitted Monday the peace process between the government and the former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has faced significant implementation delays and other issues.
Speaking during a meeting with the post-conflict cabinet to review the implementation of the peace agreement, Santos said: “Of course we’ve had problems and delays. Many of these delays are due to the FARC themselves. Other delays, I recognize, are due to shortcomings on our side.”
He added that despite the setbacks the process was moving forward. "We mustn't lose perspective... we have 15 years to fulfill the agreements."
According to the Colombian government implementation of the peace agreement signed in November 2016 has been affected by corruption cases, drug trafficking and dissident groups that emerged after the demilitarization of the former FARC.
Most recently, Jesus Santrich, who played a crucial role in the peace agreement and is a member of the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (also known as FARC) party was arrested by Colombian officials at the request of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for alleged involvement in drug trafficking.
After the arrest, Ivan Marquez, leader of the FARC party, said: "the peace process is at its most critical point and is threatened to be a true failure."
Corruption is also a fundamental problem.
The Colombia in Peace Fund, set up to finance the implementation of the different accords, including productive projects in rural Colombia, reincorporation efforts of former guerrillas, redistribution of land, and the Special Jurisdiction for Peace has a low implementation rate.
This has affected the state’s capacity to fulfill the commitments with indigenous populations in Colombia’s Cauca and Nariño region, which have also registered an increase in violence after the peace agreement was signed and the FARC left the areas.
Furthermore, there are reports of corruption in the fund’s management. Local media W Radio reported the fund spent almost half a million dollars for an information system to monitor post-conflict policies created by Synersis S.A.S. According to W Radio, Ivan Fernando Cifuentes, partner Gloria Ospina, who was the fund’s manager, was also the commercial director of Synersis.
Ospina was fired in early April after the ambassadors of Norway, Switzerland, and Sweden requested the Colombian government clarify how the fund’s resources were being allocated.
Colombia’s State Attorney General's Office has launched several investigations on irregularities in contracting processes.
The implementation of the peace agreement has been criticized by social organizations and political leaders, specially for the state’s failure to guarantee security to former FARC guerrillas and Indigenous, Afro-Colombian and Campesino leaders who continue to be targeted and murdered in the country, as well as for modifications to the structure of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, a judicial mechanism focused on restorative justice for the victims of Colombia’s armed conflict, which was at the center of the peace agreements.