Negotiated Settlement to Armed Conflict: Lessons from the Colombian Peace Process

  • Chernick M
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COLOMBIAN POLITICS, by 1982, were characterized by stagna-tion, increased levels of violence, and diminished regime legitimacy. In the face of an active, though limited, guerrilla insur-gency as well as nascent labor unrest and popular protest, the suc-cessive governments of the National Front had come to depend on the coercive powers of the state to preserve public order and political stability. Colombia's peace process, initiated during the government of Conservative President Belisario Betancur (1982-1986), was a recognition of the limits, indeed the failure, of the military solution to the maintenance of public order. Under pre-vious governments, repressive policies had proven incapable of distinguishing between armed insurgency and legal dissent. Moreover, the policy of ceding extensive authority to the armed forces in the fight against the nation's guerrillas had undermined many of the democratic guarantees that formally existed. Betancur, employing the language then current in Brazil, Ar-gentina, and Uruguay, proposed a democratic opening of Colom-bia's political system. In the Colombian context, "democratic

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  • Marc W. Chernick

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