By James Lockhart-Smith
The end of the unilateral ceasefire, declared in November 2012 by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the country’s largest insurgent group, came to an end as scheduled on 20 January 2013, resulting in an immediate increase in operational security risks for foreign investors and a medium-term increase in political risks.
The FARC had committed itself to the unilateral measure amidst ongoing peace talks with the government in Havana, Cuba, without any reciprocation from state security forces. Data collected by non-governmental sources suggests that while the number of operations conducted by the group fell by 90% during the two-month period, the truce was not wholly observed. The end of the ceasefire was marked immediately by a renewed spate of FARC attacks across the country on both police and army personnel and hydrocarbon infrastructure. The security outlook is negative for businesses in 2013 – particularly oil and gas companies – and the stuttering peace process will increase the medium-term risk of a deteriorating business environment.