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Explaining Colombia’s ongoing Massacres *

August/2020

At least 39 people have been killed in the recent spate of unrest in Colombia and the country has seen 46 massacres so far this year. So, this week we speak to Colombia analyst Kyle Johnson to help us understand a little about why these are occurring now, who are the perpetrators and why? Observers say that president Iván Duque – a skeptic of the peace deal he inherited when he took office two years ago – has not done enough to guarantee its implementation and has left much of the rural population exposed to the violence. Duque has blamed the recent bloodshed on drug-trafficking groups, and ordered the armed forces to be “implacable” in their response. He drew sharp criticism on Saturday, when he appeared to downplay the massacres by describing them as “collective homicides”. While the current wave of massacres has prompted comparisons with the peak of the conflict in the late 1990s – when both massacres and murders were commonplace – analysts say that the current dynamics of the armed groups are more complicated. Johnson provides us with a coherent and clear explanation.

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