A Chance for Peace? Recommendations from Negotiation Theory to Demobilize the Paramilitaries in Colombia

By Serra, Gilles | Kennedy School Review, Annual 2004 | Go to article overview

A Chance for Peace? Recommendations from Negotiation Theory to Demobilize the Paramilitaries in Colombia


Serra, Gilles, Kennedy School Review


This paper analyzes the ongoing negotiations to demobilize thirteen thousand illegal paramilitaries in Colombia by December 2005. The stakes for the Colombian people are great: success in these negotiations would go a long way in solving their thirty-nine-year-old civil war. The paper describes the historical context for the negotiations and closely analyzes the parties, their interests, and their alternative strategies. Several concepts from negotiation theory, psychology, and economics are brought into the analysis to make recommendations on the steps that could be taken to reach a successful agreement.

Introduction

The conflict between the government and the illegal armies in Colombia has shaped every aspect of life in the country. At the political level, the guerrillas and paramilitaries have obstructed the government's performance through intimidation and corruption: mayors and congressmen are routinely kidnapped or assassinated for propaganda or funding purposes, and public investment is often thwarted by terrorist attacks. At the economic level, the connivance of illegal armies and drug dealers has allowed the war to grow to unique proportions in Latin America. The left-wing guerrillas have some fifteen thousand fighters and the right-wing paramilitaries have some thirteen thousand fighters. Both groups have abundant resources from drug production (Colombia produces 80 percent of the cocaine in the world). In fact, as Table 1 illustrates, the rebel groups in Colombia have a combined annual income of approximately 1 billion dollars, not too far from the government's defense budget of 2.5 billion dollars. (2)

At the social level, life has also deteriorated because of thirty-nine years of civil war. In 2002, the country suffered three thousand kidnappings including more than 120 children. Some 1.5 million people have been displaced from their homes over the past decade. The country has an annual murder rate of thirty thousand, the highest in the world. (3)

This paper analyzes the ongoing negotiations between the government of Colombia and the paramilitary group Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC) to demobilize their thirteen thousand illegal fighters by December 2005. The stakes in these negotiations are enormous for the Colombian people: if successful, the negotiations would fully disarm the largest right-wing paramilitary group, which is arguably the main source of violence and crime in the country. Such disarmament would allow the government to face a one-front, rather than a two-front, war and to focus all its resources against the left-wing guerrillas, the remaining rebel group. The government's increased military power might convince the guerrillas to start peace negotiations of their own, opening a chance to finally reach peace with all the illegal armies in Colombia.

With the stakes so high, no resource should be spared in leading the negotiations to a successful end. This paper will illustrate how to use several specific tools from negotiation theory, psychology, and economics to design a mutually beneficial agreement that could be accepted by all parties and the international community.

Section II of this paper briefly describes the historical context of the war in Colombia, chiefly a series of failed peace negotiations that serve as a warning of obstacles to come. Section III analyzes the interests and strategies of the parties at the negotiating table and describes the current configuration of coalitions: the main coalitions are currently so rigid and extremist that they risk obstructing the debate. Two major processes that unfold simultaneously are examined in the subsequent sections: the bargaining process and the implementation process. In Sections IV and V the risks involved in each of those processes will be identified and recommendations given to prevent them. The recommendations for the bargaining process involve a middle-of-the-road compromise between the AUC and the government, and the recommendations for the implementation process include building a "grand coalition of the center" in Colombian society. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

A Chance for Peace? Recommendations from Negotiation Theory to Demobilize the Paramilitaries in Colombia
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.