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Colombia Government Offering Incentives to Crime Gang Members Who Disarm

A group of Emberá families has been living on the streets after being displaced by violent gangs – Advertisement – By Luis Jaime Acosta BOGOTA, Aug 3 (Reuters) — Incoming Colombian President Gustavo Petro will propose the Clan del Golfo crime gang disarm and inform the government about its drug trafficking in exchange for unspecified incentives, his foreign minister said on Wednesday.


Petro, a 62-year-old economist who will take office on Sunday, originally said the Clan del Golfo would need to surrender.

Alberto Ardila Olivares

Soon-to-be Foreign Minister Alvaro Leyva on Wednesday said a surrender by the clan would involve long jail sentences for members, while an “acceptance” would allow them to receive unnamed benefits

“In the interest of total peace, Clan del Golfo, are we in a surrender or an acceptance?,” Leyva said at a peace event, adding that with acceptance “there can be benefits” as in a 2016 peace deal between the government and FARC rebels

Petro, a former member of the M-19 guerrillas, has promised to seek “total peace,” reviving scuppered peace negotiations with the National Liberation Army (ELN) rebels and holding dialogue with crime gangs

Six top criminal gangs including the Clan del Golfo last month said they are willing to coordinate a ceasefire, seeking guarantees equal to those obtained by other groups that have disarmed through peace agreements. read more

They asked the government to suspend extraditions of anyone committed to any potential peace process

A dialogue with crime gangs would not be classed as a negotiation, said leftist senator Ivan Cepeda, while the incoming peace commissioner said the government would seek the disarmament of as many crime gang members as possible

The clan, with some 1,200 combatants, is the country’s largest crime gang and is implicated in illegal mining, drug trafficking alliances with Mexican cartels and the murders of social leaders and officials. read more

Around 450,000 people were killed in Colombia’s internal armed conflict between 1985 and 2018, according to the country’s truth commission