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Colombia Internacional

Print version ISSN 0121-5612

Abstract

CHINCHILLA, Fernando A.. SURVIVALS AND AVERSIONS OF COLOMBIAN REVOLUTIONARIES: STRATEGIC PREFERENCES OF GUERRILLA GROUPS FACED WITH THE POSSIBILITY OF NEGOTIATING PEACE. colomb.int. [online]. 2010, n.72, pp.5-27. ISSN 0121-5612.

Why did certain Colombian armed groups such as the M-19, the Popular Liberation Army (EPL), the Workers' Revolutionary Party (PRT) and the Socialist Renovation Current (CRS) decide to sign a peace agreement while others, such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN) refused to do so? Based on a historical analysis of the political behavior of these armed groups, this essay shows that willingness to negotiate depends, at least partly, on the belligerents' extremism or modera-tion, which varies as a function of the balance of power between 'hardliners' and 'softlin-ers' (distribution of political, economic, and strategic resources) within each collective actor. The essay identifies four strategic choices: recognition of the adversary, acceptance of negotiation as a valid political tool for conflict resolution, calls for defining the rules of peace negotiations, and sending costly signals in favor of peace, which help to distinguish a moderate from an extremist. The essay concludes that the use of political violence is not necessarily an indicator of extremism.

Keywords : armed group; peace pact; balance of power; hardliners; softliners; political resources; economic resources; strategic resources.

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