Gulf Clan: Colombia Suspends Ceasefire With Drug Cartel

    Gulf Clan: Colombia Suspends Ceasefire With Drug Cartel
    Last updated Mar 21, 2023
    Image credit: France 24


    • Colombian President Gustavo Petro has suspended a ceasefire with the Gulf Clan, the main drug trafficking cartel in the country.[1]
    • In a tweet on Sunday, Petro announced that he was ordering "the security forces to resume all military operations against the Gulf Clan," citing harassment and attacks on people in northwest Columbia that have allegedly been carried out by the group over the last fortnight.[2]
    • Petro's government declared a bilateral ceasefire with several armed groups in December 2022 including the Gulf Clan, the National Liberation Army (ELN) rebels, and dissidents of the former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas.[3]
    • Monday's announcement saw Petro accuse the cartel of breaking the ceasefire last week by supporting attacks by illegal gold miners. An aqueduct, a toll, and an ambulance were all destroyed on Sunday by the miners who Petro claimed were financially supported by the Clan "to cause damage and to pass off this violence as a social strike."[3]
    • The leader of the Colombian police force, Henry Sanabria, has announced that more police officers would be sent to the areas of the country where the Gulf Clan is most active.[4]
    • According to Petro, Columbian authorities will offer "no chance of negotiation” on the ceasefire status until the Gulf Clan stops committing crimes.[4]


    Narrative A

    Petro's ceasefire and "total peace" plans to end decades of violence in Columbia were idealistic and ambitious but ultimately unsuccessful. These ideas ran into issues almost immediately and the ceasefire has since been continuously broken by the armed groups who signed it. Petro must use Columbia's security forces to aggressively quash criminal dissenters and violent armed groups like the Gulf Clan.

    Narrative B

    While it is disappointing that the Gulf Clan violated the ceasefire initiated by Petro's government, there is still hope for these peace plans. Negotiations over the truce will not happen while violence and crime continue, but if the Gulf Clan chooses to stop their unlawful actions the talks could resume. The ball is now in their court.

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