Avoiding the Perfect Storm: Criminal Economies, Spoilers, and the Post-Conflict Phase in Colombia

Abstract: The possibility of ending the armed conflict in Colombia will depend, to a large extent, on the state’s ability to prevent multiple criminal economies, and inhibit the actors who participate in them from damaging the implementation of the final peace agreements. This article analyzes criminal economies’ ability to destabilize and thereby damage the post-conflict phase, and identifies dilemmas the state must confront in responding to this situation. The article’s objective is to provide an analytical model to understand the complex relationship between actors involved in the peace process and criminal economies, and to thereby identify risks and possible models for intervention. The theoretical referent of this work is the discussion about peacebuilding in fragile states and literature that identifies organized crime as a spoiler. This is the first attempt to apply this perspective to Colombia, and to take the particular characteristics of the country into account while making comparisons with other countries that exhibit similar features in their own post-conflict and transitional phases. The article comes to the conclusion that in Colombia it is necessary to consider Interim Stabilization Measures, which allow the state to provide an effective response that takes advantage of available resources without losing sight of the need to strengthen local institutions in the mid-term.

This article can be found here: Garzón-Vergara, J.C., (2015). "Avoiding the Perfect Storm: Criminal Economies, Spoilers, and the Post-Conflict Phase in Colombia." Stability: International Journal of Security and Development . 4(1), p.Art. 36. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/sta.fx