FARC kidnap of top general highlights security risks in Colombia

26 November 2014

Procuring the right Colombia insurance could become more critical in view of the recent suspension of peace talks between the Colombian government and FARC.

President Juan Manuel Santos suspended the latest round of talks in Havana in response to FARC’s kidnapping of Brigadier General Ruben Dario Alzate Mora. 

Colombia, with its 50 year history of war and drug related violence, has long been a high-risk prospect for expatriates working there. 

The talks began two years ago, and though the government and FARC have never agreed a ceasefire, FARC did agree to curtail its policy of kidnapping and there had been some decrease in violence. 

Negotiations by Norwegian and Cuban mediators to secure the general’s release are reported to be near successful completion, with a handover of the General and four other captives due to be supervised by the Red Cross this week. 

However the incident could have the potential to adversely affect the overall security situation. Foreign nationals and companies operating, or planning to operate, in the country should check that their Colombia insurance provides adequate cover in the event of an upsurge of terrorist activity including kidnap. 

The people of Colombia seem to be getting impatient with the slow progress of the peace talks and with President Juan Manuel Santos who was re-elected largely due to his promise to drive the process forward. Ordinary people have suffered hugely over the five decades of conflict, with an estimated 220,000 killed, over five million internally displaced and over 6.2 million registered as victims. Though the Colombian economy has been growing steadily at about 4% over the last ten years it is estimated that peace could have doubled this figure. 

Foreign nationals and businesses in Colombia are also advised to keep up to date with current Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice and the local political and security situation. 

Be aware that, besides FARC, there are a number of other armed rebel militias, most notably the National Liberation Army, as well as numerous criminal gangs involved in drug trafficking, illegal mining, extortion and kidnapping. Despite FARC’s 2012 pledge to stop abductions, these other groups have kept Colombia as one of the world’s top ten hotspots for kidnapping.

For more information about kidnap and ransom insurance or for confidential advice on cover for your people assets or business liabilities in Colombia or any other high-risk country, please contact us on +44 (0) 207 305 5650.

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Categories: Kidnap & ransom, Colombia insurance

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