EMC Peace Talks Timeline

The Estado Mayor Central (EMC) are dissidents of the Fuerzas Armadas de Colombia (FARC-EP), who rejected the 2016 peace deal and refused to sign the Peace Accord between the FARC and the Colombian government.

It is estimated that the EMC currently has some 3,500 members, with 2,200 combatants and is comprised of 4 main bloques and 46 subestrucutras. The EMC operates in 23 out of 32 provinces in Colombia with the most activity in Cauca, in the south-west of Colombia.[1]

31 December 2022

Six-month ceasefire with major armed groups announced

At the end of 2022, President Petro announces that the government had agreed to bilateral ceasefires with the five main armed groups in Colombia, including the Estado Mayor Central (EMC) – dissidents of the now defunct FARC-EP.

March 2023

EMC members have arrest warrants suspended

At least 19 EMC members have their arrest warrants suspended. This allows them to participate in peace dialogues with the government.

May 2023

Ceasefire suspended

The bilateral ceasefire between the EMC and the Government fails because the EMC murders four indigenous boys. The four minors who had been forcibly recruited were shot dead when they attempted to escape.

19 September 2023

Government and EMC sign bilateral ceasefire agreement

The Colombian Government and the EMC sign a new ten-month bilateral ceasefire agreement.

The agreement includes a statement to respect civilians, the ceasefire, and the cessation of offensive operations.

8 October 2023

Peace talks & bilateral ceasefire postponed

The planned peace talks are postponed by a week due to persistent fighting between the EMC and state security forces, particularly in southwest Colombia and disagreements over the specifics of the ceasefire.

16 October 2023

Peace talks officially begin

The government and the EMC formally kick off peace talks after Petro orders his security forces to cease all operations against the EMC.

5 November 2023

EMC temporarily withdraws from talks

Despite the withdrawal from the negotiation table, the bilateral ceasefire remains in place. The EMC claims that the government had failed to uphold its commitments.

15 November 2023

Peace talks resume

A new cycle of peace talks begins. The EMC reconfigure the negotiating team and appoint three temporary advisers to the process, including senior military commanders. This increases the profile of the delegation and leaning towards the military wing.

12 December 2023

EMC puts an end to kidnapping

The EMC and Colombian government make various agreements, including a pledge to stop kidnapping for ransom. This comes after the infamous kidnapping of footballer Luis Díaz’s father.

8 January 2024

Peace talks resume in Bogotá

These are the third cycle of talks between the parties, which last until 20 January 2024.

14 January 2024

Bilateral ceasefire extended by six months

The government and the EMC agree to extend the ceasefire (due to expire in January 2024) by six months to facilitate ongoing peace talks.

The Office of the High Commissioner for Peace reports that Decree 0016 of 14 January 2024, signed by the Minister of Defense, Iván Velásquez Gómez, orders “the suspension of offensive military operations and police operations, as well as acts contrary to what is established in the Protocol of Rules and Commitments agreed between the parties at the Peace Talks.”

The Decree also states that the parties may agree on new objectives  “aimed at strengthening the peace process, deepening territorial transformations and replacing illicit economies and protecting the environment, the participation of society, and the humanitarian protection of the civilian population”.

10 March 2024

Fourth round of Peace Talks concludes

The government and the EMC meet in San José del Guaviare between 3-10 March 2024.

The talks include special contributions from social organisations in Colombia and a focus on civil society, with the parties recognising the need for special measures to address critical situations and demands of the population.

Further, it is agreed that dialogues between communities, civil society organisations, government entities, municipal and departmental governments, universities and think tanks will be set up in order to strengthen or implement socioeconomic and environmental projects.

12 March 2024

EMC say that a peace deal is unlikely

A major leader of the EMC states that it will be difficult for the group to sign a peace deal with the government before Petro leaves office in 2026.

16 March 2024

Government suspends ceasefire with EMC

A government decree states that Colombia will suspend its ceasefire with the EMC in three provinces from 20 March onwards. This is in response to a guerrilla attack on an indigenous community in Cauca. The announcement does not mention any effects on the overall negotiations. 

4 April 2024

EMC guerrillas attack military base in Cali

Alleged EMC guerrillas carry out a mortar attack on the 3rd Division army base in Cali, damaging the homes of military commanders amid a resumption of fighting between the military and the group.

The attack takes place just before an attack on a police station in Yamundi, and just after a grenade exploded in Tumaco.

7 April 2024

EMC calls for a ceasefire

The EMC calls on the government to restore the ceasefire nationwide. The group also vows to retaliate against any attacks by the state forces, warning civilians to stay away from military posts and police stations.

11 April 2024

Car bomb leaves 2 injured

An explosion in south-west Colombia leaves two civilians injured in an attack that was allegedly targeting a police station.

The attack comes days after the EMC warns civilians to stay away from police stations.

15 April 2024

EMC urges ceasefire with government and ELN

ELN commander, Ivan Mordisco, urges in a video that the government reinstate the ceasefire in south-west Colombia.

He also asks that the EMC and rival group, the ELN, negotiate a ceasefire.

This transmission comes amidst rumours of internal divisions within the EMC.

16 April 2024

Divisions form within the EMC

According to lead government negotiator, Camilo Gonzalez, Commander Ivan Mordisco abandons peace talks after losing control of half of the 3500 guerrillas of the EMC.

The dissident guerrillas side with former peace negotiator Andrey Avendaño, while the commanders from the regional EMC divisions swear loyalty to Mordisco.

26 April 2024

Colombian Army Kills EMC Guerrillas

The Colombian Army allegedly kills 15 EMC members in Cauca, leaving another 12 wounded.

The government is also engaged in Peace Talks with the ELN and the Segunda Marquetalia.

[1] https://indepaz.org.co/el-accionar-de-los-grupos-armados-en-el-contexto-de-la-paz-total/ (pages 4 & 12).