Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos signed a new law on Monday, July 9, that will allow organized crime gangs to surrender and receive reduced sentences. The law is expected to facilitate the surrender of the Gulf Clan, Colombia's largest drug trafficking organization with roughly 2000 armed members. The group's leadership offered in September 2017 to surrender if such a law were instated, and is reported to have been waiting for the legal framework to do so. The law does not prevent extradition of Gulf Clan members where appropriate.
Roughly 14,000 armed members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) demobilized in a negotiated agreement in 2017. The Colombian government and the National Liberation Army (ELN) are currently negotiating in Cuba to end their decades-long conflict which has left some 220,000 people dead and millions of others displaced. Including FARC dissidents who refused demobilization, ELN rebels, and the Gulf Clan, it is estimated that there remain between 5000 and 6000 armed members of various militia groups.
Individuals in Colombia are advised to keep abreast of the situation. Due to the presence of a number of armed groups, some Western governments advise against travel to various regions of the country.
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