Clan Del Golfo, one of the largest drug trafficking groups in Colombia, sent a letter to soon to be President Gustavo Petro showing their intention to negotiate with the government. Thirty smaller criminal groups also signed the letter. The drug traffickers are calling for a ceasefire on the condition that its members avoid prison. They acknowledge this is a “historic moment” as Colombia elects its first left wing President. The letter also calls for the end of extradition, something Petro himself is against.
Clan Del Golfo is a drug trafficking group, born out of the far-right paramilitaries, who were also involved in drug trafficking.
Petro has stated his willingness to engage and negotiate with different groups in Colombia, particularly the ideologically leftist ELN. Clan Del Golfo differs as while many of the ideological groups, such as the leftist FARC-dissidents, are involved in drug trafficking, Clan Del Golfo is a strictly narco group with no overt political objective. Despite this, Petro has stated no one will be excluded from dialogue. Current President Ivan Duque (Petro takes power in August this year) stated any dialogue with the group must be based on the conditions that the drug trafficking routes, and the trade be dismantled. However, he advised against negotiating with drug traffickers in general.
Recently there’s been reports that Clan Del Golfo has reinstated Plan Pistola, a programme introduced during the time of Pablo Escobar, which sees hitmen offered 5 million pesos (around $1,100) for the assassination of a police officer. There have reportedly been 7 assassinations in July alone linked to Clan Del Golfo. Some believe this is members of Clan Del Golfo seeking revenge for the extradition of former leader ‘Otoniel’. Others state this may be a demonstration of power in order to seek a stronger negotiating position and put pressure on Petro to negotiate with them.