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Revealing the preferences of the FARC

Currently the FARC and the Colombian Government are negotiating a peace agreement in the city of Havana in Cuba. Although the results of these talks are uncertain and the final goal of the rebels is not observable, it is possible to analyze their strategy under different scenarios and associate the actions undertaken by the insurgents with their real willingness to cease violence. We model the strategy of an insurgent group that follows a pattern of prolonged popular war but negotiates with the government. The main results of the model are the following: (i) If the marginal probability of signing a peace treaty is significantly low when the guerrilla invests little on non-violent strategies, then they will continue to fight and allocate all its resources on military power. (ii) If the guerrillas value political participation as they value a complete revolution, and the depreciation of its military power is higher than the budget they can allocate; then the optimal strategy is to avoid military confrontation and devote all the resources to sign a peace treaty. (iii) By increasing its military power the government can generate a change in the strategy of the rebels and, particularly, a reduction in the budget allocated to military power.

Andrés Zambrano y Hernando Zuleta
Palabras clave:
Economic conflict, negotiation strategies, guerrilla, FARC, utility functions.