ELN militia, Colombia. Photo by Silvia Andrea Moreno via 
Flickr (Creative Commons).

For years, the Colombian state maintained its position about how guerrillas’ involvement with drug trafficking made them lose their political and/or ideological nature. Political and military sectors supported this approach and used the term narco-guerrilla or narco-terrorists. The peace process initiated in 2012 seemed to alter this narrative.

This article analyses how Colombia’s peace process had a contradictory effect on the ‘narco-terrorist’ characterization of the FARC-EP: it opened windows of opportunity both for more peace-prone discourses, and for an even more virulent version of the criminalisation of the guerrillas.