Back in 1964, a group known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) was founded. The group contained left-wing rebels and was one of the most prominent guerrilla armies in the world that wanted Colombia to become a Marxist country after many attempts to overthrow the government. For more than half a century, FARC has been in conflict with the Colombian government, but now it appears to be over after the conflict claimed the lives of more than a quarter million people.
President Juan Manuel Santos and other high ranking officials of the Colombian government met with FARC negotiators to reach a peace deal that would finally bring the conflict to the end. While Santos was in Havana, Cuba, he announced that the deal had finally been agreed upon after discussions that took several years by declaring simply that “War is over.”
Both sides released a statement that said “The Colombian government and the FARC announce that we have reached a final, full and definitive accord” while Santos said it was “the beginning of the end to the suffering, pain and tragedy of war.” Humberto de la Calle was on hand for the negotiations representing Colombia while Ivan Marquez was representing FARC. The two said that the agreement includes more political and social inclusion for FARC members, an end to violence and justice for victims of the 50+ year conflict. One FARC negotiator was happy to say that “Colombia wins, death loses.”
de la Calle said that “The war is over, but also there is also new beginning. This agreement opens the door to a more inclusive society” while Marquez was happy to say that they had “won the most beautiful of all battles: the peace of Colombia.” Barack Obama even called Santos to offer his praise for the deal, saying that it will “advance security and prosperity for the Colombian people.”
The announcement of the news was met with great fanfare by Colombian citizens who have been waiting a long time to hear the news. Colombian citizen Orlando Guevara said that “I can die in peace because finally I’ll see my country without violence with a future for my children.” While most announcements are met with a lot of polarization, there is a sweeping majority that supports the peace deal.
This includes almost all of the major newspapers in Colombia, even those that sit on both sides of the aisle. They called it a “historical step” and supported the government for their continued negotiations. Even though the majority of people are in support, there are still some that were left unhappy with the deal, including former Presidents of Colombia that did not reach an agreement with FARC.
Andres Pastrana was the President from 1998 to 2002, and he suggested that the agreement was a “coup d’etat against justice.” Alvaro Uribe (2002-2010) served as president after Pastrana, and he said that he was confident FARC members would not face justice for years of drug smuggling that helped to fund their efforts and that he wants the deal to be rejected in a vote. Their views seem to be in the minority as the streets were filled with both sides celebrating after the announcement was made.