Colombian Government and FARC Announce Ceasefire

A woman and her son celebrate the signing of a historic ceasefire in Bogota A woman and her son celebrate the signing of a historic ceasefire in Bogota © 2016 REUTERS/JOHN VIZCAINO

24 June 2016
The longest running conflict in the Americas is coming to an end as a ceasefire between the Colombian Government and FARC rebels brings signs of peace.

On June 23, the Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos signed a historic ceasefire deal with Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) commander Rodrigo Londono in Havana, Cuba after three years of peace talks. This guerrilla war has been the longest running conflict in the Americas, having started in the 1960s as a peasant revolt that evolved into a war that has killed 220,000 and displaced millions.

Santos acknowledged the importance of the peace deal, allowing for the children and youth of Colombia to finally experience peace after living their entire lives in a country marked byf violence as a result of the conflict. “I’m 76 and have lived this war all my life – I never thought the time would come when these characters would sign peace. I’m so happy – I can die in peace,” said Graciela Pataquiva, a retired teacher who gathered in the Plaza Bolivar to celebrate the announcement.

However, the peace deal has been met with opposition from former President Alvaro Uribe, who considers Santos’ agreement with FARC “a surrender to terrorism.” Another concern is that FARC is not the only rebel group in Colombia, and violence may still ensue. Yet many Colombians are celebrating the deal and see it as a beacon of hope for their country.

The final peace agreement will be ready by July 20 and is set to be signed in Colombia. Within 180 days of the signing of the final accord, the rebels are to lay down their arms and demobilize into 23 temporary zones and eight camps. FARC weapons will be handed over to the United Nations, which will send out a mission to verify the ceasefire. Although the ceasefire was formally agreed on Thursday, both sides of the conflict had already stopped attacks for almost a year.

 

To know more, read:

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-colombia-rebels-idUSKCN0Z81JJ
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/06/colombia-agrees-bilateral-ceasefire-farc-160622150732082.html
http://www.telesurtv.net/multimedia/Colombianos-celebran-historico-acuerdo-entre-el-Gobierno-y-la-FARC-EP-20160623-0053.html
http://es.rfi.fr/americas/20160624-firma-historica-del-fin-del-conflicto-entre-gobierno-colombiano-y-farc
http://www.noticiasrcn.com/nacional-dialogos-paz/las-farc-deseamos-paz-se-firme-habana-ivan-marquez

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