A mere month and a half after the previous best shot at a peace agreement failed due to the potential penalties being too lenient for the rebels, the Colombian government and FARC have come to a probable peace agreement aiming to end a war that has lasted for more than 50 years. A referendum was rejected by voters because the original agreement –- which both sides were optimistic about — was deemed to be too lenient to the guerrilla factions that have been at odds with the country’s government for decades.
After years of negotiations based in Havana, Cuba, 2016 looked to be the year that negotiations would finally result in a permanent ceasefire between both sides. With the help of multiple government agencies and outside input, the two sides came ever closer to agreeing on terms suitable to both of their requirements as well as supported by citizens themselves. In an official statement from Cuba, both sides say of the deal,
“We have reached a new final accord to end the armed conflict that integrates changes, precisions and proposals suggested by the most diverse sectors of society…We call upon all Colombia and the international community….to back this new accord and its quick implementation so as to leave the tragedy of war in the past. Peace cannot wait anymore.”
As optimistic as this new agreement is, it is still not set in stone. Former Colombian President Uribe, and leader of the “No” campaign who is against the ratification of these agreements, requested that his team be allowed to review the terms of the deal before they are put in place. Differences that may be needed include stricter punishment guidelines for those involved in war crimes throughout the violence, the ability of those on the rebel side to run for office and be elected, and that FARC turns over specifics about their involvement in the drug trade and other illegal activities.
More than 200,000 people have been killed in the fighting over the years, so the end of this conflict would be a huge development for Colombia and the rest of South America as well.