A historic deal has been struck between the Colombian government and leftist rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia—People’s Army, also known as the FARC movement. If the tentative agreement is approved it will put an end to the longest-running armed conflict in North, Central, and South America. The bloody feud has been running since 1964. Over 220,000 people have lost their lives to fighting between the two groups. The deal is the result of over four years of negotiations. American politicians are ecstatic that a peace agreement has finally been drawn up; the United States government has invested over $10 billion to help Colombian government officials stabilize the region and improve national security.
The peace agreement was announced on Wednesday in Havana, Cuba. Humberto de la Calle, Colombia’s lead negotiator, issued one short statment that puts a definitive end to the conflict. He told reporters:
“The war is over,”
Iván Márquez, FARC’s lead negotiator, also issued a statment. He stated that the peace agreement will put an end to the violence, however, he went on to state that the marxist-inspired rebels have not given up on their ideals. He stated:
“We have finished fighting with weapons and will now do battle with ideas,”
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos told the people of Colombia that the violent conflict was coming to an end during a live television address. Celebrations broke out across the country almost immediately.
In exchange for agreeing to peace FARC has been given a limited number of seats in the Colombian congress. Meaning the guerrilla group will return to traditional representative politics. The FARC members will be allowed to participate in discussions and make the needs and concerns of their group heard but will not be granted voting rights.
Once the deal is approved FARC has agreed to begin demobilizing their troops immediately. The group has 180 days to complete the process. FARC officials have agreed to return to their jungle guerrilla camps to being disarming and demobilizing their troops while Colombian congressmen pen the final pages of the deal.
The United States was considered a key ally and essential presence in the two sides reaching peace. Several politicians, including Secretary of State John Kerry, mediated the talks when negotiations came to a stand still.
Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA.), like many others, have remained humble about the process. Claiming that many different officials were involved but that the contributions of the Colombian people were the most significant. He stated:
“at the heart of this process and essential to its success has been the Colombian people themselves who never stopped believing that peace was possible.”