The government of Columbia and representatives of FARC have signed a peace agreement. President Juan Manuel Santos and the Marxist leader “Timochenko”, aka Rodrigo Londono have come to an accord.
The people of Columbia have to ratify the deal. The vote is slated for October 2. In spite of some misgivings about the settlement, the people are expected to vote to support the deal. The European Union has already removed FARC from its terror list and US Secretary of State John Kerry had praise for the agreement. He pledged the support of his country and backed it with the commitment of $390m in support to aid in the transition to a peaceful state.
The deal has been inching towards an agreement since 2012 when Havana offered a neutral place for the two sides to meet. And this is where the agreement was inked. If the people ratify and the FARC rebels adhere to their part, then this will end a 52 year long war that has seen both sides commit crimes against humanity.
FARC has been accused of financing its war by selling drugs, kidnapping, extortion and illegal mining as well as terrorism and murder. The government, according to UN reports, was the principal murderer with nearly 90% of the extra-legal deaths attributed to the military and paramilitaries.
A controversial part of the agreement is that of amnesty granted to the rebels if they confess to their crimes. FARC is to be allowed to morph into a political party. The current government is to undertake land reform and develop the rural areas.
Currently much of the control and wealth of the country is concentrated among the ruling elite. Foreign states have been blamed for enabling the ruling elite to maintain a firm hand on the controls. The War on Drugs has been used to justify increasing the Columbian military. Some of the financing for this has come from foreign countries.
These increases have been made possible by Plan Colombia, a $1.3bn US military aid package which makes Colombia the third highest recipient of US military aid in the World (CIP, 2000). Plan Colombia's core stated objective is drug eradication though also involves the strengthening of the Colombian military … Columbia Solidarity
Saturday the people of Columbia have their best chance at peace. They have suffered for over half a century, marking over 200 000 deaths, many more maimed and about five million people displaced.
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