Small Wars Journal

Colombia’s Peace Deal Promised a New Era. This Is What It Looks Like.

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 2:07pm

Colombia’s Peace Deal Promised a New Era. This Is What It Looks Like. By Nicholas Casey – New York Times

After Colombia’s government signed a peace deal with the country’s main rebel group, ending decades of war and upheaval, both sides said it heralded a new era. But two and a half years after the militants agreed to lay down their arms, many of the promises made are not being honored, and the prospect of a true, lasting peace now seems far from certain.

This is what we found:

  • As many as 3,000 militants have resumed fighting, threatening the very foundation of the accord.
  • Many of the millions of Colombians who once lived in rebel-held territory still await the promised arrival of roads, schools and electricity. The government’s pledge to help rural areas was a big reason the rebels stood down.
  • Since the peace deal was signed, at least 500 activists and community leaders have been killed, and more than 210,000 people displaced from their homes amid the continuing violence. That undercuts a core selling point of the deal: that it would bring safety and stability.
  • Colombia’s new president, Iván Duque, a conservative who took office in August, has expressed skepticism of the accords and wants to change a commitment that was fundamental to the rebels agreeing to lay down their weapons.

Colombia’s five-decade civil war took at least 220,000 lives and devastated large swaths of the countryside. In rebel-held areas, government services disappeared and the infrastructure crumbled. Many turned to the drug economy to survive.

All sides were accused of atrocities — kidnappings, rapes and summary executions — that bred deep-seated animosities across the country and even within families. In a war so deeply personal, finding a way out posed an enormous challenge.

So when the government and the largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as the FARC, reached a peace agreement in September 2016 after years of negotiation, much of the world applauded. Juan Manuel Santos, then Colombia’s president, won the Nobel Peace Prize

Much, much, more - Read on.

Categories: El Centro