Peace accord in Colombia

This item appears on page 19 of the November 2016 issue.

A peace accord that would have ended more than 50 years of armed conflict, signed on Sept. 26 by the Colombian government and the leader of the rebel group FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia — People’s Army), was denied by Colombian voters in a referendum on Oct. 2.

Under the terms of the peace accord, FARC fighters, numbering 7,000, would have turned in their weapons to UN inspectors within six months; any FARC leaders accused of war crimes who confessed before a special tribunal would have received relatively light punishment, and FARC, itself, would have been allowed to assimilate into the Colombian government as a political party.

Leaders of both sides are unsure how the ‘No’ vote will affect the peace process, but, at the moment, a return to fighting is unlikely. No new negotiations had been scheduled as of press time.

Over the course of the extended conflict (Latin America’s longest guerrilla war), more than 260,000 people were killed, more than six million people were forced to leave their homes, and cocaine trafficking and kidnappings were rampant.