Colombia to sign peace deal with F.A.R.C. rebels

Sep 26, 2016, 6:19 AM EDT
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos
(Source: Center for American Progress/flickr)

In a historic move that aims to put an end to decades of bloodshed in Colombia, President Juan Manuel Santos and Marxist rebel leader Timochenko will sign a peace deal on Monday. Under the deal, which brings Latin America's longest-running conflict to halt, the F.A.R.C. guerilla group will lay down its weapons and enter the country’s political stage. The accord will be signed in front of some 2,500 foreign and local dignitaries, including U.N. head Ban Ki-moon, Cuban President Raul Castro and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Speaking in an interview ahead of the ceremony, Manuel said, “War is always more costly than peace,” reports the BBC. Manuel said he hoped that the peace deal will revive the country’s derailed economy in addition to rebuilding Colombia’s social fabric.

The peace deal “breaks new ground” in the way it has balanced the desire for peace and calls for justice. Under the agreement, no one has been granted amnesty; instead the F.A.R.C. and Colombian forces have agreed to set up special tribunals and reconciliation process to ensure that justice is delivered to the victims of more than five decades of brutality.

Some, including influential former president Alvaro Uribe, have criticized the deal as rebels have been allowed to enter the political arena without being punished for the bloodshed and kidnappings of past decades, writes Reuters. The new peace deal can bolster Colombia’s sluggish economy by easing pressure due to security costs and by opening up new opportunities in mining and oil industry.