• Sunday, Sep 27, 2020
  • Last Update : 10:58 pm

Colombia’s half-century-long conflict

  • Published at 12:01 am August 22nd, 2016
Colombia’s half-century-long conflict

Deep in the country’s southern jungles, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) are preparing for a peace deal that they and the government say could be just weeks away.

Here’s a look at the past and future of Colombia’s half-century guerilla conflict:

9

How it started

The 1948 assassination of populist firebrand Jorge Eliecer Gaitan led to a political bloodletting known as “La Violencia,” or “The Violence.” Tens of thousands died, and peasant groups joined with communists to arm themselves. A 1964 military attack on their main encampment led to the creation of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or Farc.

What the rebels wanted

Though nominally Marxist at its founding, the Farc’s ideology has never been well defined. It has sought to make the conservative oligarchy share power and prioritised land reform in a country where more than 5 million people have been forcibly displaced, mostly by far-right militias in the service of ranchers, businessmen and drug traffickers. The Farc lost popularity as it turned to kidnapping, extortion and taxes on cocaine production and illegal gold mining to fund its insurgency.

How the us got involved

In 2000, the United States began sending billions of dollars for counter-narcotics and -insurgency efforts under Plan Colombia, which helped security forces weaken the Farc and kill several top commanders. The State Department classifies the group as a terrorist organization and its leaders face US indictments for what the George W Bush administration called the world’s largest drug-trafficking organisation.

The resulting human toll

More than 220,000 lives have been lost, most of them civilians. In the past two decades, many of the killings were inflicted by the militias, which made peace with the government in 2003. The Farc abducted ranchers, politicians and soldiers who were often held for years in jungle prison camps. Its captives included former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt and three US military contractors, all of whom were rescued in 2008.

How peace efforts developed

Mid-1980s peace talks collapsed after death squads killed at least 3,000 allies of the Farc’s political wing. Another effort fell apart in 2002 after the rebels hijacked an airliner to kidnap a senator. The current talks have been going on since 2012 in Havana.

After decades of false starts, a plan for peace

In late June, negotiators announced an agreement on a bilateral cease-fire and a blueprint for how an estimated 7,000 Farc fighters will demobilise and lay down their weapons. Accords have also been reached on land reform, combatting drug trafficking, the guerrillas’ political participation and punishing war crimes on both sides. The sides formally agreed to the cease-fire and disarmament agreement at a ceremony in Cuba. 

50
50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail