How the guerrillas were led to the negotiating table - and stayed

Negotiations with FARC are too advanced for anyone to step back now

The World Today Published 11 December 2015 Updated 11 December 2020 5 minute READ

After 50 years of rural insurgency, the longest guerrilla war in the Americas, Colombia is about to enter a new phase that could be a model for other countries struggling to emerge from conflict.

In recent months Juan Manuel Santos, the president of Colombia, and Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri (nom de guerre Timochenko), the leader of one of the two Colombian Marxist rebel groups, FARC, or the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, have reached two decisive agreements on transitional justice and the fate of the estimated 50,000 people who disappeared during the war.

The process seems to have reached a point from which neither side can retreat and a peace agreement could be reached by March 2016. If that happens, the government plans to hold a referendum on it within two months.

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