Peace in Colombia is one slippery step away

Positive and perhaps historic news came almost unnoticed as the Brexit was sending political and business worlds on a pessimistic trend. “Today a new chapter opens, one that brings back peace and gives our children the possibility of not reliving history,” Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said. “May this be the last day of the war,” FARC chief Timoleon “Timochenko” Jimenez added.

Indeed, after 4-year-long peace talks, the Colombian government represented by Santos and the FARC rebels represented by Timochenko signed a full cease-fire agreement in Havana, Cuba on June 23, 2016, formally ending combats and thus a civil war that started in 1964 and killed approximately 220,000 people.

Both sides have yet to seal a final peace agreement, possibly next month, which will have to be approved by the Colombian citizens in a referendum. The Colombians are very eager to start a warless era for their country however some provisions of the agreement could spoil efforts towards the aforementioned final stage.  Former President Alvaro Uribe, who launched the military offensive a decade ago of which experts agreed it likely led the FARC back to the negotiation table, regretted the lack of penal response against the FARC rebels “responsible for crimes against humanity (… and who won’t) go to jail for a single day and can be elected to public office.”

Conversely, many analysts believe that this peace process has more chance to succeed than previous attempts in the 1980s and the 1990s in part thanks to the FARC’s integration into the political process, a controversial initiative deemed by Santos as “the essence of democracy.” The demobilization of 7,000 FARC soldiers who are said to be reluctant to disarm has yet to happen and parallel peace efforts with the ELN, another smaller decades-old guerilla group, have reached a deadlock.

According to Cyceon, the Havana ceasefire agreement is definitely a good step in the right direction, however and even in case of a final peace agreement, several years will be needed to get tangible data as for the viability of the whole UN-backed politico-military process. The final peace agreement could be actually the very first step of a progression at least a decade-long. Future economic stability, domestic politics, drug policy will be deciding factors.