Deal Will End 52-Year War, but Hurdles Remain

FARC, Colombian government made major announcement Wednesday
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 24, 2016 11:00 PM CDT
Updated Aug 25, 2016 12:03 AM CDT
Deal Will End 52-Year War, but Hurdles Remain
In this Aug. 13, 2016, photo, a rebel FARC soldier poses for a photo with his dog in the southern jungles of Putumayo, Colombia.   (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)

Its 52-year span makes it the Americas' "longest-running war," reports the New York Times, and after four years of negotiations, it will come to an end, at least assuming all goes according to plan. Colombia's government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or the FARC, on Wednesday announced that they had a deal to end a conflict that has claimed 220,000 lives. An overview:

  • The BBC has the key line from the joint statement: "The Colombian government and the FARC announce that we have reached a final, full, and definitive accord."
  • The AP reports the final text of the agreement hasn't been released, but it will see the government moving forward on aggressive land reforms and making heavy investment in long-neglected rural areas. The FARC will abandon their arms and be guaranteed a handful of seats in Congress for the next decade.

  • Here's a particularly prickly element: "Under a so-called transitional justice system, all but the most grievous crimes [committed by the rebels] may be resolved with reduced sentences," writes the Times. As a senator in the party of former President Alvaro Uribe put it, "They will spend zero days in prison, they will be awarded with political representation. This deal breaks the rule of law."
  • Uribe is a key figure in all this. The accord isn't a done deal: Colombia Reports outlines a number of steps that will follow. The big one is a "plebiscite," essentially a referendum that puts the deal in the hands of the Colombian people. Uribe is leading the "no" camp.
  • The vote, "the most important of our lives," says President Juan Manuel Santos, will be held Oct. 2. Reuters reports polls lean toward it passing, but there are potential pitfalls.
  • Here's one, per the AP: voter turnout. The accord doesn't just need a majority "yes," it also has to be supported by at least 13% of those eligible to vote, or about 4.4 million people.
(More FARC stories.)

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