The Colombian government recently agreed to a historic peace deal with the Marxist insurgent group FARC, ending more than 50 years of open conflict. But not everyone is happy with the deal, as Trace Dominguez explains in today's Seeker Daily report.
The roots of the Colombian conflict date back to 1958 and the civil war known as "La Violencia" or "The Violence." The war essentially divided Columbia into two groups -- the right-leaning government versus rural communist groups. The leftists eventually formed their own armed forces, which they called FARC.
FARC rebels have fought the Colombian government ever since. Whether they are freedom fighters or terrorists depends, as usual, on who you ask. But it's common knowledge that FARC has participated in kidnapping, extortion and drug trafficking to fund their cause.
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The ceasefire signed in June 2016 marks an ostensible end to all hostilities. As part of the agreement, certain elements of FARC leadership will be officially incorporated into the Colombian government. The deal gives FARC representation in Congress and their own political party.
In exchange, FARC leaders have agreed to disarm. Former FARC fighters will also receive a regular government stipend and potential cash payments for those who want to start their own businesses.
For former victims of FARC violence, it's a tough pill to swallow. Many within Colombia have severely criticized the generous terms of the deal. But such arrangements are not uncommon. Ireland's second-largest political party, Sinn Fein, was previously associated with the Irish Republican Army (IRA) -- considered a terrorist group for much of its existence. A similar situation has developed in Lebanon with the group Hezbollah.
In any case, the agreement between FARC and Colombia won't officially go into effect until voters approve it in a plebiscite to be held in October.
-- Glenn McDonald
NPR: FARC Rebels, Colombian Government Signs Historic Peace Treaty
Time: Latin America's Longest Running Guerrilla Conflict May Finally be Ending
BBC: Colombians Celebrate as Peace Deal is Reached with FARC Rebels