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Colombia’s Long Road to Peace

The peace agreement between Colombia’s government and the FARC guerrilla group is an historic achievement that will put an end to more than a half-century of kidnappings, forced displacement, indiscriminate attacks on villages, and tens of thousands of deaths. But implementing its provisions will not be easy.

NEW YORK – The peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) reached this month by the country’s government has received much-deserved praise. It is a historic achievement, one that promises to end more than a half-century of kidnapping, forced displacement, indiscriminate attacks on villages, and violence that has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths.

Colombia is well versed in bringing an end to violent confrontation. After a decade-long mid-twentieth-century clash between the country’s two major political parties – known simply as “la violencia” – a bipartisan settlement, approved in a plebiscite in 1957, ended the conflict.

In 1990, the Colombian government reached political settlements with several rebel groups. The M-19, for example, became a major force in the 1991 Constitutional Assembly, with some of its leaders becoming active participants in democratic political life.

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