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Waging Peace in Colombia

To commemorate its founding 25 years ago, PS is republishing a selection of commentaries written since 1994. In the following commentary, Juan Manuel Santos touted the peace process that ended the long and costly war between Colombia’s government and the FARC guerillas.

BOGOTÁ – Colombians are close to ending the oldest and only remaining armed conflict in the Western Hemisphere. After more than five years of negotiations with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), we can say that we have reached an irreversible phase in a process that will put an end to more than 50 years of a cruel and costly war.

All of my predecessors over the last five decades attempted to make peace with the FARC, the largest and oldest guerrilla army to have emerged in Latin America. They all failed. So why has this peace process proved successful?

Above all, this has been a well-planned and carefully executed process that began when we achieved certain conditions. First, we had to change the correlation of military forces in favor of the Colombian state. Second, we had to convince the FARC’s leaders that it was in their own personal interest to enter serious negotiations and that they would never achieve their objectives through violence and guerrilla warfare.

25 years of the World's Opinion Page

Project Syndicate celebrates its 25th anniversary with PS 25, a collection of our hardest-hitting commentaries so far.

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