Feature: written by Javier Ramirez.
After 52 years of war with the largest guerrilla in Latin America, the end of Colombia’s conflict with Farc has been settled – a remarkable movement for both the Colombian and international community.
Following four years of tough and controversial negotiations in Habana, both Colombia and Farc rebels have agreed a definitive bilateral cease-fire. The on-going violent war has involved millions of victims and affected Colombia monumentally, in terms of economics and politics.
President Juan Manuel Santos played an important role in the new history of Colombia. According to Centro Nacional de la Memoria Historica, five previous peace processes failed throughout the years as the approaches were not successful in terms of negotiation with guerrilla groups.
The failed peace processes caused a strengthening of the rebels and huge uncertainty of prosperity and peace throughout the nation. However, due to a new approach to the rebels, the sense of hope around Colombians rose and the sense of uncertainty was dispelled slowly during the peace talks as the country saw two parts find mutual ground for the sake of ending the conflict.
The peace talks have created debate around the nation and political division. The ex-former president Alvaro Uribe is campaigning against of the peace process in light of the government announcing the peace talks. The Colombian government, despite the critics, went through with the agenda. This agenda contains five themes: Land reform; Political participation; drug trafficking, transitional justice; and end of the conflict.
Every point of the agenda has been discussed and analysed carefully by experts and guerrilla members within the table negotiation, and under the supervision of international communities such as Norway, Cuba, Chile, United States, Venezuela – all guarantors of this peace process.
Additionally, the UN has publicly announced full support for a successful negotiation in which compromised both parts to take the aforementioned peace process seriously. This highlights that, for first time in any peace process around the world, the victims of conflict were treated as principal actors of these serious negotiations. The conflict in Colombia has left a staggering eight million victims according to national statistics; therefore it was vital they were served justice in the wake of the peace talks.
The next step for Colombia will be the referendum. The people of Colombia will have the last word, and decide whether they agree or disagree with the peace talks. Therefore, the new challenge of all sectors in Colombia and abroad is to explain to the domestic and international community what the peace process will mean for them. The government plans to go to every region of Colombia and explain the peace agenda, assisted by transnational organisations, NGOs, academia etc.
Thanks to this peace process, the Colombian economy will be up 1.9 points in its GDP and foreign investment will be part of the development in Colombia. The tourism sector will also become more attractive drive the country’s revenue and prospects.
Confronting post-conflict is now the new challenge ahead as sadly the country are used to a society under war. The culture of war will be transformed as the culture of dialogue.
The end of the conflict means hope for a better future; it means prosperity and development. It is the opening of the door for a new history, which involves an inclusive community and the consideration for every member of the Colombian society.