Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Demonstrators march against FARC in Colombia in 2008.(Photo: Alejandro Cortés/flickr/cc)

Historic Ceasefire Reached Between Colombia, Leftist FARC Rebels

Agreement calls for 'definitive bilateral ceasefire'

Andrea Germanos

This post will be updated.

The Colombian government and the leftist rebel group FARC announced Wednesday that they had reached a bilateral ceasefire, a development being heralded as the signal of the end of over five decades of bloody conflict.

"We have successfully reached an agreement for a definitive bilateral ceasefire and end to hostilities," both sides said in a joint statement read in Havana, where peace talks have been taking place for three years.

The accord, Reuters reports, "brings into sight an end to a conflict that began as a 1960s peasant revolt before exploding into a cocaine-fueled war that has killed at least 220,000 people and displaced millions." It also follows, as the Associated Press notes, "a 15-year, U.S.-backed military offensive" targeting FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia).

AP adds:

both sides said they agreed on how the FARC's estimated 7,000 fighters will demobilize and hand over their weapons, as well as the security guarantees that will be provided to leftist activists after the conflict ends. Negotiators in January tasked the U.N. with monitoring adherence to an eventual cease-fire and resolving disputes emerging from the demobilization.

A final peace deal is expected to be signed July 20, according to President Juan Manuel Santos.

"Today is a wonderful day," said Piedad Cordoba, a peace activist and former Colombian senator. "For those who worked for peace when doing so was a crime, to achieve the end of the war is a poetic victory. What immense joy.”

But, as Mario Murillo, professor of Radio, Television, Film at Hofstra University and author of Colombia and the United States: War, Unrest, and Destabilization, told Democracy Now! on Thursday, the ceasefire, while "an incredible moment in Colombian history" and "the beginning of the end of military conflict between the government and FARC rebels, it is not necessarily the end of the war."

"It's going to be a long process of implementation, and of also securing the many different points of the agenda," and "people have to remain really vigilant to make sure that they are indeed followed up on," he added.

The U.S. designates FARC a terrorist organization, and has aided Colombia with a covert CIA program in its fight against the group.

Murillo also spoke about the U.S. involvement in the country over the past several decades, telling Democracy Now! that

part of the argument that the FARC laid out in 1964, 52 years ago, when they were mobilizing and carrying out their initial attempts at land reform and justice and political participation—the same issues that were being negotiated in Havana—they pointed out that if there was a political solution that was looked for and searched for back in the 1960s, based on their demands that were representative of the countryside, of the demands of the people in the countryside, the peasantry, there wouldn’t be a FARC. Now, some people could say that’s historical revisionism, that, obviously, so many things have happened over those 52 years. But what happened was that the United States, under the Johnson administration, insisted on a military solution to the uprising that was taking place in the countryside in Colombia at that time—fear of another Cuba in South America. And obviously that was the approach. And then—that was in the 1960s.

In the 1980s, which was just referred to in terms of how the peace process at that time was trying to politically insert the FARC through the Patriotic Union into the landscape of electoral politics and political participation, the response was a military response, massacring 3,000 to 4,000 militants of the UP. And it was with the support of the Reagan administration and the, you know, CIA in military involvement then. And then—and this is something that [Colombia’s former High Commissioner for Peace] Daniel García-Peña is very clear about—in the 1990s, late '90s and early ’80s, which he initiated in part of those last negotiations, the attempt was—when they were just about to negotiate and begin a process of peace back then, the response was Plan Colombia, militarization, strengthening the armed forces. And now people are, you know, historically looking at it and saying, "Well, the U.S.—if it wasn't for the U.S. support, we wouldn’t have gotten to this point." But if it—but the bottom line is, 15 years have passed since those previous negotiations. Tens of thousands of people have been killed, millions displaced. And so, we have to say, what has been the result of those last 15 years of war, that might have been resolved had they looked at other options?

Watch the full discussion in the Democracy Now! video below:

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

... We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'Congress Must Act': Bernie Sanders Demands End of Filibuster to Codify Abortion Rights

"We must pass legislation that codifies Roe v. Wade as the law of the land in this country. And if there aren't 60 votes to do it, and there are not, we must reform the filibuster to pass it with 50 votes."

Jon Queally ·

Human Rights Defenders Warn Biden Border Policy 'Quickly Transforming Into Trump 2.0'

Like his predecessor, President Joe Biden now being accused of "using racist, xenophobic tropes about immigrants to weaponize Covid-19 against migrants and asylum-seekers."

Jon Queally ·

'Bombshell': Israeli Spyware Used to Hack iPhones of US State Department Officials

Calling the Israel-based spyware maker NSO Group an "in-plain-sight national security threat," one expert warned that "a multi-agency investigation is immediately needed."

Jessica Corbett ·

US Progressive Caucus Hails Honduran Election as Chance for 'New Chapter' in Relations

"We encourage the Biden administration to use this opportunity to make a clean break with previous presidential administrations, which worked to ensure that the 2009 coup d'état succeeded."

Brett Wilkins ·

'The Facts of This Case Are So Egregious': Parents of Michigan School Shooter Charged in Killings

"There were a lot of things that could have been so simple to prevent," the Oakland County prosecutor said of the mother and father now being sought by law enforcement.

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo