Colombia and FARC Guerrillas Reach Breakthrough Agreement on Bilateral Cease-Fire

Posted June 29, 2016

MP3 Interview with Mario A. Murillo, professor in the department of Radio, Television and Film at Hofstra University, conducted by Scott Harris

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On June 23, the Colombian government, under President Juan Manuel Santos and the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, led by Timoleon Timochenko, reached an historic agreement on a bilateral ceasefire and the rebels’ disarmament, which now clears a path toward the possible end of more than 50 years of civil war. Negotiations which have been underway in Havana since 2012, with the Cuban government acting as mediator, may conclude with a formal peace agreement signed on July 20, Colombia’s independence day. A final peace deal will require the approval of Colombian voters in a national referendum, which has not as yet been scheduled.

There is concern that right-wing paramilitary groups who are opposed to the peace accord and not part of the agreement, could foment violence that has the potential of destabilizing the hoped for end-of-hostilities. Colombia’s indigenous communities are unhappy that they had no input on the peace deal, and are worried about the impact of post-war agricultural and extractive development projects in previous conflict zones.

The Colombian conflict, one of the world's longest wars began in 1964, and has cost the lives of an estimated 250,000 people, most of them civilians. During the course of the war, more than six million people have been forced to flee their homes. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Mario Murillo, professor in the department of Radio, Television and Film at Hofstra University and author of the book, "Colombia and the United States: War, Unrest and Destabilization." Here, Murillo assesses the significance of the agreement to end Colombia’s five decade-long civil war.

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