Colombia on Wednesday announced that it had signed a historic peace accord with FARC rebels after four years of dialogue. It ends over 52 years of strife between the government and the armed militia during which the country was pushed to the brink of economic collapse.
The announcement, broadcast live from Havana, the capital of Cuba, late on Wednesday night local time, was met with scenes of joyous celebrations among citizens of Colombia. Havana happens to be the third-party location where peace talks between both the parties had taken place over the past four years.
"The Colombian government and the FARC announce that we have reached a final, full and definitive accord," Colombian government and FARC negotiators said in a joint statement, bringing the curtains down on a strife that claimed around 222,000 lives.
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombiaâ€”People's Army (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombiaâ€”EjÃ©rcito del Pueblo in Spanish, shortened to FARCâ€“EP or FARC) started off as a combine of armed Communist groups in the mid-1960s. It was brought together by their opposition of the efforts by the United States to instil an anti-Communist atmosphere in Colombia following the assassination of popular Communist leader Jorge Eliecer Gaitan.
Their congealing is often considered to coincide with the beginning of the Colombian armed conflict that began in 1964, as FARC, other Leftist armed groups, the Colombian government, paramilitary groups and crime syndicates jockeyed for power and influence in the country.
FARC, till the day of the end of the strife, claimed that it was fighting for the rights of the economically weaker section of society, to protect this section from the government's excesses and to give them justice. The government itself, meanwhile, used to say that it was fighting to establish order and security.