January 26, 2016, William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies
On September 23, 2015, the Colombian government announced a breakthrough in the peace talks between government representatives and the largest insurgent group in the country. Over the previous three years, the government and representatives of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, People’s Army (commonly referred to as the FARC-EP by its abbreviation in Spanish) had met in Cuba dozens of times to try to resolve issues like land reform, the political participation of the FARC, and the cessation of drug trafficking. The two groups revealed that they had reached an agreement on these and other complex issues. March 23, 2016 was set for a target date to sign the final accord. The announcement raised hopes that the country could bring to a close a long, bloody conflict – the longest ongoing insurgency in the world – that had claimed the lives of tens of thousands of civilians and left the country in tatters economically and socially.