Historic peace deal in Colombia

After 52 years of civil war the Colombian government and the Farc rebels have reached a peace agreement. However, the accord has yet to be ratified in a referendum - and many Colombians oppose it. Does peace - which has only existed on paper until now - have a chance?

Open/close all quotes
Keskisuomalainen (FI) /

Big chance for human rights

The peace deal between the government and Farc rebels can help the Colombians restore order in their society, Keskisuomalainen writes:

“The unrest in Colombia will not end entirely because the smaller guerrilla movement ELN has continued its attacks. Yet the end of this long war finally offers the Colombians the chance to repair their society. In this country torn by civil war the violent drug cartels, for example, were able to act relatively freely and Colombian politicians have maintained good relations with right-wing paramilitary groups and criminal organisations. Thanks to the drug trade Farc was one of the richest guerrilla movements and this is why it was able to continue the war for so long. Hopefully the peace in Colombia will improve the sad state of human rights in the country and have a positive impact on the war against drugs worldwide.”

Cumhuriyet (TR) /

New guerilla movements could emerge

Notwithstanding the peace agreement between the government and the Farc rebels peace in Colombia is by no means secure, Cumhuriyet concludes:

“The Colombia conflict began in the 1960s with Farc as the armed wing of the communist party in a series of rural revolts revolving around land claims. The roots of the conflict go back to the colonialism of the 16th century and are based on protecting profits and a small minority that relies on foreign capital. … The economic and social reforms that would have been necessary for redistribution were prevented through the most brutal methods. … A land reform doesn't mean dispensing with the US-backed neo-liberal socioeconomic model any more. But if redistribution and land reform - the two keys to peace - don't improve the situation new guerrilla movements like Farc could emerge.”

Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

Peace deal demands much from Colombians

It is now up to the Colombians to decide whether peace becomes reality, the Süddeutsche Zeitung comments:

“Colombia has signed a controversial, incomplete and flawed peace agreement, but at least it's peace. … However, from peace on paper to peace in people's minds there's still a long way to go. For many Colombians this agreement is an imposition. It demands of them that they accept the former guerilleros as normal citizens. … Colombia's future is now in the hands of the Colombians. At the beginning of October they will vote in a referendum on the Havana pact. They have just two options: yes or no. As things stand now the outcome is uncertain, but [President Juan Manuel] Santos has the potential to convince his people. The warmongers have torpedoed their own arguments.”

Le Courrier (CH) /

Happy ending far from certain

The agreement reached with the Farc guerillas is by no means a guarantee of peace, Le Courrier argues:

“Before the referendum the Farc rebels will hold their tenth conference to explain the peace agreement to their troops, roughly 8,000 men and women, and indicate the steps with which - if the 'yes' wins - the guerilla movement will cease to exist as an armed force and become a political entity. A happy ending? Not quite: The ELN, the last guerilla movement still engaging in the conflict, is reluctant to join the peace negotiations. And the mafiosi paramilitary groups are still spreading terror in numerous regions - hence the government's commitment to fight them and their allies. The post-conflict phase is inspiring more hope than ever - but it also carries considerable risks.”