While Colombians Are Skeptical Of FARC Peace Deal, The Rebels Are Tired Of Fighting

The FARC peace deal initially began with the signing of Cessation of Hostilities between the Colombian government and Las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) rebels on June 24 of this year.

As referred to in the report by TeleSur, the FARC peace deal has been improved to be legally binding so that a right-wing administration could not dismantle it in the future.

The current liberal administration under President Juan Manuel Santos — from the Partido Social de Unidad Nacional or the Social Party of National Unity — has offered the FARC leadership a seat in the government to help implement policies rather than fighting it out in the forests.

In August 2012, Al Jazeera was one of the first to report on the president’s approach to the rebels to initiate peace talks.

“Exploratory conversations have been held with the FARC to find an end to the conflict. I want to make very clear to Colombians that the approaches that have been carried out and the ones that will happen in the future will be carried out within the framework based on these principles: We are going to learn from the mistakes made in the past so that they are not repeated. Second, any process must lead to the end of the conflict, not making it longer. Third, operations and military presence will be maintained across the entire national territory.”

A similar deal in comparison is currently being sought to end the five-year Syrian civil war from outside influences, but the FARC peace deal is different as it puts an end to a war that’s been ongoing for 52 years.

FARC cuts deal with Colombian president in Havana, Cuba
Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos shakes hands with the Commander of FARC Timoleon Jimenez, in Havana, Cuba with Cuban president Raul Castro in the middle. [Image by Ramon Espinosa/AP Photo]

CNN writes about the peace deal of which many Colombians are skeptical.

“I do not think it will become true, however. I don’t think the agreement will become a reality because (they are) dealing with people who have killed so many children, that have maimed people and suddenly they are in government… how will this country end up with such people?”

Guests on The Diane Rehm show included journalist Peter Bergen, who said that there were uncomfortable compromises in the FARC peace deal, which is similar to what happened with the Irish Republican Army (IRA), but agreed at the same time that people of Colombia would not agree to give them a seat in the government — along with immunity — especially after they killed so many people for so long.

One person named Juan called into the show, claiming they were from Colombia and believed that the FARC peace deal was just an act, for the simple reason that the rebels were fighting over territory to manufacture cocaine to bring to the United States.

FARC rebels learn about the ceasefire from their commanders.
Two female FARC rebels listen to commander talk about the new peace deal with the Colombian government. It's been said that younger fighters have been forced to join the rebels, and might not have the will to fight. [Image by Rodrigo Abd/AP Photo]

There have been reports over the years as the FARC peace deal was in the works that the rebels were helping the government crack down on drug traffickers, something they were already doing in areas where they had power of authority.

However, Nadia Bilbassy, who is with al-Arabiya, is suggesting that the FARC rebels are tired and so a peace deal is acceptable, considering that the Colombian government has already killed a lot of their leadership.

The report referred to above by Al Jazeera also says that the FARC peace deal was initiated months after the group’s Supreme Commander Alfonso Cano had been killed in a shootout with the military.

It’s been reported that since 2010, what might have led to the FARC peace deal was the fact that their influence had been significantly reduced where they did not get the support of local communities. In some areas where the government had no presence, the FARC had established a de facto government where they provided services.

Sometimes, the relationships with the communities had been established for decades, where in other places, they were seen as a part of the problem, which no doubt is the reason the peace deal irritates Colombians.

In any case, it has also been noted that most people alive do not remember a time when the rebels were not around, which is the main reason many are skeptical about the FARC peace deal.

[Photo by Scott Dalton/AP Images]