via NY Times:
Colombia’s government and the largest rebel group in the country have reached a deal to end more than 50 years of conflict, the two sides announced Wednesday, paving the way for an end to the longest-running war in the Americas.
For four years, the Colombian government and the rebels have been locked in negotiations. Time and again, they have emerged from the negotiating table to assure a weary public that another impasse had been eliminated, another hurdle cleared.
This time, the two sides declared that a final deal had been clinched.
“Today begins the end of the suffering, the pain and the tragedy of war,” President Juan Manuel Santos said in a nationally televised address after the agreement was announced. “Let’s open the door together to a new stage in our history.”
The agreement, reached in Havana where the talks took place, effectively signifies the end of the last major guerrilla struggle in Latin America.
It outlines a timetable in which the rebels, known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, will abandon their arms. It also sets out a pathway in which former fighters will enter civilian life again — and in some cases, run for office.
But to most Colombians, the deal is simply a promise that the war, which has lasted 52 years, claimed some 220,000 lives and displaced more than five million people, is at last coming to an end.