Magazine article New Internationalist

Is the FARC Peace Deal Something to Celebrate?

Magazine article New Internationalist

Is the FARC Peace Deal Something to Celebrate?

Article excerpt

It was one of those handshakes that will go down in history, bringing memories of Arafat and rabin, McGuinness and Paisley, Manley and Seaga, Mandela and De Klerk. Since colombian President Juan Manuel Santos shook hands with FArc rebel leader alias Timochenko in September, even the sceptics have had to accept that a peace deal is more likely than not, after five decades of conflict.

And there are sceptics on both sides. On the right, there are shrill warnings of a country being handed over to the guerrillas. And on the left, there are more legitimate criticisms that an end to formal conflict will mean little to millions of colombians.

After all, some of the most despicable violence in colombia in the past few decades was not carried out by the FArc but by the colombian army and allied paramilitary groups.

Some even fear that, as in central American countries, formal hostilities could simply metamorphose into disparate criminal violence.

Meanwhile, the colombian president, for all his leadership in peace negotiations, is an old-fashioned market economist who explicitly wants to use a newly peaceful era to continue a classic growth plan based around low-value-added primary exports, with all the predictable consequences in one of the world's most unequal countries. …

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