Peace Talks in Colombia

Peace Talks in Colombia

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In August 2012, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced that the government was engaged in exploratory peace talks with the violent leftist insurgent group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), in a bid to resolve a nearly 50-year internal armed conflict. The secret, initial dialogue between the Santos government and the FARC's leadership led to the opening of formal peace talks with the FARC-the oldest, largest, and best financed guerrilla organization in Latin America. The formal talks began in Oslo, Norway, in October 2012 and then, as planned, moved to Havana, Cuba, where they have continued for more than 30 rounds. The talks between the government and FARC are the first in a decade and the fourth effort in the last 30 years. Some observers maintain that conditions are the most attractive to date for both sides to negotiate a peace settlement rather than continuing to fight. It now appears that the Santos Administration anticipated the peace initiative by proposing several legislative reforms enacted in the first two years of its first term (2010-2012), including a law to restitute victims of the conflict and a "peace framework" law. In addition, the warming of relations with neighboring countries such as Ecuador and Venezuela since President Santos took office in August 2010 also helped lay the groundwork for the peace process. Venezuela, Chile, Cuba, and Norway have actively supported the process, which has been lauded by most countries in the region. Congress remains deeply interested in the political future of Colombia, as it has become one of the United States' closest allies in Latin America. Congress has expressed that interest by its continued investment in Colombia's security and stability. Over the years, the U.S.-Colombian relationship has broadened from counternarcotics to include humanitarian concerns; justice reform and human rights; and economic development, investment, and trade. However, Colombia is and has long been a major source country of cocaine and heroin, and drug trafficking has helped to perpetuate civil conflict in the country by funding both left-wing and right-wing armed groups. Colombia, in close collaboration with the United States, through a broad strategy known as Plan Colombia begun more than 14 years ago, has made significant progress in reestablishing government control over much of its territory, combatting drug trafficking and terrorist activities, and reducing poverty. Between FY2000 and FY2015, the U.S. Congress appropriated nearly $10 billion in assistance to carry out Plan Colombia and its follow-on strategies. Since the formal peace talks were announced, the White House and U.S. State Department have issued several statements endorsing the FARC-government peace process. While the United States has no formal role in the talks, its close partnership with Colombia, forged initially around counternarcotics and counterterrorism cooperation, makes the outcome of the talks significant for U.S. interests and policy in Latin America. Successful conclusion of the peace talks-and a potential agreement-may affect the U.S.-Colombia relationship in such areas as U.S. foreign assistance and regional relations.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 38 pages
  • 215.9 x 279.4 x 2.29mm | 149.68g
  • United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1508602913
  • 9781508602910