The FARC, Columbian rebel movement, and representatives from the Columbian Government have met in Cuba this week, in an effort to restore peace to the fractured South American nation, yet reports of a meeting between the FARC and other revolutionary group the ELN will do little to ease the struggling peace process.
The talks mark the third such attempt at peace between the populist communist rebels and the Government after a ten-year US backed offensive campaign by the government failed to quash the rebel movement completely. The recently announced union between the ELN and the FARC bolsters the FARC’s political power.
Despite this, little progress has been made, with the main sticking point for the negotiations concerning the FARC’s demands for a delayed election so that the movement may be properly incorporated into the political process. So far, the government has denied their requests.
The Columbian conflict has claimed the lives of over 100,000 Columbians and caused countless problems for the beleaguered nation in a conflict that has spanned five decades since the creation of the FARC in the 1960s.
The two groups reached a compromise in May over the issue of agricultural reform, but issues over land, foreign interests, the drug trade and the class divide still separate the government from the rebels and form significant stumbling blocks on the road to peace in the country. Recent foreign investment has further highlighted the poor and rich divide in Columbia, strengthening the FARC’s resolve.
Columbia and perhaps South America both have a dangerous reputation, and this mostly deserved reputation will not completely dissipate until the reconciliation efforts by Columbia’s political powers bear actual results. If Columbia is to move on to become a developing nation, it’s political leaders and rebels need to reach compromise in the name of all it’s citizens, rather than fighting for segregated and maligned groups of Columbians, as they have done for decades.