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Thu Jun 5, 2014, 02:08 AM

Let Colombia End Its Civil War

Let Colombia End Its Civil War
Analysis by Adam Schaffer and Gimena Sanchez

[font size=1]
Unmarked graves of victims of Colombia’s half-century civil war, like this one in La Macarena in central Colombia, are
scattered across the country. Credit: Constanza Vieira/IPS[/font]

WASHINGTON , Jun 3 2014 (IPS) - After half a century, Colombia may put an end to its conflict—if the U.S. will allow it.

Colombia has been the host of some of the most extreme and brutal violence in Latin America’s history. The country’s half-century long conflict has taken the lives of almost a quarter million women, men, and children, and displaced nearly six million more.

The United States has financed much of the conflict in recent years, investing nine billion dollars since 2000 – much of it to bolster Colombia’s security forces.

Yet peace may be near. On May 16, the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the country’s largest guerrilla group, signed a preliminary accord on the third of five negotiating points in their ongoing peace talks in Havana, Cuba: illicit drugs.

The agreement offers a viable plan for the FARC to end its involvement in the Colombian drug trade, alternatives for small-scale cultivators of crops destined for illicit drug markets, and meaningful policy reforms at the national level for addressing issues of drug consumption and public health.


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