Colombian government head of delegation for peace talks Humberto de la Calle (R) and FARC-EP Commander Ivan Marquez (L) shake hands upon signing of the agreement at conclusion of the peace talks in Havana. (Image Credit: AFP)

Colombia: 50 years of war ends with a handshake

Colombian government reaches agreement with rebels to end one of world’s longest-running conflicts

Havana: Colombia’s government and the country’s biggest rebel group reached a deal Wednesday evening for ending a half-century of hostilities in what has been one of the world’s longest-running armed conflicts.

The government’s accord with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia must still be ratified by voters in a plebiscite in order to take effect.

But the announcement in Havana of a deal after four years of talks opens the possibility for Colombians to put behind them political bloodshed that has claimed more than 220,000 lives and driven more than 5 million people from their homes.

“I can die in peace because finally I’ll see my country without violence with a future for my children,” said Orlando Guevara, 57, crying as he watched the announcement on a giant TV screen with about 400 other people on a plaza in Colombia’s capital. Some in the crowd waved white flags symbolizing peace and others held up the national flag.

As soon as rebel leader Ivan Marquez finished his speech, bringing an end to...Read more...