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      Colombia's FARC Rebels Choose Peace Over Drugs in Landmark Agreement

      Colombia's FARC Rebels Choose Peace Over Drugs in Landmark Agreement Colombia's FARC Rebels Choose Peace Over Drugs in Landmark Agreement Colombia's FARC Rebels Choose Peace Over Drugs in Landmark Agreement
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      Colombia's FARC Rebels Choose Peace Over Drugs in Landmark Agreement

      By Joan Camejo

      A Colombian guerrilla rebel group proved their commitment to peace after signing a pact to end their ties with drug traffickers this past week.

      The representatives of the self–declared Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia–People’s Army (FARC–EP) and Colombia government officials finalized a historic agreement over drug trafficking and illicit crops on Friday.

      The agreement was reached after the announcement of a unilateral ceasefire between FARC and the National Liberation Army (ELN) — the second most important insurgent force in Colombia for facilitating the electoral process of the presidential elections on May 25.

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      A joint press-release read at the Conventions Palace in Havana, Cuba — where the peace talks have been taking place — indicated that “it has been established that the forced eradication [of the cultivation fields] is to intensify, and FARC is committed to de-­mining the camps where the cultivation is taking place.”

      The document, which was made public before the representatives of the guarantor countries who have accompanied the peace process — Cuba, Norway, Chile, and Venezuela — said that agreements have been reached for the substitution of illegal cultivation fields, programs to prevent consumption and to benefit public health, and a solution for the production and commercialization of narcotics.

      The agreement is seen as a step toward a final solution against the war on drugs and guerrilla conflict that has taken more than 200,000 lives since 1964.

      “The FARC–EP’s compromise [is] to contribute in an effective manner, with utmost determination and several different methods, through practical actions, with a definitive solution to the problem of illegal drugs, and a set scenario to end the conflict, to end all ties, which for the sake of rebellion and conflict, may have contributed to this phenomenon,” the joint document states.

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      The document adds that they “have agreed to further a strategy that includes, amongst other topics, the mapping of the drug–lord hierarchy, new regulations to cover all of the sectors affected by this phenomenon, the creation of new investigatory agencies, and a national campaign against money laundering.”

      It is latest agreement that has been reached in the dialogues between FARC and Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos' administration. The groups had previously reached agreements focused on “integral agrarian development” and political participation.

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      The Colombian left-wing paramilitary group FARC declared a 30-day unilateral ceasefire on December 8 following an attack on a police station, which killed eight people, on December 7.

      However, Colombian Minister of Defense Juan Carlos Pinzón warned that even with the unilateral ceasefire, the security forces “will not stop chasing” the guerrillas.

      And there are still pending issues on the negotiation table.

      President Santos announced on national television that his government believes the “two major issues, such as the victims, and the conditions to terminate the armed conflict” still need to be resolved.

      Topics: drugs, cuba, colombia, americas, latin america, farc, peace talks, presidential elections, narco, juan manuel santos, guerrilla, juan carlos pinzón

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