On Wednesday spokespersons from both the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) announced that after years of peace talks they have finally reached a conclusive agreement that will lead to a complete bilateral ceasefire. The historic announcement marks the end of the half-century-long civil war that has claimed over 200,000 lives and displaced millions across the country’s rural areas.
President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC commander Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri (known by the alias Timochenko) shook hands at a ceremony in Havana, where the talks have been held since they began in 2013. Cuban President Rául Castro presided over the event and stood by as Timochenko, the Marxist rebel group’s most senior leader, reached out his hand to President Santos, a former defense minister during the Uribe administration and member of the conservative Party of the U. Also in attendance was Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, whose country played a key role in encouraging the FARC to enter negotiations, as well as UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon and the leaders of several other Latin American and Caribbean nations.