Eventful year ends with breakthrough on Colombia peace talks

World Today

It has been an eventful year for Colombia’s peace process. While efforts to end 50 years of armed conflict, faced its first major crisis, the year also ended with a historic effort of de-escalation of the conflict by the rebel group FARC. CCTV America’s Michelle Begue reported about the peace talks from Colombia.

Eventful year ends with breakthrough on Colombia peace talks

It has been an eventful year for Colombia's peace process. While efforts to end 50 years of armed conflict, faced its first major crisis, the year also ended with a historic effort of de-escalation of the conflict by the rebel group FARC. CCTV America's Michelle Begue reported about the peace talks from Colombia.

2014 was an eventful if not important year for Colombia’s peace process, some could even call it a Spanish telenovela. The year started off with a scandal, as news broke out in February that the Colombian military was wiretapping the government and FARC rebel delegations holding talks in Havana. The impasse cast doubts on the Military’s support for peace talks.

“What dark forces are behind this? If there are loose wheels in the army’s intelligence, who are they informing,” Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos said.

“Former President Alvaro Uribe is behind all of this. Let us not forget that he is the public enemy of the peace talks,” Ivan Marquez, the FARC negotiator, said.

The shadow over the talks seemed to lift on May 16th when negotiators announced they reached an agreement on the topic of drug trafficking and cultivation of illicit crops, which was the third item on a five point agenda.

The peace process took center stage during Santos’ re-election campaign and many saw his second round victory in June as referendum on peace.

Historic steps were taken in August, as 12 victims of the Colombian armed conflict traveled to Havana to participate in talks. The total 60 victims were part of an unprecedented effort to include victims in conflict resolution.

“They haven’t asked for our forgiveness yet, but we are waiting for it, because our generations have suffered. We come without hate,” a victim of conflict, Janete Bautista, said.

With important breakthroughs, there were still many skeptics primarily led by former President Alvaro Uribe Velez. The peace process had a dramatic end as the talks were suspended and later restarted with the release of an abducted Colombian General.

But arguably, the biggest announcement came at the end of the 31st round of negotiations when the FARC announced an unlimited unilateral ceasefire.

“The protagonist of the peace process this year has been the FARC without a doubt, and if everything goes as planned, the protagonist in 2015 will be Juan Manuel Santos, because he will sign the peace and the era of the post conflict will begin,” Jairo Libreros, a political analyst, said.

The unlimited ceasefire by the FARC has only just begun, and there were still many more hurdles for the peace process. Negotiators were still hashing out two final agreements on the five point agenda. But even Santos has expressed his wish that 2015 be the year that brings a long-awaited peace.