As the peace deal between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC, is underway – there is skepticism. The skepticism about the peace deal stems from suffering endured during the long and violent conflict.
CCTV’s Michelle Begue has more on what led to the bloodshed over the past five decades.
FARC was born in 1964. It started as a communist peasant movement that later escalated with the push from the Colombian government.
“It’s a self-defense movement which, when the military forces entered the region, was converted into a guerrilla movement,” explained Commander Circo Trujillo, second in command of the FARC in the 1960s.
With a call to arms, the group declared its intentions to overthrow the government and install a Marxist regime. But it took more than just weapons for the group to grow from a few thousand rebels to a persistent force with an estimated 20,000 fighters at its peak in 2002.
The rebel’s involvement in the drug trade was allegedly to fund its campaign.
By the end of 2002, the FARC and Colombian government had engaged in four years of peace talks that ultimately failed.
The FARC later became stronger than ever. However, with the newly-elected President Alvaro Uribe Velez, there was an unprecedented offensive, backed by the United States, against the rebel group.
According to the Colombian government, the military offensive over the years was a setback for the guerrilla group, resulting in a drop in membership from 16,000 in 2001 to nearly 8,000 currently.
A love story in the heart of a FARC camp
As Colombia edges towards a peace deal with its largest rebel group, many of the rebel fighters are starting to think of life beyond the war.
CCTV’s Toby Muse has more.
Yuli and Edison are like any other young couple in love- except they’re leftist guerrillas in the FARC.
They live together in the jungle camps that serve as home for the rebels. But now, like thousands of other guerrillas, they hope a peace process with the government will bring their war to an end.
They’ve been together for five months. Relationships like these are common in the FARC as 40 percent of the fighters are women. They dream of starting a new life after the war.
Edison wants to be an engineer or a doctor. Yuli aims to study law and become a journalist.