With apologies to Sophocles, not many Colombians seem to love the messenger who brings good news. That says as much about the messenger as it does about the wannabe oracles and the legacy of a gruesome 50-year armed battle with moral certainties mottled in dark grey tones rather than highlighted in chiaroscuro effects.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced on Aug. 24 that after four years at the negotiation table, the government and the FARC guerrillas, the largest and most vexatious of the country’s armed insurgent groups, had signed a historic peace agreement. The internal conflict has left 220,000 killed, 45,000 disappeared and seven million internally displaced. For context, using 2016 numbers, this would equal 162,000 Canadians killed, 33,128 disappeared and 5.2 million displaced.
The signing of the agreement is the first step in a national reconciliation and remediation process that could take 25 years to implement fully. The first tangible result was the announcement by both parties last week that the FARC fighters and 480,000 Colombian soldiers have ceased hostilities.
Kenneth Frankel is the president of the Canadian Council for the Americas and a Board member of Global Americans.
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