The longest-running conflict in the Western Hemisphere will officially come to an end Wednesday at 7 p.m. EST when the Colombian government and Marxist rebels will announce a final peace deal in Havana.
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (better known by the Spanish acronym FARC) rebels have been at war with the Colombian government for over 50 years. Both sides announced a permanent ceasefire in June and the peace deal announced today is what will then be presented to Colombian voters in a referendum to approve or reject it.
Negotiations between the government and the rebels began back on November 19, 2012 and have been held in Havana with Norwegian mediators. Over 220,000 people have lost their lives as a result of the decades-long conflict.
An actual signing ceremony for the peace deal is expected to take place in mid-September. Roman Catholic Church leader Pope Francis has long been supportive of a peace deal ending the war. The FARC rebels tried to take advantage of the Pope’s support for a deal in April, writing the spiritual leader an open letter, claiming that paramilitary drug traffickers had teamed up with political opponents of a peace deal to undermine negotiations.
FARC leader Rodrigo “Timochenko” Londono claimed at the time in his letter to Francis, “There are serious storm threats on the horizon, which threaten to knock down this grand effort by all the Colombian people.”