Ending a half-century of war

2jnphjuoA decade or so has passed since a ferocious war between the state and the FARC, an army of leftist narco-guerrillas, dominated life in Colombia. An offensive launched by government forces in 2002 pushed the FARC into remote mountain and jungle areas. A unilateral ceasefire declared by the FARC last year virtually ended hostilities. Nowadays the war’s terror no longer troubles city-dwelling Colombians.

Nevertheless, the final peace accord announced on August 24th, after four years of talks in Havana, is historic. It ends a war that began 52 years ago and has killed perhaps 220,000 people and displaced 7m more. Under the agreement, the FARC is to turn itself into a normal political party. After its fighters finally remove their uniforms, vestigial insurgencies will continue in South America. A drug-running rump of the Shining Path fights feebly on in Peru and the ELN remains more than a nuisance in Colombia. But the FARC’s recognition of Colombia’s constitutional order represents the death of a strain of Stalinist violence that has plagued Latin America for decades. When Colombia’s citizens vote on the settlement on October 2nd it deserves their endorsement.

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