The new peace deal recently signed between the Colombian government and the leftist rebel group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) is a welcome development, and hopefully brings to an end over fifty years of an adversarial relationship which has resulted in the deaths of over two hundred and fifty thousand Colombians and the displacement of over two million people owing to the internecine conflict between the two rival groups.
Both President Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC leader, Rodrigo Londono, should be commended for arriving at such a landmark agreement, which was reportedly facilitated by the Cuban government.
The signing of this new peace deal sets the stage for a new era of enlightened and competitive politics where FARC which for decades had been operating underground and in a clandestine manner can now transform itself into a party and hopefully become a powerful political force given its pro-poor and working class orientation.
President Santos has taken a bold step in agreeing to a peace accord, especially given his earlier anti-FARC positions and the strong objections from a significant number of Colombians and from the political opposition. He won the Nobel Peace Prize and received praise from several world leaders including UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for the step taken.
One can only hope that the deal reached will be honoured by both sides, especially in light of the opposition to an earlier accord reached earlier this year and which was put to a national referendum and narrowly failed to get majority support.
Peace has indeed been given a chance. Will it work? Time will tell.