Af­ter emerg­ing from hide­outs, Colom­bia’s rebels now in limbo

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - NATION+WORLD -

As peace talks in Colom­bia ad­vanced over the past year, 7,000 rebel fight­ers be­gan slowly emerg­ing from their jun­gle hide­outs hop­ing for, if not a hero’s wel­come, at least an out­stretched hand from fel­low Colom­bians tired of a half-cen­tury of bloody com­bat.

But with the peace deal’s shock de­feat in a ref­er­en­dum on Sun­day, the fu­ture of the Revo­lu­tion­ary Armed Forces of Colom­bia’s rebels, who unan­i­mously rat­i­fied the ac­cord just days ago and be­gan plan­ning a re­turn to civil­ian life, is now in limbo.

For now, a re­turn to the bat­tle­field in a war that has al­ready killed 220,000 peo­ple and dis­placed 8 mil­lion seems un­likely. Within hours of de­feat, FARC leader Ro­drigo Lon­dono reaf­firmed the group’s com­mit­ment to peace, say­ing its only weapon go­ing for­ward would be the power of its word. On Mon­day, he said his troops would honor its com­mit­ments to the gov­ern­ment and stick by a per­ma­nent cease-fire.

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