Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion will travel to Colombia next week for the signing of a historic peace accord between the government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, better known by its Spanish acronym FARC.
A senior official in the Trudeau government, who spoke to CBC News on the condition of anonymity, said Dion’s presence is meant as a show of support for the peace process. And the official said the federal government is considering assistance to Colombia as part of a broader re-engagement with the world and the United Nations.
The deal, negotiated over four years of talks in Cuba, would see Latin America’s oldest guerrilla group surrender its arms to United Nations monitors in exchange for a series of concessions from the Colombian state. But those concessions are proving difficult for many Colombians to swallow.
For 52 years, FARC has operated from bases in Colombia’s jungles and mountains, nominally fighting for the redistribution of the nation’s land and wealth, but increasingly resembling an organized crime operation built on cocaine trafficking and kidnapping.
The group reached its peak of power more than a decade ago, when people who wanted to travel between Colombia’s cities often had to sign up for long, slow convoys under military escort.
Today, the situation has changed. Colombia’s military has delivered a string of heavy blows to the guerrillas, killing their leaders and liberating their most prized hostages. Some Colombians feel FARC is finally on the run, and have a hard time accepting the terms of the proposed peace accord.
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