Here’s the century-long history behind Colombia’s peace agreement with the FARC

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tags: Colombia, FARC

A central concern is the creation of “independent republics,” which critics of the peace deal claim the FARC will now establish. Acting from these remote territories, a FARC-led political movement might then subvert Colombia’s constitutional democracy. Of immediate importance are the 28 designated rural disarmament districts and camps where an estimated 7,000 FARC fighters will disarm and begin reintegration into civilian life.

The peace accord also supports the continuation of government-authorized peasant reserve zones, designated in 1994 to guarantee peasant farmers access to land. The majority of existing peasant reserves — and the disarmament districts — are located in impoverished, sparsely settled areas of central and southern Colombia, the FARC’s historic heartland.

But “independent republics” have been a red flag in Colombia for more than a century. Similar concerns circulated as early as 1910, when Conservative Party politician Laureano Gómez denounced Panama — which had recently seceded from Colombia — as a “little republic.” In a speech before the Colombian Senate a half-century later, in 1961, Gómez’s son blasted the government for ignoring the growing number of independent republics within Colombia’s borders. He warned of a dire threat to Colombia’s sovereignty, as many of these republics were aligned with Colombia’s Communist Party.

Read entire article at WaPo

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