As Columbia prepares to enter into an historic peace agreement with the Marxist guerrillas known as the FARC, observers speculate about the price the country's citizens will pay for peace. Drawing on research conducted in-country during the annual Colombia Staff Ride, thanks to generous support from Marcus and Carole Weinstein, Associate Professor of Political Science Russell Crandall and Haley Rhodes '16 outline the ‘post-conflict' era challenges the country will face in a piece for The American Interest Magazine.
Overshadowed by a slew of global crises is the remarkable news of an imminent peace accord between the Colombian government and the Marxist guerrillas known as the FARC. The negotiations in Havana promise to formally end a half-century-long internal war that has displaced more than six million Colombians and killed a quarter of a million. The negotiations, however, have missed their much-anticipated March 23 deadline. Negotiators have reached partial agreements on four of the five pillars of the accord: agrarian reform, reparations for the war's victims, illicit drugs, and guerrilla participation in politics. In dozens of rounds of negotiations, the two sides are now addressing the final steps of a formal ceasefire and the demobilization of the FARC (short for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia)...
During our research visit to Colombia in early January, we met with various government ministries in Bogotá working frenetically, even during Christmas and New Year's, to iron out the details for implementing whatever final accords are agreed to in Cuba. But if you want to get a better sense of the many problems that will confront Colombia in its "post conflict" era, you have to leave the 21st-century capital behind and pay a visit the mid-sized yet vitally important city of Cúcuta, which sits on the Táchira River delineating the border with Venezuela.