WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
16 May 2014 | Commentary

Colombia Takes a Major Step Toward Ending 50 Years of Conflict

WOLA Statement

The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) celebrates today’s announcement in Havana that the Colombian government and the FARC have reached agreement on illicit drug cultivation and trafficking, the third of five substantive agenda points in their negotiations to end Colombia’s internal armed conflict. This accord, which will not be fully revealed until a broader agreement is signed, comes after 25 rounds of talks in Havana, including nine on the current agenda item. WOLA notes the seriousness and discipline with which the talks have taken place and the interlocution efforts made by the Kingdom of Norway, Cuba, Venezuela, and Chile.

It is our hope that this agreement on the drug issue truly commits both sides to work toward a definitive, long-term solution to Colombia’s decades-old drug trafficking problem. Illicit drug crop cultivation, trafficking, and present drug control policies have led to widespread violence and human rights abuses, and have devastated the lives of countless people in Colombia and the United States.

This agreement is the third reached by the negotiating parties; two more remain. After these five points are agreed upon, the parties will also need to agree on how to ratify the full peace agreement. The remaining accords—victims and transitional justice—will require even more seriousness, discipline, and a sober reckoning of both sides’ responsibility for massive human rights abuses and humanitarian crises. The remaining accords will also require even more energetic support from the international community.

Implementing a final accord will require great political will and resources, and U.S. support for Colombia’s peace process remains crucial. We encourage the Obama administration to accept the contents of the accord and to be more vocal in its support of the peace process. We also encourage all donor nations and agencies to regard this process with utmost seriousness. The probability of a final accord has now passed from “moderate” to “strong,” and the time to start preparing to support Colombia’s post-conflict implementation is now.