Colombia celebrated its national Independence Day, after the hours of FARC rebels declared ceasefire, on Monday.
Marxist FARC, Colombia’s oldest and strongest rebel group, released a captive soldier as a goodwill gesture, a day before observing the unilateral ceasefire. This is the second time that guerrilla group has declared ceasefire in the past year.
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia, or FARC, is the last guerilla conflict in South America, which has seen many of the left-wing guerilla groups in the past.
The government has hinted that Monday’s ceasefire measure could make or break the peace talks, which began three years ago in Havana. The negotiations were suspended last year when the insurgents captured a military general and two others.
Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas said the armed forces would do “everything possible” to support a negotiated end to the conflict. However, if that is not in the cards, “Colombia should know we can also end the conflict through armed force.”
The current ceasefire improves the chances of ending a five-decade long conflict between the government forces and left-wing guerrilla group.
Juan Manual Santos, Colombian President, has said that the government will de-escalate its attacks on the guerrilla fighters to ensure successful peace talks.
“The state officials will negotiate for four more months and then decide whether to continue,” he added.
Since 1960s, the country has suffered from many insurgent and violent groups. The struggle and endurance of the Columbians has claimed 200,000 lives and more than six million people have fled their homes.
Colombia is known for its rich culture, vast rainforest, coffee plantations and wonderful music. Moreover, today it is the third largest oil producer in the region.
The cabinet has started working to find the ways to protect the rebels who have laid their weapons. IMAGE/news.yahoo.com