The Current

Colombia on the verge of peace agreement after 50 years of war

The Colombian Government and the country's biggest rebel group, FARC say they have a final agreement on a plan to not only bring an end to fifty years of brutal conflict .... but to bring the perpetrators of a half-century's worth of atrocities to some kind of justice.
Cuba's President Raul Castro, (C), Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos, (L), and FARC rebel leader Rodrigo Londono, September 23, 2015. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and the top FARC rebel commander pledged on Wednesday to end Latin America's longest war within six months and sealed their pact with a handshake. (REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini)
Nobody has hate[d] the  FARC  more then I have. The thing is that you make peace with your enemies. You don't make peace with your friends. And that's why I was very glad to stretch my hand to my enemy, the leader of my enemy and say listen... this is a great agreement for Colombia, for the world, for the region, for you and for me.- Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos

It's hardly warm-and-fuzzy. But after 50 years of brutal civil conflict, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos' pragmatic pitch for peace with The FARC is being welcomed by many Colombians. 

Last week, President Santos extended his hand to Timoleon Jimenez, the leader of Colombia's biggest rebel group. The two men then announced that they had come to an agreement on the final element of a peace plan. This last piece had been especially contentious because it lays out the plan to bring the perpetrators to justice. 

The agreement on how to bring the perpetrators of Colombia's violence to justice has been a long time coming.

Pilar Riano-Alcala is a professor at the University of British Columbia. She was one of the researchers for Colombia's Historical Memory Commission, which produced a report about the conflict that was used to inform the peace negotiations.

This segment was produced by The Current's Howard Goldenthal and Leif Zapf-Gilje.