Colombia’s government and leftist rebels said Wednesday that they have reached a deal to end Latin America’s last major guerrilla war, opening a new chapter for the country after more than a half-century of political bloodshed.
Negotiators for the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia said on Twitter that they would announce details of the successful conclusion of negotiations Wednesday evening in Havana.
In the past week, the two sides had worked around the clock to hammer out final details of an accord that commits Colombia’s government to carrying out aggressive land reform, an overhaul of its anti-narcotics strategy and a mass expansion of the state in traditionally neglected areas of the country.
“Today I hope to give historic, very important news to the country,” President Juan Manuel Santos said earlier in the day.
The accord must still be ratified by voters in a plebiscite. But just the wrapping up of talks opens the possibility for Colombians to put behind them more than 50 years of political bloodshed that has claimed more than 220,000 victims and driven more than 5 million people from their homes.
Negotiations began in November 2012 and were plagued by distrust built up during decades of war propaganda on both sides.
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