Carlos Ordonez has no idea what peace looks like since his town has been under constant threat from rebels for as long as he remembers.
But the 25-year-old believes he’s about to find out now that Colombia’s largest rebel group has signed a cease-fire, demobilization and disarmament deal that will take effect once it and the government sign a final accord to end 52 years of fighting.
People in the capital hugged and cried when President Juan Manuel Santos shook hands with Rodrigo Londono, commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. In rural areas like Ordonez’s town of Corinto, population 30,000, residents wondered what life might look after a conflict that has left millions displaced and more than 200,000 dead.
“We are children of violence,” Ordonez said Friday, a day after the disarmament agreement was formalized. “The FARC barged into my house and shot my mother dead. She was a housewife. We are tired of war.”
Santos has said he thinks the accord could come as early as next month, although negotiators have missed a series of other government-announced deadlines.
Along with a framework for a cease-fire, both sides agreed on a demobilization plan that will see guerrillas concentrate in rural areas under government protection and relinquish weapons to U.N. monitors. Disarmament would be required to be completed within no more than six months of a peace accord’s signing.
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