BOGOTA, Colombia — Headlines in the Colombian media labeled as “historic” Wednesday’s breakthrough in peace talks aimed at ending the country’s half-century-old guerrilla war. But the euphoria may be fleeting.
Negotiators for the South American country’s government and Marxist rebels announced they had reached a deal to allow the guerrillas to participate in legal politics should the fighting come to an end.
Until now, the rebels had stuck to their position that it was too dangerous for leftists to run for office in Colombia and that the only route to power was the warpath.
“What has been agreed to today represents a new democratic opening,” Humberto de la Calle, the government’s lead negotiator, told a news conference in Havana, Cuba, where the talks have been held since November 2012. “This will open up the path for peace to take root and for the conflict to end.”
Despite De la Calle’s upbeat speech, the mood in Colombia has been one of pessimism — even disbelief — that guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, will ever lay down their arms.