The Next Step in FARC & Colombia Relations

October 12, 2016

After nearly two years of peace negotiations between FARC and the Colombian government, the FARC have done something they have never done before. In all the 50 years that FARC has been terrorizing Colombia, they have never once sequestered a government or military official, but on November 16th, 2014, a leading general in the Colombian military was captured while traversing a remote river in an indigenous region of the Colombian rainforest.

General Rúben Alzate, and his two companions, one a soldier and the other a government attorney, were captured by FARC rebels after apparently traveling too deep into rebel territory. The president of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, has made FARC negotiations his top priority and this development has completely derailed all progress made between the two groups. Santos cancelled the peace talk that was scheduled for the week and gave a statement about the cancellation, but this incident has left Santos’ approval rating lower than ever.

Fortunately, on November 19th, a deal was reached between FARC and the government with the assistance of Cuba and Norway, the two countries that are assisting with the peace talks. While a deal between the two conflicting parties has yet to reach fruition, the FARC did agree to release Alzate and his two companions. The deal also happens to land on the exact two year anniversary of the commencement of peace negotiations. While the peace talks are currently stuck in a stalemate, FARC rebels have been busy continuing their bloody rule over rural areas.

Recently, FARC killed two indigenous men and another two soldiers in northeast Colombia. Perhaps the fact that FARC is two peace deals away from becoming illegitimate is creating an adverse reaction amongst the rebels, but so far the negotiations reached between the two parties are stopping drug trafficking, agrarian reform, and political integration/participation. The only two deals left to negotiate are the laying down of arms and possible prosecution of FARC rebels. These last two deals seem to be the hardest to negotiate and have created FARC backlash. For now, Santos and his cabinet will continue to host peace talks but it seems as though the last step towards peace in Colombia will be the hardest one yet.

1) Miroff, Nick. "Colombia Peace Talks Frozen after General's Kidnapping." Washington Post. The Washington Post, 17 Nov. 2014. Web. 24 Nov. 2014. <>.

2) "Deal Reportedly Reached to Free Captured Colombian General." Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 19 Nov. 2014. Web. 24 Nov. 2014. <

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Sophia Winston
Sophia Winston is a Spanish and Urban Studies major at the University of Pittsburgh, she is also pursuing a certificate in Latin American Studies and a minor in Portuguese. She has spent a semester abroad in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and is currently a senior.