Colombia’s government and the country’s largest and oldest rebel group, the FARC, have agreed on the security protocol necessary for the guerrillas’ safe demobilization.
The how and when of the FARC’s pending demobilization will be layed out this Friday in Havana, Cuba where the warring parties have been negotiating peace since late 2012.
The chief observer of the United Nations, Argentine General Javier Perez, will be present when the negotiating teams and guarantor countries explain the details of the FARC’s 180-day demobilization and disarmament process.
The parties are also expect to make announcements on the necessary steps to secure the safe reintegration of FARC fighters.
Following the the last demobilization of a major illegal armed group, the paramilitary AUC, thousands of demobilized members were assassinated.
The last time the FARC tried to participate in politics in 1985, paramilitaries and dissident elements within the military virtually wiped out the Pariotic Union party’s entire base.
Fears are that the guerrillas’ demobilization could ignite another extermination campaign.
President Juan Manuel Santos on Wednesday already announced the FARC will dissolve itself before the peace agreement is sent to the public for approval and before its members will convene in UN-monitored demobilization zones.
The military additionally announced it was training some 12,000 troops to guarantee security in the areas surrounding the 23 demobilization zones.
This public ratification of the deal could halt the FARC’s effective demobilization and disarmament, a possibility that became painfully clear on Thursday when the first poll on the vote indicated that the majority of voters would reject the peace deal as it stands.
This “No” vote is currently being promoted by the conservative opposition in the country that wants higher punishments for FARC guerrillas convicted of war crimes.
The government, the leftist opposition and social organizations that support the deal will have the coming weeks to turn public opinion around in what appears to become a hotly contested vote.