The Colombian government and Marxist guerrillas known as the FARC have been at war for 52 years. But tonight both sides confirmed from their negotiating table in Havana, Cuba, that a peace agreement has finally been forged.
"[We] have reached a final, full and definite accord," they said in a joint statement.
Colombia’s civil war is Latin America’s last guerrilla conflict. It has left more than 200,000 people dead and millions more displaced. Peace talks began three years ago, and this summer the two sides announced a mutual cease-fire.
The talks have had to tackle the causes of the conflict – especially Colombia’s deep economic inequality. But they’ve also dealt with future political participation for the FARC – and how to get the guerrillas to stop trafficking cocaine.
One of the last big sticking points was how to ensure justice for the war’s victims – and who on both sides should go to prison for atrocities.
President Juan Manuel Santos has staked his legacy on the peace process.
A formal signing of the agreement should take place next month. After that, Santos has to convince Colombian voters to ratify the accord in a referendum that’s expected to be held in October.
Former President Alvaro Uribe, Santos' predecessor, opposes the peace process. His stance is backed by many expats in Miami, home to the U.S.'s largest Colombian community.