Following a 52-year civil war that claimed over 220,000 lives and displaced more than 6.3 million people, the military camps of the Colombian rebels known by their Spanish acronym, FARC, are in their twilight, following last week's historic peace accords between the left-wing insurgent army and the government.
Government and FARC negotiators unveiled the final peace agreement on Aug. 24 in Havana, Cuba, where negotiations have been underway for nearly four years. The landmark agreement provides for the laying down of arms, substitution of illegal coca crops, land reform, political participation of demobilized rebels, and transitional justice to promote the rights of vicitms, among other measures.
Once President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC leader Timochenko officially sign the final peace accords, the FARC's estimated 7,000 rebels will have 180 days to come out of their mountain camps and demobilize at transitional camps, monitored by the Untied Nations. The FARC's weapons are set to be melted down to create three peace monuments.
Disarmament will be the first step toward the FARC becoming a non-military political movement that will be on the ballot in the country's next general election in 2018. If Colombians vote "yes" to the peace agreement in the plebiscite on Oct. 2, the FARC will have non-voting representation in Congress until the next time the country goes to the polls to elect its leaders.
During the symbolic signing and unveiling of the final peace deal in Havana, chief FARC negotiator Ivan Marquez said, "I think we have won the most beautiful battle: Peace in Colombia."