The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as the FARC, are the oldest guerrilla group in Latin America and could be living their last days in the jungle before possibly being re-incorporated as a political group.
President Juan Manuel Santos officially announced today that the Colombian government and the armed group FARC will sign a bilateral ceasefire agreement during peace talks in Havana, Cuba. A historic step towards an end to the 50-year-old conflict.
The rebel group and the Colombian government began formal peace talks in 2012 and have been negotiating an end to decades of fighting since then.
According to CERAC (Center of Resources for Conflict Analysis), the unilateral ceasefire declared by the FARC in 2015 avoided more than 1500 violent deaths.
Today, it became known that, the backbone of the agenda on the “end of conflict” will be agreed upon and announced in Havana. Mainly, an official bilateral ceasefire, the distribution of land for the FARC, laying down arms, and the protection and warranties for the process.
This is the next step to reach a definite and final peace agreement. With this announcement, the end of one of the longest conflicts in modern history seems to be finally in sight.
Despite the agreed unilateral ceasefire by the FARC in 2015, attacks have always been a constant threat. Several FARC leaders have been killed by the Colombian government after July 2015.
The army and paramilitary are ubiquitously present in the area. As a result, the FARC live in an environment of hope and stress of war, knowing every minute could be their last.
The rebel group is present virtually everywhere in Colombia. They have extensive knowledge about the jungle and are mix of different ethnic and social backgrounds — farmers, academics, indigenous people, afros, and mestizos. Besides, 40% of the FARC are female. They are equals.
Colombian peace negotiations are now entering their final and most critical stage, as President Juan Manuel Santos and the leader of the FARC announced this week the breakthrough on some of the most poignant aspects that keeps the conflict going.
Midst this process, photographer Federico Rios, portrayed the daily life of the FARC members in what could possibly be their last days in the jungle.
See more of Federico’s images here.