The Agreement does More than Silence Weapons; It Delivers a Welcome End to Conflict for Colombians, a Majority of Whom Have Never Lived in a Country at Peace.
Opinion piece in the New York Times by Juan Manuel Santos on May 19, 2017, published during visit to USA.
[…] I ran for president of Colombia to lead a nation where the books we give Colombia’s schoolchildren teach reading, science, math and poetry, not warnings against stepping on explosives. Today – having signed a historic peace agreement between my government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, on Nov. 24 – we are building a peaceful Colombia.
In more than 203 Colombian municipalities, the dangerous work of locating, disabling and removing Colombia’s land mines is being carried out by NGOs, specially trained units of the Colombian armed forces and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. Our goal is to make Colombia land-mine free by 2021.
Last year, we saw the lowest level of violence in our country in more than 40 years. FARC guerillas are turning their arms over to United Nations supervisors. But the agreement does more than silence weapons; it delivers a welcome end to conflict for Colombians, a majority of whom have never lived in a country at peace.
The agreement sets out to bridge the historic divide between the Colombia of developed urban centers and that of the vast, impoverished interior, where historically there has been little or no government presence and, as a result, limited security, weak rule of law and deficient health care and education.