Colombia's Fork in the Road? President Santos' Treaty with The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)

Ella Adriana Chirinos


Colombia is considered Latin America’s most stable democracy, and at the same time, it is war-torn by the internal conflict with the guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The armed conflict with the FARC has lasted for fifty-two years and has claimed the lives of 220,000 innocent civilians. The year 2016 marked the historical and controversial moment that President Santos of Colombia signed a peace treaty with the FARC, ignoring the results of a referendum that was intended to ratify the treaty. Importantly between the years 2015 and 2016, years in which the negotiation was taking place, Colombia’s cocaine output increased by 37 percent, which calls into question the FARC’s real motives in the peace treaty. This paper will argue that in neglecting to recognize the FARC’s role in drug trafficking allows for future repercussions in Colombian politics and does not ensure that the democracy of which Colombia has boasted can be maintained. Furthermore, this paper will argue that in bypassing the results of the referendum allows leeway for the next government to oppose the peace treaty and create severe consequences for Colombia. In sum, President Santos has embarked Colombia on a journey it did not choose, leaving the future uncertain.


Peace Treaty; drug trafficking; FARC; Referendum

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