Colombia's government and the FARC rebels signed a landmark agreement on Nov. 6 that is supposed to guarantee the guerrilla group's political participation. The accord is the second of six foreseen pacts to end nearly 50 years of civil war in Colombia. "We have come to a fundamental agreement about the second point of the agenda," FARC and government negotiators said in a joint statement read by the Norwegian delegate, one of the mediators at the peace talks in Havana. The pact, which comes just two weeks before the one-year anniversary of the opening of the talks, outlines "guarantees for the exercise of the political opposition in general and in particular for the new movements that arise after the signing of the Final Agreement." Details are not be made public until a final deal has been signed.
Ivan Cepeda, outspoken congressman of the leftist Polo Democratico party—and once a sympathizer of the demobilized M-19 urban guerrilla group—said that an agreement on political participation is fundamental to end the armed conflict. Speaking to Caracol Radio, he affirmed that guarantees for the security of the political opposition are necessary to avoid repeating the experience of the Union Patriotica. The FARC's first attempt at political participation, the Union Patriotica suffered near 3,000 assassinations leading up to Colombia’s 1990 presidential elections.
Former president and vocal critic of the peace talks Alvaro Uribe responded bitterly to the new political agreement via Twitter: "Colombia is the only democracy that accepts negotiating its democracy with terrorism." (Colombia Reports, Nov. 6)