After four years of tough negotiations in Havana, today the Colombian president, Juan Manuel Santos, and the Marxist rebel leader Timochenko are signing a peace deal which will put an end to a half-century war that has killed a quarter of a million people, blocked the economic system and made Colombia a highly unstable country.
More than 2,500 foreign and local dignitaries are attending the ceremony in Cartagena, where these two leaders will shake hands for the first time in Colombia. The UN chief, Ban Ki-moon, the Cuban president, Raúl Castro, or the US secretary of state, John Kerry are some of the personalities who will be present at the historical peace treaty which will turn the FARC (The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) guerrilla group into a legal political party.
The agreement must be ratified by a plebiscite on 2nd October, but polls indicate that it will pass easily since there is widespread relief in Colombian society at an end to the kidnappings and hostilities of the last decades. Moreover, the revolutionary group will hand over weapons to the United Nations within 180 days.
Colombians and the rest of Latin American countries are optimistic, as peace will bring more positive results than problems. They hope to reduce security costs and open new areas for mining and oil companies, in order to restore social and political stability in the country.