Ivan Marquez of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia—People’s Army, also known as FARC, said in September that unless the government offers amnesty to his guerillas, there will be no peace.
The guerrillas have battled the Colombian government for 52 years, this the longest lasting civil war in the Americas.
FARC is a Marxist-Leninist movement that first mobilized peasants in 1964 and implemented kidnapping and ransoms to fund its operations. The guerillas have also engaged in illegal mining, extortion and drug trafficking. FARC claims a force of nearly 14,000 members, of which half are guerilla combatants, though the government disputes those numbers.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos initiated four years of peace negotiations, which Cuba hosted and facilitated. Santos’ peace efforts earned him the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize.
When the peace deal was presented to the citizens for a national vote, the nation rejected it. Many observers believe the amnesty component was a deal-breaker for many voters.
“Without this law, well, it is very difficult for the guerrillas to begin their movement into the peace zones or to the transitional points for normalization,” Marquez told CNN News. He said assurances were vital if FARC’s guerillas were to surrender their weapons.
“The people want peace,” he told CNN. “This is something that has been sought out for so long and this is the opportunity. I believe that the Colombian people have to hold on to this hope that we will have a future, so that we can have peace with dignity.”
Despite the long turmoil of civil war that has plagued much of rural Colombia, New Tribes Mission (NTM) has labored faithfully among the nation’s remote indigenous people to plant the gospel and its message of peace. NTM uses a strategy of engaging indigenous consultants to facilitate Bible translations and missionary strategies.
Pray for lasting peace in Colombia and the further establishment of the gospel among all segments of the society.