Protesters in Cartagena calling for a No vote in the referendum, which will be held on Sunday Credit: Reuters
Protesters in Cartagena calling for a No vote in the referendum, which will be held on Sunday Credit: Reuters

The longest-running war in the Western Hemisphere officially came to an end on Monday, with the signing of a peace deal between Colombia’s government and the leftist Farc rebels.

Juan Manuel Santos, president of Colombia, signed the deal with the Farc leader known as Timochenko, who announced: “The war is over. We are all going to build the peace.”

In brief

May 1964: First confrontation between Farc and government troops

Late 1970s: Farc begins trafficking cocaine to pay for its activities

1980s: First peace talks get underway but soon collapse. Farc forms a political wing, and paramilitaries join forces with the government to try combat Farc and its political wing

1999: Farc’s membership and kidnapping peak at 18,000 and 3,000 respectively

2000: United States and Colombia initiate Plan Colombia, a US$9 billion US military aid program meant to help the Colombian government combat the drug trade, reassert authority and increase its capacity throughout the country

2002 :Presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, a French-Colombian, is kidnapped and held for a further six years

June 2015: Farc’s last attack: bombing the Tansandio oil pipeline, causing 10,000 barrels of oil to contaminate waterways in what the government says is the worst environmental disaster in Colombia’s history

2016: Talks which originally began back in 2012 result in a deal. It includes previously agreed-on provisions on land reform, combatting drug trafficking, guerrillas’ political participation and punishment for war crimes on both sides

June 2016: Negotiators announce a blueprint for how Farc fighters will lay down their weapons once the peace accord is implemented

August 2016: A ceasefire between the Farc and the government comes into effect. Colombians vote in a referendum in October to endorse or reject the peace agreemen