June 24, 2016 (Panampost) – Church bells rung throughout the country as news spread of the announcement that the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) and the national government had agreed to ceasefire after approximately 60 years of conflict.
El Laguito Hall received 120 guests, among them UN Secretary Ban Ki Moon, Chilean President Michele Bachelet and Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.
President Juan Manuel Santos and top leader of FARC Timochenko shook hands before entering the room to roaring applause.
Afterward, it was announced by mistake that there would be 22 demilitarized zones at which the guerrillas could gather to give up their arms. Delegates of Casa de Nariño (the Colombian President’s seat) rectified that there would actually be 23 — a number that was later confirmed by the Ministry of Defense.
To verify the surrender of arms, a commission will be put together, made up of UN delegates and members of the Colombian armed forces.
There will be no civilian access to these areas.
It was also announced that volatile war material would be destroyed before FARC reached the verification zones. Non-volatile weapons will be used to build three monuments, mutually upon agreed by FARC and the government.
It was also agreed that in the concentration zones, demobilized soldiers could take classes in a specific trade and even receive a high school diploma, all in an effort to facilitate reinsertion into civilian life.
Finally, both parts accepted that a referendum would be the ideal mechanism for Colombians to validate the reached agreements between FARC and the government.
The ceremony ended with an emotional speech from President Juan Manuel Santos, in which he spoke of his passing through the Colombian military and his motivation to end the armed conflict that has plagued Colombia almost 60 years.