Colombia just rejected the peace pact with FARC. Here are some facts and figures
It was a clear mandate: more than half the voters of Colombia on Monday rejected the peace deal with Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionaries de Colombia (FARC). The government had signed a ceasefire with the Marxist revolutionary group formed in 1964.
The peace process started in 2012.Notably, India's Sri Sri Ravishankar was also part of the negotiation.
The group, otherwise known as Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, is one of the richest and the most deadly terror organisations known globally. In this historic momentare some facts on FARC that you need to know -
- The number of years that the government and the rebel group have been fighting for.
- FARC was founded on the ideals of Marxism and Leninism and wanted to overthrow the Colombian government. FARC also stands against US activity in Colombia.
- The group financially sustains itself from extortion money and drug trade. - A plebiscite will be held on 2 October to decide if the Colombian people are in favour of the peace agreement. A 'Yes' would mean that FARC will becomea part of mainstream politics.
- Estimated number of people who have died ever since the conflict started.
- 45,000 went missing and 6.9 million got uprooted from their homes. - "Never again will parents be burying their sons and daughters killed in the war," said Rodrigo Londono, leader of FARC in Havana, Cuba, where the ceasefire agreement took place.
- Estimated number of people that the FARC kidnapped between 1970 and 2010. - Some notable cases of kidnapping and violence by the FARC are:
Abduction of presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt along with three US military contractors in 2002 (kept hostage till 2008).
The assassination of culture minister in 2001.
Hijacking of domestic commercial flight in 2002.
- Conservative approximation of FARC earnings from cocaine trade.Before getting involved in drug trade, the group allegedly got financial help from Cuba.- "In the early 2000s Colombia supplied as much as 90% of the world's cocaine, and the production, taxation, and trafficking of illicit narcotics provided the FARC with much of its revenue," according to a report by Council of Foreign Relations.
- Biggest revenue comes from the tax on coca-base per kilogramme: Rates are $50 on growers, $200 on the buyer, $100 on production laboratories and $100 on airstrips and flights taking off from their territory.
- FARC earns $450 per kilogramme from each kilo of cocaine produced and distributed in their territory.
- According to United Nation (UN) estimates, about 319 tonnes of cocaine were produced in Colombia in 2012, of which FARC controlled two-thirds of it. As per those calculations it can well be imagined how much they earn.
- In a deadly quid pro quo between drug cartels and FARC, there are instances when FARC received funding from Brazilian drug cartels and trained Mexican drug cartels in warfare. However, that had led to enmity as well. Drug lord Pablo Escobar was known to hire FARC guerrillas to protect his crops and laboratories.
- The percentage of women members in FARC.
- During the heydeys of the organisation, it had an estimated 20,000 fighters that controlled one-third of Colombia. Additionally, they had an inventory of about 25,000 firearms and 4,500 weapons such as rocket launchers and machine guns.
- When roughly 7,500 fighters of FARC will give up weapons under UN supervision. Those who refuse to lay down arms 'will be pursued will all the strength of the state forces', according to Juan Manuel Santos, the President of Colombia.
But the question that remains - Can this peace deal be permanent?
There was a peace accord in 1984, which lasted only for three years. In 1998, the government demilitarised a 42,000 square kilometre area as a sign of invitation to FARC to sit for negotiations. Negotiations started in 1999 but fell flat in 2002.
Edited by Jhinuk Sen
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