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FARC plans full participation in Colombian politics following peace deal

Reporter: Michelle Begue 丨 CCTV.com

09-23-2016 14:23 BJT

With a peace accord finally signed, Colombia is ready to leave more than a half-century of armed conflict behind. So what comes next for a country where no one under the age of 50 has lived without war?

After more than 50 years of guerrilla warfare, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, is trading guns for ballots. The government has already turned bullets into pens. Now the former guerillas will swap military fatigues for business suits and a right to full participation in Colombia's politics.

After a year of negotiations in Havana, a breakthrough. One of the world's oldest guerilla movements renounced the use of violence. At least one political analyst says FARC's transformation will not be automatic.

"This is going to give way to a new left in Colombia, but that new left will take a long time to organize itself, and redefine itself and eventually compete for power," Prof. Jorge Restrepo with Javeriana Univeristy said.

Professor Restrepo says what will change quickly is the focus of political discourse in Colombia. For years, 'what to do about the armed conflict' was the central question in Colombian politics.

"This will allow us to move our focus to tributary issues, the nature of our economic structure such as non-renewable energy sources, as well as our International relations,"  Prof. Restrepo said.

President Juan Manuel Santos has touted the benefits of a peace deal for the economy. He says investments will now be able to reach even the most remote regions of the country-formerly controlled by the guerillas.

But one economists says true economic growth will only come if Colombia makes an effort to veer from petroleum as its primary export.

"It is time to rethink the growth model and begin to promote the manufacturing and agricultural industries that we abandoned to benefit from the high prices of primary resources," Economic professor Gabriel Misas Arango with National Univeristy said.

Another pressure point on Colombia's economy-a jump in unemployment. Some eight thousand FARC guerrillas will now begin looking for jobs.

"Reintegration seems very difficult especially when we aren't seeing new employment, only informal, short-term jobs with low income,"  Professor Gabriel Misas Arango said.

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