Earlier this week the Colombian government and the rebel organization FARC finally signed an agreement. This deal puts an end to over 50 years of conflict, during which thousands of people died. The former Colombian rebels could start working as tourist guides, cheese makers and beef processors.
Part of the deal the Colombian government and FARC discussed involves developing large rural areas. Some of these areas were abandoned during the wars. Now, the former Colombian rebels can move in and develop these lands. They will work on communal farms, and other projects. All of these initiatives receive their funding from the former rebel organization FARC.
However, the citizens of Colombia must approve the deal as well, for it to become official. They will have a chance to cast their vote on October 2. Most believe they will approve the deal.
As part of this deal, there are many economic project scheduled to start in the near future. Some of them are already under way. These projects will provide the former Colombian rebels with around 7.000 jobs.
FARC provides some of the funds for these projects. Part of the money will come from demobilization funds which have been set aside for individual former FARC members, as stated in the peace treaty.
Most of the ex-rebels have little to no education. Some of them have been fighting in the rebel group since they were very young. As such, they do not have a lot of work experience, or even a good chance of finding a job. Part of the negotiations between FARC and the Colombian government focused on finding a solution to this issue. Some feared that without jobs, many would revert back to a life of crime.
Former Colombian Rebels Could Become Cheese Makers and Tourist Guides
Mauricio Jaramillo, a former commander in FARC stated that the members of the organization have to be involved in the country’s economy. He believed that they had to push for a positive development, lest they all “head down a wrong path”. Jaramillo did not go into details about the projects he was referring to.
FARC’s projects are not just for the benefit of former organization members. In fact, the whole rebel group began as a response against deep social and economic inequalities for the residents of rural areas in Colombia. Part of the negotiations involving Colombian officials’ promising that they will invest in these areas, as FARC would have wanted them to.
Some of the rebels would want to settle down in these rural areas, and contribute to the local community, working alongside the local farmers. Others want to go into politics. FARC’s plans for integrating these former famers into Colombian society includes tourism and industry projects as well.
Sebastian Gomez is the leader of a community organization who wants to work with FARC. He wants to develop an eco-tourism project, and bring in former rebels as guides. He argues that nobody knows the dense jungle areas like the rebels. They could guide tourists through places not many people know about.
FARC also wants to develop the industrial sector as well. Plans include the construction of a dairy plant, a number of cheese factories and farms. Reuters reviewed a series of documents related to these projects, and they already seem well advanced.
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