Politics

Post conflict Colombia will cost $45 billion

Budgets are being formulated for a potential post conflict Colombia as the government seeks overseas support.

08.10.2014
Post conflict Colombia will cost $45 billion

By Richard McColl

BOGOTA

If a peace deal is reached between the FARC and ELN guerrilla groups, it will cost Colombia an estimated $45 billion (90 billion pesos), one prominent Colombian senator said Tuesday.

“Colombians must differentiate between the cost of peace which is what the end of the conflict signals, meaning, the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of 18,000 former combatants from subversive groups which will cost in the region $307.5 million (628 billion pesos) and then the cost of the post conflict,” Sen. Roy Barreras said during a debate on the cost needed in a post conflict Colombia.

While the economic costs will be high, Barreras, who heads the Senate’s peace commission, said that the country will be able to recover $49 billion (100 billion pesos) through peace.

The figures come from a need in the following 10 years for investment in agricultural development, titles for countryside properties, tax reform and local governability, he said.

The peace dialogues with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, have been ongoing in Havana since November 2012 while exploratory talks have been held with the smaller rebel group, the National Liberation Army, or ELN.

As the dialogues with the FARC are currently paused between rounds, the government’s chief negotiator, Humberto de la Calle, is in Madrid, Spain, giving lectures about how far the process has come and trying to garner support for financial help for a possible post conflict scenario in Colombia.

“It is very possible that a 50-year-old conflict can be brought to an end,” de la Calle said in an interview with the El Espectador newspaper. “Peace in Colombia has become the objective for all of Latin America.”

De la Calle’s Spanish visit comes ahead of one to be made by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos who has trips confirmed to Spain, Great Britain, France, Portugal, and Germany and to address the European parliament during the first week of November with the aim of securing political and financial support to see through a successful peace process with the FARC.

Since 1958, Colombia’s armed conflict has, according to Human Rights Watch, resulted in the deaths of 220,000 people and displaced more than 5 million. President Santos was re-elected in 2014 on the promise of achieving peace and ending the long running conflict.

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