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Timeline of the Colombian conflict

1 min 20Approximate reading time

After a half-century of conflict, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and Colombian government announced Wednesday they have reached a historic peace deal.

Here are key dates in Latin America's longest armed conflict, which has killed 260,000 people.

 

- 1964: FARC formed -

 

The government launches an offensive against communist groups in the center and west of the country. On May 27, rebel commander Manuel Marulanda Velez flees the government assault with 47 other men and forms the FARC.

 

- 1984: First peace bid -

 

On March 28, conservative president Belisario Betancur launches peace talks with the FARC under a bilateral truce.

The initiative breaks down in 1987 after right-wing paramilitaries assassinate a presidential candidate from a party allied to the FARC. Further peace efforts collapse in 1991 and 2002.

 

- 1996: Hostages taken -

 

On August 30, the FARC takes 60 Colombian soldiers hostage at a military base in the south.

The raid marks the start of its strategy of mass hostage-takings, which dominates the conflict over the following years.

 

- 2000: 'Plan Colombia' -

 

In June, the United States and Colombian president Andres Pastrana launch "Plan Colombia," a joint anti-narcotics strategy.

It is later broadened to include anti-guerrilla operations. Washington has spent more than $10 billion on the effort.

 

- 2002: Betancourt captured - 

 

In February, the FARC kidnap presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt.

During more than six years in captivity in the jungle, she becomes an international symbol of the conflict. She is rescued by the military in 2008.

 

- 2011: FARC leader killed -

 

The FARC's top commander, Alfonso Cano, is killed in a raid by the Colombian army on November 4.

Two other top leaders, Raul Reyes and Jorge Briceno, were killed in 2008 and 2010. 

Cano is replaced by current leader Timoleon Jimenez, who reaches out to the government for peace talks.

 

- 2012: New peace talks -

 

On October 4, President Juan Manuel Santos's government launches new peace talks with the FARC, weakened by the loss of its top leaders.

 

- 2016: Peace deal -

 

On June 23, the FARC and the government sign a definitive ceasefire and disarmament agreement.

On August 24, they announce they have reached a final peace deal. Santos says it will be put to a referendum on October 2.

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