Colombia has finally signed a peace deal with the oldest insurgency in the Western Hemisphere. But with the country's criminal economies as strong as ever, the armed conflict is far from over.
A crime wave has hit Colombia's port city of Cartagena just days before government officials and FARC rebels are scheduled to arrive there to sign a peace agreement, foreshadowing the type of security challenges the country will face once the deal is finalized.
A group of guerrillas in Colombia who have deserted the country's ongoing peace process are reportedly seeking control over lucrative criminal economies, illustrating a number of challenges associated with the expected criminalization of rebels as the demobilization process moves forward.
The contrast between the FARC’s 10th Conference and the last peace process in this same place 16 years ago could not be more marked. The FARC has changed and cannot go back to the war it once waged, funded by billions from the drug trade.