The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, open what may be the rebel group's last ever annual conference as an armed contingent -- ahead of a peace accord expected later this month. Gavino Garay reports.
This may be the beginning of the end of an era. The opening of what may be the last annual congress for Colombia's FARC rebels as an armed insurgent group. A peace accord, brokered in Havana last month, is expected to be signed in late September. It could bring an end half a century of conflict between and government forces and the paramilitary group that says its been fighting for social justice. FARC commander Timoleon Jimenez, speaking to about a thousand rebels in the Yari Plains, said the nine-day conference will define FARC´s political aims AFTER disarmament. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) FARC COMMANDER, TIMOLEON JIMENEZ, "TIMOCHENKO", SAYING: "Our deepest aspiration is for our message to reach many more (people), so that the torrent for great transformation becomes uncontainable," One of Latin America's deadliest conflicts has left more than 220,000 killed and millions displaced. Peace negotiators hope the deal will end the era of kidnappings, extortion and drug trade ... IF - that is -- Colombians accept the agreement in a referendum in October.