The Second Marquetalia: The History of Its Creation and The Future of Potential Peace

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Segunda Marquetalia announce their formation in March 2021, Colombia. (Oliver Dodd/MorningStar)

As Colombian President Gustavo Petro is spearheading his plan for “total peace” across the country, he has decided that the Colombian government is going to move forward with peace talks with rebel group The Second Marquetalia this June. 

Although the leader of the Second Marquetalia, Iván Márquez, was allegedly dead as of last year, he has recently appeared in a video from the rebel group that was confirmed to be real by the Colombian Defense Ministry. His signature is also on the document for the agreement between the government and the rebel group to begin peace talks on June 24, according to BBC.

The history of the Second Marquetalia is a complex one. According to BBC, Colombia has always been a country that has struggled with a large amount of inequality, in which there is only a small group of elite landowners. As a result, FARC was founded in 1964 as the armed wing of the Communist Party and their main goal was to fight against the inequality in Colombia at the time. FARC aimed to fight back against the oppressive treatment of the government. 

They became known as the Marquetalia Republic when some of the founders of FARC established an agricultural commune in the town of Marquetalia in Colombia. Viewed as a Communist threat by landowners, the Colombian army was sent in. This prompted FARC to take up arms as a result of their encounters with the Colombian army. 

According to a timeline of Colombia’s conflict from AP News, the Colombian government had tried several times to make peace with the rebels, but none of the negotiations ever had a fruitful outcome or agreement. Several past presidents of Colombia announced that they wanted peace with FARC or tried to draw up a peace agreement, but they were never successful in executing this.

The biggest step towards peace was taken in 2016. After four years of peace talks and negotiating, the president at the time Juan Manuel Santos was able to come to an agreement with FARC in which the Colombian government and the top commander of FARC signed a peace accord. This would result in FARC laying down their arms and a decades long war to come to an end for Colombia.

The peace in Colombia did not last for long. According to Insight Crime, in 2019, Iván Márquez and other ex-rebels from FARC put out a YouTube video ending the peace. In the video, they announced that they would be taking up arms again as a result of the Colombian government going against the peace agreement. They had officially announced the formation of the Second Marquetalia, a continuation of FARC. The name itself ties directly to the location of where FARC originated as well as many of the leaders and members originally being from FARC. A conflict that seemingly ended was rekindled. 

In the past three years, the leadership of the Second Marquetalia has fallen as many leaders have been killed. Whether the rebel group wants to move forward with peace as a result of weakness or not, the fact that the Second Marquetalia is agreeing to have peace talks now is a significant step forward in the hope of a conflict free Colombia. In the past, FARC was always hesitant to engage in peace talks with the Colombian government or they were never able to come to a long term agreement which shows that there is potential to finally put an end to the deadly conflict that Colombia has been facing for the past six decades.

Written by Sirisha Kunamneni

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