- Title: Colombia tipped for Nobel Peace Prize after deal to end war
- Date: 1st October 2016
- Summary: HAVANA, CUBA (FILE) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF COLOMBIAN PRESIDENT, JUAN MANUEL SANTOS, AND TIMOCHENKO SHAKING HANDS UPON CEASEFIRE AGREEMENT
- Embargoed: 16th October 2016 12:13
- Keywords: Timoleon Jimenez Juan Manuel Santos peace talks Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia Nobel peace prize FARC
- Location: SAN VICENTE DEL CAGUA, BOGOTA, MITU, GUAYABETAL, UNKNOWN MOUNTAIN AREA, YARI PLAINS AND CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA / HAVANA, CUBA
- City: SAN VICENTE DEL CAGUA, BOGOTA, MITU, GUAYABETAL, UNKNOWN MOUNTAIN AREA, YARI PLAINS AND CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA / HAVANA, CUBA
- Country: Colombia
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace
- Reuters ID: LVA00G526VHHJ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS MATERIAL THAT WAS ORIGINALLY 4:3
A Colombian peace accord ending a half-century of war is widely tipped for the Nobel Peace Prize next week, returning the award to its roots after a run of wins for organisations.
The prize could be shared by President Juan Manuel Santos and Marxist FARC rebel leader Timochenko after they signed a deal on Sept. 26 to end a war that killed a quarter of a million people.
Born Rodrigo Londono on January 22, 1959, Timochenko grew up in Calarca, a municipality in the eastern part of Quindio in Colombia's coffee region just three hours away from Genova, the birthplace of FARC founder, Pedro Antonio Marin, alias "Manuel Marulanda Velez."
He joined the Young Communists League as a teenager and later studied medicine and cardiology in Cold War Russia. He received military training in Yugoslavia and completed his studies in Cuba.
It was in 1986 that Timochenko received his nom de guerre and became the fifth member of what was to become the seven-man Secretariat.
Timochenko became the commander of the strategic Magdalena Medio Bloc in northeastern Colombia, expanding the FARC's influence into cities and set out policies which led to the manufacture and distribution of hundreds of tons of cocaine.
In the 1980s and 1990s, he engaged in some of the FARC's most severe violence as part of the Ninth Front in Antioquia, where right-wing paramilitaries massacred suspected rebels with what was seen as cooperation or wilful ignorance of state security forces.
As the paramilitary alliance, the United Self Defense Forces of Colombia or AUC, grew stronger in the 1990s, Timochenko was at the front of an intensified military campaign against the state and the country's elite. They carried out kidnappings as a source of income in order to recover their losses, and increased guerrilla warfare, including land mines and car bombings.
Timochenko planned these tactical adjustments from the North Santander department which borders Venezuela, and it is rumoured that he, Marquez and other rebels received safe haven in the neighbouring country - a point of contention between the Hugo Chavez regime and the administration of Alvaro Uribe
Known as a hardliner with over 30 years of military experience, Timochenko was unanimously chosen by the seven-member ruling body of the FARC known as the Secretariat to replace Guillermo Leon Saenz, alias "Alfonso Cano", who was killed in a government offensive in 2011.
Colombia's attorney general has issued 117 arrest warrants for Timochenko on charges of kidnapping, murder, rebellion and terrorism, while the United States has offered up to $5 million for information leading to his capture.
After the 2011 elimination of Alfonso Cano and Timochenko's subsequent promotion, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos insisted that the leadership of the FARC would "fall like a house of cards."
Previously, the government and the rebels reached a partial agreement on cooperating to end the illegal drug trade, in addition to other agreements on land reform and the legal political participation for rebels once they disarm.
Four years after peace talks started, both sides agreed to the creation of special tribunals to try former combatants, and embraced an amnesty that would exclude those who committed war crimes or crimes against humanity, and provide reparations for victims.
A bilateral ceasefire and end to hostilities were agreed in June 2016, with the complete peace accord published in August.
Santos and Timochenko signed the accord on September 26, 2016.
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