June 23, 2016 will long be remembered as the most important day in the European Union as most bafflingly, the majority of British Citizens voted for the United Kingdom to withdraw from the EU.
Of course this may lead to more countries pulling out. It certainly gives energy to the many nascent populist right-wing movements across Europe. It will probably lead to Scottish independence and certainly renewed calls for a united Ireland.
Yet looking away from Europe, the bigger news over here in the Americas took place in Havana, Cuba, where a peace treaty has been signed between the Colombian government and the FARC rebel group.
While there will still be challenges, this historic treaty marks the end to the longest running insurgency in the Americas.
One can not downplay how violent and destabilizing this civil war has been. over 50 years, more than 200 000 people were killed, thousands kidnapped and the Colombian economy has stagnated.
It will be extremely hard for average Colombians to ‘forgive’ the horrendous violence brought on by the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia.
What began as a leftist / marxist uprising against a truly corrupt and ultra-conservative state, gradually descended into a drug-smuggling ring of sadistic extortionists.
Gradually Colombia was winning the war, but in a country as physically diverse as Colombia, without a solid peace treaty, rebels could carry on for years. There is one more treaty to sign with the ELN (Ejercito de Liberation Nacional), but finally the Colombian state can begin to focus on infrastructure and economic diversity, rather than fighting itself.
Tragically, Colombia’s neighbour and friend, Venezuela is on the verge of utter financial collapse. Brazil is also struggling with corruption and reactionary politics, but throughout the Americas peace is taking hold.
As Colombia finally takes its logical place as one of the great countries in this hemisphere, peace and open government will bring so much to the people of the region. I strongly encourage anyone to travel to beautiful Colombia and help the people of the region celebrate freedom from fear.