Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Americas
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-----------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-----------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Sport 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 
Monday, 20 December, 1999, 09:32 GMT
Colombia truce follows Christmas card offensive

The Farc recently carried out a devastating attack on a marine base


By South America correspondent James Reynolds

Colombia's main guerrilla group, the Farc, has announced a temporary ceasefire - the first in a decade.

The halt to fighting, which has just come into effect, will last until 10 January.

Paramilitary groups who oppose the rebels have said that they will stop fighting so long as the guerrillas do the same.

Guerrilla commander, Fabian Ramirez, said it was a gesture by the Farc to the Colombian people.

It comes shortly after the Colombian army began its new public relations offensive - sending 100,000 Christmas cards to guerrilla soldiers and to their families.

The cards wish the guerrillas a happy Christmas and a prosperous new year. They urge the rebels to desert their units, and they end by saying long live freedom, long live Christmas.


Children protest against rebel violence during a protest in Bogota on Thursday
The surprise ceasefire announcement comes at the end of a week of intense fighting between the Farc and the Colombian armed forces, in which more than 200 soldiers from both sides are reported to have been killed.

President Andres Pastrana had called for a month-long Christmas ceasefire starting on 15 December, but the rebels ignored this deadline and continued to launch offensives across the country.

Previously, Farc commanders had indicated that they would only call a Christmas ceasefire if the government agreed to a prisoner exchange.

Peace talks between the government and the Farc began in October but they have so far made little progress. Rebel leaders say they will only call a permanent end to fighting when a peace agreement is near conclusion.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
Americas Contents

Country profiles

See also:
15 Dec 99 |  Americas
Colombian army hits back at rebels
08 Dec 99 |  Americas
Colombia unveils new anti-rebel force
29 Nov 99 |  Americas
Journalists killed in Colombia
13 Dec 99 |  Americas
Colombian troops re-take navy base

Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites
Links to other Americas stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Americas stories