The Colombian rumor mill has been spinning for years with stories about secret negotiations between the government and Marxist guerrillas. With the buzz of speculation recently growing even louder, President Juan Manuel Santos confirmed in a speech to the nation on Aug. 27 that exploratory talks had, in fact, taken place. On Tuesday, Santos again went on national television to announce that peace talks between the Colombian government and the country's main armed rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), will begin next month in Oslo, Norway, before moving later to Havana, Cuba.
"It's time to turn the page," Santos declared in reference to the conflict that has plagued Colombia for almost half a century.
The Colombian president is now embarking on a risky venture, staking his presidency on a bet that this time, unlike previous efforts to negotiate an end to the conflict, talks will not turn into an exercise in frustration, deception and disappointment.