“A gigantic step towards the end of the war.” This was the reaction of Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos to an accord struck in Cuba with the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (Farc) on 19 January over international verification of a bilateral ceasefire and disarmament of the guerrilla group. This major breakthrough in the peace talks came the day after the government confirmed the imminent release of 30 Farc prisoners. The positive news has been tempered, however, by the plunge in oil and coal prices, jeopardising the government’s ability to fund post-conflict development and motivating belt-tightening initiatives and the controversial sale of its majority stake in the electric power generation company Isagén.

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