“Welcome to democracy.” With these words Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos shook hands with the maximum leader of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (Farc), ‘Timochenko’ (Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri), after both men signed the final peace accord with a ‘balígrafo’ (a pen crafted from a bullet) during a ceremony in Cartagena de Indias on 26 September attended by the great and the good. Santos made frequent references to the final hurdle, a referendum on 2 October, appealing to the Colombian people to vote for peace. Timochenko’s speech might just have a greater impact. It contained an explicit apology and an avowed commitment to peace, conciliatory rhetoric that pervaded the Farc’s 10th conference, from 17 to 23 September, when delegates representing the numerous guerrilla blocs, fronts and units, ratified the peace accord.

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