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by Staff Writers
Bogota (AFP) Nov 12, 2012
The Colombian government and leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels hold peace talks in Havana on Thursday aimed at ending Latin America's longest-running civil conflict.
Here are key dates in the conflict:
- May 27, 1964: The Colombian armed forces attack the "Republic of Marquetalia," a group of rebel farmers. The survivors set up the "Southern Bloc," which the pro-Communist FARC see as their founding moment.
- March 28, 1984: The FARC agree on a truce and start negotiations with the government of conservative president Belisario Betancur (1982-1986).
- October 11, 1987: The truce ends when a hitman murders Jaime Pardo, presidential candidate of the Patriotic Union, a leftist group sympathetic to the FARC. Far-right paramilitary groups launch a killing spree, killing 3,000 PU leaders.
- June 1, 1991: The FARC start peace talks with the government in Caracas. In March 1992, the talks move to Mexico, but break off in June.
- January 7, 1999: Conservative president Andres Pastrana starts peace talks with the FARC and creates a demilitarized zone the size of Switzerland in southeast Colombia to try to facilitate progress.
- June 2, 2001: The FARC agrees to release 250 police and military hostages in exchange for dozens of jailed rebels.
- February 20, 2002: Following high-profile FARC abductions, Pastrana says the peace process has broken down and sends troops into southeast Colombia.
- February 23, 2002: Rebels kidnap presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt.
- August 7, 2002: Alvaro Uribe takes power promising to crush the FARC; rebels attack the presidential compound, killing 21 people.
- February 7, 2003: Thirty-six people are killed when a car bomb detonates at a Bogota nightclub.
- March 1, 2008: Colombian troops strike a jungle rebel camp inside Ecuador, killing the FARC's number-two leader Raul Reyes.
- May 25, 2008: The FARC announces the death of its founder, Manuel Marulanda, who died of a heart attack a month earlier.
- July 2, 2008: Betancourt, who holds both Colombian and French citizenship, is freed in a military raid along with three US hostages and 11 Colombian police and military personnel.
- September 23, 2010: Jorge Briceno, the FARC's military chief, is killed in a Colombian military raid.
- November 4, 2011: Top FARC commander Alfonso Cano is killed in a military strike.
- February 26, 2012: The FARC pledges to stop kidnapping civilians and free remaining police and military hostages.
- September 4, 2012: Santos announces that peace talks will be held with the FARC under the auspices of Norway and Cuba.
- October 18, 2012: Peace talks are formally launched in Hurdal, a small town north of Oslo. The two sides agree to meet again in Havana on November 15.
The Long War - Doctrine and Application