Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels watch a live broadcast of the peace agreement ceremony while at a FARC encampment in the remote Yari plains where the peace accord was ratified by the FARC on September 26, 2016 in El Diamante, Colombia. The peace agreement attempts to end the 52-year-old guerrilla war between the FARC and the state, the longest-running armed conflict in the Americas which has left 220,000 dead. The final agreement will be put to vote by the public in a referendum on October 2. The plan calls for a disarmament and re-integration of most of the estimated 7,000 FARC fighters. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels watch a live broadcast of the peace agreement ceremony at a FARC encampment in the remote Yari plains near El Diamante, Colombia, on Sept. 26, 2016. Mario Tama—Getty Images

Neither at War Nor at Peace, Colombia's FARC Rebels Watch and Wait

For the rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), there are no military drills, no target practice, no training in building land mines at this guerrilla camp in southern Colombia. Instead, the day’s main activity is a lecture about plans for the rebels to disarm, form a left-wing party and seek power through elections. “Comrades: To do this we must be prepared to express our political ideas to the masses,” says Federico Nariño, 50, a mid-level FARC commander. “This is how we will triumph.”

The FARC’s transition to legal politics has been the ultimate goal of every Colombian government since the war began 52 years ago. Finally, peace was apparently sealed last month when President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC leader Rodrigo Londoño signed a landmark agreement for the rebels to demobilize, formally ending the war. But in a shocking turn of events, Colombians rejected the accord in a binding referendum on Oct. 2. Now, the entire peace process—with its timetables for Colombia's Congress to pass an amnesty law for rank-and-file rebels, for the FARC to demobilize and for the government to launch reconstruction projects in former conflict zones—is frozen.

Read More: What to Know About the Origins of Colombia’s FARC

A chastened President Santos is now meeting with opposition politicians who want tougher sanctions against FARC commanders who have been accused of massacres, kidnappings and other crimes. But it could take months for a modified peace accord to emerge. All this has led to a surreal state of affairs for the 5,800 FARC rebels based in jungle and mountain camps throughout Colombia. They are ready to disarm an end a war that has killed 220,000 people and uprooted millions from their homes. Just last month, the FARC ratified the accord at a week-long conference that turned into a peace celebration with musical groups, dancing and plenty of beer and rum. But until the politicians in Bogotá reach a compromise—and can get the Colombian people on board—they are stuck, neither at war nor fully at peace. When the peace agreement was rejected in the referendum, 27-year-old FARC member Milena Reyes, “I had a lump in my throat because I could feel all my dreams just falling apart."

A recent visit by TIME to a FARC camp in Yari Savannah showed how this trapped transition is reflected by the rebels' appearance. Many don green military pants but combine them with colorful t-shirts. One rebel, Mateo Pérez, says he had to request larger sizes after putting on about 50 pounds due to the FARC’s newly sedentary lifestyle. Leaving weapons unattended used to result in punishments like ditch digging. But instead of lugging their automatic rifles around the camp, about half of the guerrillas leave them in their bunks. Rebels were also prohibited from getting pregnant and stories abound of female guerrillas—who make up about one-third of the FARC’s ranks – forced to have abortions rather than giving birth in the jungle. But a number of rebels are now expecting babies.

Solangy Ramírez dropped out of school at age 13 to join the FARC. Now 27, she is a nurse who has spent more than a decade patching up wounded colleagues. “I’d like to study medicine,” she says. Such possibilities were unimaginable when the war was raging. The FARC rose up in the 1960s to fight for land reform and social justice. Despite the collapse of communism, profits from drug trafficking, kidnappings for ransom, extortion and illegal gold mining allowed the FARC survive well into the 21st century.

Read More: This is What Members of Colombia’s FARC Rebel Army Carry in Their Bags

But the FARC never came close to seizing power. After three failed attempts at peace talks, the FARC agreed to a new round of negotiations in Havana, Cuba, in 2012. The talks lasted four years, culminating on Sept. 26 with the signing of a final peace accord. The next step was for the guerrillas to start turning over their weapons to U.N. inspectors. Instead, the “no” vote topped the “yes” vote by a slim margin in the referendum. Leading the campaign against the accord was Álvaro Uribe, a former president who during eight years in office led a ferocious military campaign against the FARC that helped drive them to the bargaining table. Now a senator, Uribe is insisting that rebels accused of war crimes and drug trafficking be banned from holding political office. He also wants them to be judged within Colombia’s existing legal system rather than through a parallel, transitional justice system that was to be set up under the peace agreement.

In an interview at the rebel camp, Carlos Antonio Lozada, a member of the FARC’s ruling secretariat who helped negotiate the accord, says the FARC would accept tweaks but not wholesale revisions to the original agreement. President Santos, who won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize for signing the accord, delivered a similar message in a speech last week and urged a quick resolution: “We can’t start all over again with a clean slate… Time is conspiring against peace.”

Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla members dance during a party at a camp. For fity-two years, FARC has been an armed movement in Colombia. With the peace agreements reached in Havana on August 24, 2016, it will begin to move towards becoming a political movement, Cauca, Colombia, July 2016.
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla members dance during a party at a camp. For fity-two years, FARC has been an armed movement in Colombia. With the peace agreements reached in Havana on August 24, 2016, it will begin to move towards becoming a political movement, Cauca, Colombia, July 2016.Alvaro Ybarra Zavala—Getty Images Reportage
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla members dance during a party at a camp. For fity-two years, FARC has been an armed movement in Colombia. With the peace agreements reached in Havana on August 24, 2016, it will begin to move towards becoming a political movement, Cauca, Colombia, July 2016.
FARC guerrilla members in training, July 2016.. A peace agreement was reached in Havana, Aug. 24, 2016, ending Colombia's 52-year old conflict that claimed more than 200,000 lives, Cauca, Colombia.
FARC guerrilla members shower at a camp, Cauca, Colombia, July 2016.
Tania, A FARC guerrilla member, puts on makeup at a camp, Cauca, Colombia. On Oct. 2, 2016, Colombians will vote in a referendum to end Colombia's 52-year old conflict between FARC, the military and right-wing paramilitaries, July 2016.
FARC guerrilla members play soccer at a camp in Cauca, Colombia, July 2016. Under the peace agreement signed in Havana on Aug. 24, 2016, ending Colombia's 52-year conflict, FARC fighters will receive amnesty for past crimes including drug trafficking.
FARC members watch a soccer match against civilians from the community of Robles, Cauca, Colombia, July 2016.
Portrait of Vicky, a member of FARC, at a camp, Cauca, Colombia, July 2016.
A guerrilla member of the FARC carries supplies to a camp, Cauca, Colombia, July 2016.
A group of FARC guerrillas and civilians perform community work in the community Robles Cauca, Colombia, July 2016. Many regions in Colombia have lived for 52 years under the control of FARC as the only authority. The peace agreement reached Aug. 24, 2016, has raised doubts and fears among civilians about the future that awaits their communities neglected by the state.
A child rides a bicycle in front of the ruins of a house destroyed in an attack by FARC in the com- munity of Toribio, Colombia. Many regions of Colombia have lived for more than 52 years under FARC's control. A Peace agreement reached in Havana, Cuba on Aug. 24, 2016 raised many doubts and fears among civilians about the future that awaits these communities neglected by the state, Cauca, Colombia, July 2016.
A wall destroyed by the conflict in the community of Santo Domingo del Caguan shows propaganda from FARC, Caqueta, Colombia, April 2016.
Civilians in the community of Remolinos del Caguan during Easter celebrations, Ca, Colombia, April, 2016.
A wall with religious icons and a picture of FARC Commander Manuel Marulanda, alias Tiro Fijo. Many regions of Colombia have lived for more than 52 years under the authority of FARC. With the peace agreement reached on Aug. 24, 2016, many are concerned about communities that have been long neglected by the state, Caqueta, Colombia, April 2016.
A group of local civilians attend Easter celebrations in the community of Puerto Camelias del Caguan, Caqueta, Colombia, April, 2016.
A group of civilians attend a Catholic Mass in the community of Puerto Camelias del Caguan. Both religion and FARC play central roles in communities where FARC has been the only authority for over 50 years, Aug. 24, 2016
A vulture rests in the community of Mona where there is evidence of the right-wing paramilitaries reemergence. The villages of Mona and Puerto Torres were the main operational centers of the paramilitaries in the region of Caqueta, Colombia. Prisoners suspected of collaborating with FARC were tortured at the church and local school, April 2016.
Holding candles, members of the community from Re- moiinos del Caguan attend a vigil for peace. Since the unilateral ceasefire announcement of the FARC, there are signs of the re-emergence of paramilitary units in the region, Caqueta, Colombia, April 2016.
A group of civilians wait for a mass in the village of Puerto Camelias, Caqueta, Colombia, which is one of the villages under FARC guerrilla control, Caqueta region, March, 2016.
An image of Bolivar and propaganda posters of the historic leaders of FARC on a wall of a house, Nov. 2013 in San Isidro, Caqueta, Colombia. The FARC South Block commands main FARC strongholds.
Freshly harvested cocoa leaves, Nov. 2013, Santa Elena, Caqueta, Colombia. Cooca cultivation is the main source of income for families in this region.
A local narcotics dealer holds up pure cocaine. All the different armed groups who take part in the conflict benefit from this market, with cocoa cultivation being the main source of income for families in this region, Colombia, Nov. 2007.
Soldiers of the Mobile Brigade No. 8 of the Joint Task Force South of Tolima during a military operation against FARC in a village in the municipality of Planadas, southern Tolima. Planadas has been a major historical stronghold of FARC in Colombia, May 2011.
Members of the Bloque Movil Arturo Ruiz of the revolutionary armed forces of Colombia (FARC) during a patrol, Nov. 2007. They are a special unit of FARC who fight in many different regions of Colombia. This unit is like a quick reaction force who help other sub-groups of FARC. About 35% of the Colombian Territory is under the strict control of the Revolutionary Forces of Colombia, or the FARC, as the self-declared Marxist-Leninist guerrilla is known in this country, where they have operated since 1964.
Soldiers of the Mobile Brigade No. 8 of the Joint Task Force south of Tolima escort two guerrilla members of the FARC mobile column Marquetalia captured during a military operation in the village of Macocal close to Planadas, Tolima, Colombia, May 2011.
Relatives and friends carry the body of 18-year old Benjamin to the cemetery for burial, Nov. 2013, La Union Peneya, Caqueta, Colombia, Nov. 2013. Benjamin died at age 18 during a fight with the FARC guerrillas
Family and friends gather for the funeral of 18-year old Benjamin, who died during a fight with guerrillas, Nov. 2013, La Unión Peneya, Caqueta, Colombia. About 35% of Colombian is under the strict control of the Revolutionary Forces of Colombia, FARC, as the self-declared Marxist-Leninist guerrilla group is known. Community Boards are the governing bodies of these municipalities. Both their chairmen and members are directly appointed by guerrilla commanders. FARC guerrillas are not the only armed group which operate. The ELN guerrilla and paramilitary groups also control vast areas of territory, applying their own laws and acting as the only authority.
A group of soldiers patrol the streets of "La comuna" number 13, a neighborhood with many FARC militants, and a stronghold for the distribution of cocaine, Medellin, Colombia, 2011.
Members of the Bloque Movil Arturo Ruiz of the revolutionary armed forces of Colombia, FARC, during a patrol. The Bloque Movil Arturo Ruiz is a special unit of FARC who fights in many different regions of Colombia, Nov. 2007.
A Forensic investigator with the Colombian Prosecutor's office examines an unidentified corpse (NN). The Human identification group from Antioquia, Colombia is comprised of four anthropologists, three dentists, two doctors, one assistant and a photographer. Since it was established, they have done 1325 exhumations of unidentified corpses, of which 653 have been identified and returned to their families. There are more than 96,000 people missing in Colombia, Antioquia, Medellin,March 2015.
A mural with photographs of missing people from the war in Antioquia, Colombia, Feb. 2015. The association of the mothers of the candelaria helps families find missing relatives. It was the first Association in Colombia which demanded answers about the fate of the missing 96,000 that exist in Colombia.
The bed of Ingrid Medarno Perez who disappeared in Yarumal, Colombia has become a shrine inside the family home of Martha and Antonio, Ingrid's parents. At eleven in the morning on Nov. 29, 2010, a member of the paramilitary group of the Urabeños went to her home, where she was with her boyfriend. It was not until March 2015, that Julian Bolivar, a former paramilitary commander informed the family that Ingrid and her boyfriend were executed that same day. Their bodies were crushed and thrown into the river. Their remains were never recovered, Feb. 2015.
A mother cries to a picture of her missing son during a vigil in the Center of Medellin, Colombia, Feb. 2015. Every Friday, the association of mothers of the candelaria organizes a vigil to remember and demand the return of their missing relatives. There are more than 96,000 people missing in Colombia.
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla members dance during a party at a camp. For fity-two years, FARC
... VIEW MORE

Alvaro Ybarra Zavala—Getty Images Reportage
1 of 32

Santos has extended a two-month-old bilateral ceasefire until the end of the year. But ceasefires can be broken by a chance encounters between army soldiers and guerrillas. Although the FARC stopped military training and recruitment last year, “we are prepared for anything,” says Byron Yepes, a grizzled FARC veteran at the camp. “If they don’t let us get into legal politics we will have to continue with the war.”

But Lozada, the FARC negotiator, is confident a deal to save the peace process will emerge. So is Nariño, who ends his lecture to the FARC troops on an uplifting note. “Right now we are in a sort of limbo. We have to wait to see what happens,” he said. “But we are betting on peace.”

All products and services featured are based solely on editorial selection. TIME may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website.