A war that raged for over 50 years came to an end on Sept. 26 when the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as FARC, signed peace accords in Cartagena. What happens next is crucial to maintaining this moment of reconciliation:
Under the agreement, FARC is to relaunch as a political party, take part in a truth commission and hand over its guns. But the Colombian government must first pass an amnesty law to protect former guerrillas from arrest for their crimes.
Once disarmed, the fighters will reintegrate into society, guaranteed a minimum wage and seed funding to build new communities. The militia group once funded by the illicit narcotics trade will also help the government destroy coca crops and clear land mines. But there are concerns some ex-guerrillas will join drug gangs or return to common crime.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
Before any of this can happen, Colombians must approve the peace accord in an Oct. 2 referendum. It’s expected to pass–but if it receives only a slim majority, opposition lawmakers in Congress may block the amnesty law, threatening efforts to disarm FARC and dealing the process a major blow. Peace has been declared, but the path ahead is far from clear.
This appears in the October 10, 2016 issue of TIME.