Director of the Colombian Agency for Reintegration Alejandro Eder returned to the Americas Society/Council of the Americas on February 14 to talk about Colombia's peacebuilding process, demobilization, and reintegration of ex-combatants from rebel groups—primarily of the Revolutionary Armed Forced of Colombia (FARC).
Eder talked about the main challenges of reintegrating ex-combatants with no legal work experience and securing employment for demobilized people. He said that while "it remains to be seen" in the Havana-based peacebuilding negotiations, ex-combatants are already being integrated into society. "If you want peace, you need reconciliation."
The Colombian Agency for Reintegration's budget is not included in the country's defense budget. The agency spends around $2,500 a year per ex-combatant, a significantly cheaper price than fighting the guerillas. Today, 91 percent of ex-combatants part of the program say they are happier than when they were in rebel groups.