A Colombian policeman guards a building full of bullet holes in the Colombian department of Cauca, where tensions have been mounting among Colombian security forces, the local indigenous population and the leftist guerrilla group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.
Credit: Luis Robayo

Historic peace talks between Colombian government negotiators and the Marxist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, began in Oslo Wednesday.

The two sides have come to the negotiating table before, but previous efforts at peace have failed consistently.

"Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos is betting a decade of US-backed blows against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has left the group sufficiently weakened to seriously seek an end to the war after so many failed attempts," Reuters wrote.

Colombia has been afflicted by conflict with the oldest rebel force in Latin America for almost 50 years. The Wall Street Journal wrote that a successful peace agreement has the potential to change the Colombian economy, regional political relationships, and the drug trade, "since the FARC finances much of its activities from the cocaine business and [a] treaty would sever that link."

More from GlobalPost: FARC decoded: What do the peace talks really mean?

Topics for the talks include "the drug trade, victim rights, land ownership in rural areas, FARC participation in politics and how to end the war," Reuters said.

John Otis wrote for GlobalPost back in August that "while Colombians want peace, the country is sharply divided over whether the government should negotiate with the FARC, which has been designated as a terrorist group by the US State Department. The FARC enjoys almost no public support and many Colombians believe the army should simply try to destroy the rebel organization."

What could peace talks mean for the people of Colombia? Watch this interview with our Americas Editor Alex Leff to find out:

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