The SI and the M-19 Peace Treaty in Colombia

9 March 1990

On Friday 9 March 1990, a unique event took place in Colombia. The guerrilla group M-19 signed a peace treaty with the Colombian government to end the armed struggle and to allow its members to join in the political and civilian life of their country. The Socialist International played a key role in this process.

The peace treaty included the demobilisation and disarmament of the M-19 and its weapons, ammunition, and war materials were handed over, on 8 and 9 March 1990, to a specially formed Commission by the Socialist International at the request and with the agreement of both sides. 

On 9 March 1990, once the handover was completed, the SI Secretary General, Luis Ayala, signed the peace agreement as a witness on behalf of the Socialist International. The handover took place at two M-19 bases, at Santo Domingo and near Pitalito, in the department of Huila. The weapons were transported by air to a foundry in Cali and melted down, under the supervision of the SI Commission.

The members of the Commission included Heinrich Buchbinder (Switzerland), General (retired) Ernesto Uzcátegui Sandoval (Venezuela), General (retired) Ermie Kaaninen (Finland) and Frank Barnaby, a nuclear scientist and an authority on disarmament (United Kingdom).