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By Helen Murphy and Luis Jaime Acosta TACUEYO, Colombia (Reuters) - Jose Toconas picks at branches hanging in rows from the roof of his marijuana drying house and smells their spiky flower buds. In two days he will strip them from their stems, trim the dark green florets into neat little balls and hand them over to dealers working with Marxist rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). "This doesn't make me a drug dealer.
By Marc Frank HAVANA (Reuters) - Colombia's government peace negotiators hit back on Thursday at critics of a deal to end half a century of war with leftist FARC guerrillas, saying the cost of bringing the rebel fighters into society was much lower than spending on the conflict. The government and the FARC, or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, said on Wednesday that they had reached an agreement that effectively ends a 52-year conflict that led to the deaths of more than 220,000 people and left millions displaced. Opponents of the deal, led by former President Alvaro Uribe, say it gives rebels amnesty for too many crimes and is unfair to law-abiding citizens because it calls for subsidizing fighters as they leave jungle and mountain hideouts to look for work.