Colombian voters say no to Farc peace deal
Agreement criticised as being too lenient to the rebels
REUTERS/ Peace researchers dropped Colombia yesterday from a list of favourites for the Nobel Peace Prize after Colombians voted “No” in a referendum to an agreement to end a 52-year war with Marxist rebels.
Sunday’s surprise rejection of the accord, after criticism that it was too lenient to the rebels, improved chances for other Nobel candidates such as Russian human rights activists or brokers of Iran’s nuclear deal to take the peace award, they said.
“Colombia’s off any credible list,” Kristian Harpviken, head of the Peace Research Institute, Oslo, announced on Friday.
President Juan Manuel Santos and Farc’s top commander Rodrigo Londono, better known by his nom de guerre Timochenko, had been widely tipped for the 8.0 million Swedish crown ($936,000 ) award before the referendum.
The prize has often gone to encouraging peace processes, such as in Northern Ireland in 1998, between Israelis and Palestinians in 1994 or even in Vietnam in 1973, but never in defiance of a popular vote.
“It is now out of the question to give a prize for Colombia,” said Asle Sveen, a historian who tracks the prize. He had previously tipped the Colombian agreement to win, for ending a war in which more than 220,000 people died.
Sveen said he now thought the award would go to the agreement between Iran and world powers to end sanctions on Tehran in return for shrinking its nuclear programme.
Former Colombian Vice President Francisco Santos celebrates after the nation voted “no” in a referendum on a peace deal between the government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia rebels, at Bolivar Square, Bogota, yesterday