Co­lom­bia’s pea­ce pro­cess fa­ces un­cer­tain­ty as ci­ti­zens re­ject FARC pea­ce deal

Times of Suriname - - ENGELS -

CO­LOM­BIA - The fu­tu­re of the pea­ce pro­cess in Co­lom­bia is now un­cer­tain as the No camp took a ra­zor-thin lead Sun­day in a na­ti­o­nal vo­te on whe­ther to ac­cept the agree­ment bet­ween the govern­ment and the Re­vo­lu­ti­o­na­ry Ar­med For­ces of Co­lom­bia (FARC). Weeks of pol­ling had shown the Yes camp would win by an al­most two-to-one mar­gin. But with al­most all the vo­tes coun­ted, 50.2 per­cent of Co­lom­bians who vo­t­ed Sun­day op­po­sed the deal and 49.8 per­cent fa­vo­red it, ac­cor­ding to the Na­ti­o­nal Ci­vil Re­gi­stry’s web­si­te. In their im­me­di­a­te re­ac­ti­ons to the re­sult, Pre­si­dent Ju­an Ma­nu­el San­tos and the FARC pro­mi­sed that the cea­se­fire would remain in pla­ce. “I am the first to re­cog­ni­ze this re­sult with one half of the coun­try saying Yes and the other half of the coun­try saying No,” San­tos said in a te­le­vi­sed ad­dress, whi­le pled­ging that “the bi­la­te­ral and de­fi­ni­ti­ve cea­se­fire and end of hos­ti­li­ties remain in pla­ce and will remain in pla­ce.” He al­so pro­mi­sed to res­pect both views ex­pres­sed in the vo­te and cal­l­ed for a dia­lo­gue bet­ween tho­se who op­po­se the pea­ce agree­ment and tho­se who sup­port it. “To­mor­row, I will call all po­li­ti­cal for­ces, es­pe­ci­al­ly tho­se who cam­paig­ned for No, to lis­ten to them and open spa­ces of dia­lo­gue to de­ter­mi­ne the path to fol­low. We will de­ci­de bet­ween us which path to ta­ke in or­der to ma­ke pea­ce pos­si­ble,” San­tos said. Spea­king from Ha­va­na, Cu­ba, whe­re the pea­ce talks we­re held for four ye­ars, FARC lea­der Ti­mo­le­on Ji­me­nez said that to­day’s re­sults are a vic­to­ry for tho­se who ha­ve al­ways bet on war and bloods­hed in Co­lom­bia. “The FARC dee­ply re­grets that the de­struc­ti­ve po­wer of tho­se who spread ha­te and bit­ter­ness has in­flu­en­ced the opi­ni­on of the Co­lom­bi­an pe­o­p­le,” Ji­me­nez said. Howe­ver, he said that the desi­re of the FARC to be­co­me a po­li­ti­cal mo­ve­ment “de­mands we be stron­ger in buil­ding sta­ble and las­ting pea­ce. The FARC main­tains their desi­re for pea­ce and rei­te­ra­tes their desi­re to on­ly use words as a we­apon to build the fu­tu­re. To the Co­lom­bi­an pe­o­p­le who dream of pea­ce and who count on us: pea­ce will win.”

Des­pi­te this at­temp­ted show of uni­ty, the re­sult shows that Co­lom­bia is a bit­ter­ly di­vi­ded coun­try. So­me of the are­as most af­fec­ted by the con­flict vo­t­ed in sup­port of the deal, such as the de­part­ment of Cau­ca, whe­re 67.38 per­cent back­ed the agree­ment. Des­pi­te this, two ma­jor ci­ties, Me­del­lin and Bu­ca­raman­ga, saw a ma­jor swing to­ward the No camp, which pro­ved cru­ci­al to the re­sult. The low tur­nout of just 37.4 per­cent may ha­ve been due to Hur­ri­ca­ne Mat­thew, which dum­ped hea­vy rain on Co­lom­bia’s Ca­rib­bean re­gi­ons. The­re we­re calls to ex­tend pol­ling hours but the govern­ment re­fu­sed. (Xin­hu­a­net.com)

Re­si­dents re­act du­ring the bal­lot count for the pea­ce agree­ment sig­ned by the Co­lom­bi­an govern­ment and the Ar­med Re­vo­lu­ti­o­na­ry For­ces of Co­lom­bia.(Pho­to: Xin­hu­a­net.com)

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