Achieving peace: Colombian government signs deal with FARC


Luis Robayo/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Faye Prekeges

October 2, 2016, the people of Colombia voted “No” to the Peace Accords created by their government that would have ended the country’s decade long conflict with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC. Many Colombians supported peace with the rebels, but voted “No,” citing leniency given to the rebels in the accord as reason for rejecting them.

After the failed referendum, President of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, as the judges who awarded the prize to him did so in hopes the prize would “give him strength to succeed in this demanding task.”

The prize has given him strength indeed. Wednesday, the Colombian congress voted on and approved a revised version of the earlier peace accord. With the revised version, congress did not rely on a vote from the people, but instead both the Colombian house and senate, which are controlled by the president’s coalition, voted on the accords, and were able to push them through.

Not all of congress was pleased with this vote, and many of the President’s adversaries in the house and senate expressed their discontent in the vote for the accords, stating congress voted too quickly, without giving time for them to review the revised version fully before voting.

Opposition against the new accords stems from their continued leniency as well. Members of FARC accused of war crimes will go before a special court, but, as stated in the revised accords, no member of the revolutionary group who confesses to war crimes will serve time in prison. The Colombian government stated if they were to be given prison sentences, FARC would have immediately backed out of the agreement.

In the wake of the vote, Colombia can continue on their final steps to ending the 52 year long war with FARC, as both the rebels and the government have stated FARC will begin to dismantle their camps, and assimilate into the civilian population in the coming weeks.

President Juan Manuel Santos will speak soon regarding the newly approved accords, and how the country will continue through the process of undoing FARC now that peace has been agreed upon.