Overwhelming Majority of Colombians to Say ‘Yes’ to FARC Peace Agreement
Colombia: The Silence of the Real Enemies of Peace
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC-EP) deeply regret that the destructive power of those who sow hatred and rancor have influenced the opinion of the Colombian population.
With today’s result, we know that our challenge as a Political Movement is still bigger and requires being stronger to build a stable and lasting peace.
The FARC-EP maintains its will for peace and reiterates its willingness to only use the word as a weapon of construction towards the future.
To the Colombian people who dream of peace, count on us.
Peace will triumph.
Colombia votes No to peace deal
The results are valid, as in order for the vote to be considered adequate, at least 13% of the electorate needed to vote “yes”.
The “No” vote won by a half of a percentage point, meaning the peace accord was not ratified by the Colombian population.
The Colombian plebiscite on whether to move forward with the peace accord reached between the government of President Juan Manuel Santos and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia has been rejected by voters.
The “No” won by a narrow margin, with 50.21 percent to 49.78 percent for the “Yes” vote. The difference was a half of a percentage point against the peace accord.
The “No” had 6,431,376 votes to 6,377,482 votes for the “Yes.”
Voter turnout was very low, under 40 percent, with only 13 million of the 35 million eligible voters making it to the polls.
The surprising results—which went against all exit polls that had the “Yes” vote winning easily—are showing that the areas most affected by the conflict have overwhelmingly voted “Yes” for peace. For example in the heavily affected area of Choco, with 95 percent of the vote counted, 79 percent voted “Yes.” The Caribbean provinces have also voted “Yes.”
In the capital of Bogota, the “Yes” vote won by 56 percent to 44 percent for the “No” vote.
The plebiscite was non-binding and now the Colombian congress can still elect to pass the laws necessary to comply with the accords, although the amnesty law was built into the plebiscite and basically makes the agreement null.
The FARC-EP had consistently called for a constituent assembly instead of a plebiscite, arguing that an assembly would be much more representative and would guarantee the participation of the most marginalized and affected peoples in Colombia and would go beyond a simple yes or no vote.
In light of the vote, the FARC-EP said in an official statement that it will continue to pursue peace, using its words to reach peace and finally said it is confident that peace will prevail.
President Santos said he will abide by the vote, but will not give up on peace, sending negotiators back to Havana, Cuba to meet with their FARC-EP counterparts. He said he will also convene a meeting tomorrow of all political forces including the “No” forces to dialogue about what can be done. Most importantly, he reiterated that the bilateral cease-fire between the FARC-EP and the government will remain in effect.
The “No” vote was led by former president Alvaro Uribe and big landowners who have run the country with impunity for decades. The fear-mongering campaign launched by these forces, with the support of right-wing media, proved to much for the forces for peace.
Colombians went to the polls to vote on the approval or rejection of the peace agreement reached between the government of Santos and the FARC-EP guerrillas after nearly 4 years of negotiations.
The question posed to the population was: “Do you support the final accord for the end of the conflict and the construction of stable and lasting peace?”
The final text of the peace deal was signed on Sept. 26 by Santos and the FARC-EP leader Timoleon Jimenez, with numerous regional leaders and heads of state in attendance. The historic act is now clouded by the outcome of the plebiscite.
Despite Colombia’s ‘No’ Win, FARC Remains Committed to Peace
President Santos reiterated that the bilateral cease-fire remains in effect.
FARC-EP head Timoleon Jimenez expressed the rebels’ deep disappointment in Colombia’s “No” win at a press conference from Havana Sunday night, shortly after electoral authorities declared that the “No” vote against the peace deal won by a slim margin.
“The FARC-EP commits itself to use only words as weapons for peace,” said Timoleon. “The struggle for peace continues,” adding with optimism that “there was still hope.”
The rebel leader “deeply deplored” the result as a deceiving campaign by the “No,” campaign led by the “destructive powers planting the seeds of hatred and resentment among Colombia’s people.”
“Whoever wishes peace in Colombia can rely on the FARC-EP. Peace shall win!” he concluded.
A few minutes later, Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos also denounced the results, saying from Bogota that he “acknowledged that the majority, with a very short margin, said ‘No’” to the peace deal his government negotiated for four years with the rebels, while “the other half said ‘Yes.'”
“I am the guarantor of the country’s stability, my duty is to maintain public order while continuing to seek peace for the country,” he told reporters, adding that the bilateral cease-fire was still in effect. “We all want peace, without exception.”
The head of state announced he will convoke all the political forces on Monday, “especially the forces supporting the ‘No,’ in order to find points of agreement and unity.”
In the meantime, he added, the state’s chief peace delegation, as well as the high commissioner on peace, will travel to Havana in order to discuss developments with the FARC-EP peace delegation.
“I will not surrender. We will all come out stronger from this. We will find peace and move forwards,” he repeated outside the presidential palace.
Senator Ivan Cepada, from the left-wing Democratic Pole, told teleSUR that the results needed to be processed “in cold blood” in order to find a strategy that will still lead to peace for Colombia,
“The peace deal was agreed between with the FARC-EP and the government and received a strong support from the international community,” he said.
He highlighted the low voter turnout — an estimated 22 million abstentions — and gave his opinion on the reasons why: “on the coastal Atlantic, many voters could not go to the polling stations because of hurricane Matthew,” but “unfortunately many believed the dirty campaign for the “No.'”