The Colombian government and top representatives of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) announced on Sunday they reached a new peace deal that may finally end the longest-running conflict.
Speaking from Havana, Cuba, negotiators of the administration of President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC outlined the changes in the new agreement that aim to appease the opposition to an earlier accord that was struck down by a popular referendum on October 2
. The president himself then spoke to the nation in a televised address from Bogotá.
The bulk of that 297-page document remains the same, but key amendments address the justice process and confinement provisions for war criminals, democratic participation by the political party that FARC will become once it demobilizes militarily, collaboration with law enforcement to fight drug-trafficking, protection of privately held assets, and the disbursement of FARC property that will go towards victim reparations.
Santos said that the government considered some 500 proposals submitted since the failed plebiscite to ratify the previous agreement and altered 56 of its 57 issues. The president now hopes that his political rivals, and the 50.2% of the voters that said “No” at the ballot box, can accept this “better”
deal so that the nation can get beyond the current “fragile ceasefire”
with FARC and begin to implement a formal peace.
“This agreement — renewed, adjusted, specified, and clarified — must unite us, not divide us,”
Santos said. “This new peace agreement with the FARC resumes and reflects the proposals and ideas of all those who participated in the great national dialog,”
The next steps towards a formal peace remain unclear. It seems unlikely that Santos will once again put the accord up for a public vote. He has previously suggested that he has the authority to submit the agreement directly to Congress for approval before implementation begins.
Former President Alvaro Uribe
, the chief political rival to Santos and leader of the opposition to the past deal, held his own press conference last night as well.
Uribe said that though he did meet with Santos before the formal announcement, he has not seen the new document in full. He also noted that the president should not presume this is a “definitive”
agreement until it can be reviewed thoroughly by Uribe and others who remain skeptical.
Santos said that he would provide the full agreement to key opposition members. “We are going to divulge it widely starting tomorrow so that it is known by all,”
the president said.