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Colombian students doubt peace accords

Columbian president Juan Manuel Santos signed a peace accord before the public had a chance to vote to end the war with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or the FARC (acronym in Spanish), and received a Nobel prize for ending the war. Santos held the signing ceremony before the vote in hopes to gain voter support throughout the country. 

Both sides can see the benefit to the accord. To them, prolonging an already bloody war would only cost more lives.

Gio Navia, a freshman business administration major from Colombia, believes that “they [FARC] are going to continue to do what they have done for decades now, which is killing people and selling drugs” once the accord has officially run out.

The peace accord calls for the FARC’s fights to ceasefire, which would be watched by the United Nations. This will be the start of them handing over their weapons.

The peace accord guarantees the rebels 10 seats in Colombia’s congress for two terms, allowing an opening for rebel commanders to enter the political system officially through the creation of a new voting district. This gives the FARC party say in what legislation would and would not get passed in the country. Combatants would also receive a government stipend monthly, which is the same amount as a citizen’s minimum wage for two years.

“They will also be eligible for onetime cash payment of about $2,500…a significant sum in Colombia…to start a business,” reported the Washington Post.

According to Navia, even though there are 2 million people involved with the FARC, they are not all going to get money, as only the leaders will receive the money that the government is handing out.

When the Colombian citizens voted, most voted against the peace deal. CNN reported that 50.22 percent of the population voted against while 49.78 percent voted for. The former peace deal went out of effect on October 31 of this year.

Navia mentions that he would have voted against the peace accord. He is against the accord because the leader of FARC, August Pinochet wanted to become a senator, which would give the FARC more power. The peace accord would release FARC of pating for their crimes. In Navia’s view, the accord rewards FARC instead of punishing them.   

Marko Cardona, a senior international business major, disagrees with the Nobel board, “I believe he [President Santos] is a very arrogant person and the news has said that 78 percent of the population in Colombia doesn’t like him at all. He got what he wanted, which is the Nobel Peace Prize, but he does not deserve it.”

Cardona also would have voted against the accord. He and Navia share the same view: the accord is unfair because there are people who have killed thousands of innocent people and are going to run away from it.

Santos’s goal is to amend the peace accord by Christmas.  Since the vote was so close, Santos’s plans for getting the amendment passed consist of adding some of the ideas of the people that voted against in the original peace accord into the amended one. This will be enough, Santos hopes, to pass the amendments.