Colombians voted no to the first peace deal signed by President Juan Manuel Santos and Marxist FARC rebel leader Rodrigo Londono last month so they’ve signed another peace deal with minor revisions.
Many Colombians rejected the first deal because it wouldn’t have jailed FARC leaders who committed crimes like kidnappings and massacres, and would’ve allowed them to hold political office.
The expanded and highly complex new 310-page peace deal text makes only small modifications to the first one, such as clarifying private property rights and detailing more fully how the rebels would be confined in rural areas for crimes committed during the war.
In his speech President Santos acknowledged the rejection but didn’t dwell on not holding a second referendum.
“This new generation, which will build the Colombia of tomorrow, has asked us to give them a country, a different country from the one we inherited,” he said.
Then Londono spoke of his “admiration for the thousands of compatriots who took to the streets, squares and villages to protest against the war.
He said they showed “their support for the fundamentals of the final accord and had “called on all those involved in the negotiations to not stop until there was a definitive agreement.”
Both leaders desperately want to see an end to the 52 year old civil war which has has killed more than 220,000 and displaced millions of people.
But the former President Alvaro Uribe was the one who led the push to reject the first deal – and there will be anger that Santos is sidestepping the people and sending the deal straight to Congress for ratification.
The FARC, which began as a rebellion fighting rural poverty, has battled a dozen governments as well as right-wing paramilitary groups.
An end to the war with the FARC is unlikely to end violence in Colombia as the lucrative cocaine business has given rise to criminal gangs and traffickers.