Colombia’s Failed Attempt For Peace


Colombia has endured the longest armed conflict on the western hemisphere in modern history. The government has been fighting against the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces Of Colombia) for 52 years now.

After years of conflict, around five million people displaced and over 220,00 lives lost, the nation was hopeful that the end of this civil war was near when the government signed a peace agreement with the leader of the armed group back in June after four years of negotiations. The historic peace agreement was put to popular vote, mostly as a formality, so that the Colombian people could officially approve the agreement, but 50.21 percent of the Colombians who voted, decided against it.











The current conflict dates back to the 1960s, as the guerrillas opposed  “American imperialism and financial capital monopolies.” The movement claims to represent the unprivileged people of Colombia in rural areas and aspired to get control and run Colombia with a communist mindset. But through the years the FARC have lost their ideals and have just become a violent and shamed group. Attacking civilians and funding their ideals though drug trafficking have defeated the original purpose of the group. Through the years, kidnappings, murders, and people losing their homes due to conflict and being forced to relocate have taken a toll on Colombian people. Younger generations and victims specially, are hopeful for peace and a new and better country for everyone.

Although conflict hasn’t affected everyone directly, despite what most tend to perceive it is pretty isolated, specially through the last 20 years, it has affected Colombia financially and politically long enough. Farmers and civilians on the country side have taken the bigger hit. Bombs, landmines and getting caught in the crossfire have been part of the rather unprivileged civilians for decades, peace has a special meaning for them.












On Oct. 2 last year, the agreement was put to popular vote, to get official approval from the Colombian people. Not only the media but most people were expecting the deal to pass, previous polls showed a positive outcome for those who were for the peace agreement. However, with a very close vote 50.21 percent, the campaign for “NO” won and left the nation and the world in shock. What was even more shocking was that only 37.43 percent of the registered citizens voted.

This is’t Colombia’s first peace attempt, previous leaders have tried negations but this is as far as it has even gotten, this was the first time peace seemed like a reality. Although the agreement was far from perfect, leaders and soldiers of the FARC would face basically no jail time, were offer a monetary compensation for those who demobilized and were guaranteed five seats in both Colombia’s houses of congress for the next eight years. Colombians recognized it was still worth it, if it meant the end of the conflict.

From an outsider’s point of view, it might be hard to understand how did this result even happen. Well it all comes down to the loud and aggressive campaign against the agreement, lead by an ex president. Alvaro Uribe was president for eight years (2002-2010) and ever since leaving presidency has lead a hate and disapproval campaign towards the new president Juan Manuel Santos. Using social media and his large following, Uribe has strongly pushed his campaign against the peace agreement, going as far as getting the church involved. He even mention how he and his campaign were not included in the negotiations after being invited by both parties multiple times.

Now it is unclear what will happen, peaceful protest, specially lead by students and scholars, have been happening, pushing for a new agreement and peace as soon as possible. Santos and Uribe have started negations and the FARC have expressed their desire for peace. Although the cease of fire is still on session, civilians fear that if there is no new agreement soon, the conflict will resume and that will only mean more victims.










Only days after the election, Santos was rewarded with the Nobel peace prize, which has created even more controversy. Some view it as ironic, since agreement didn’t pass. The opposition of course says he didn’t deserve it, but for most, even if they are not supporters of the president, can agree that his efforts count in these historic peace agreement.

The president has also announced that he will donate the Nobel prize money to the victims of the conflict, and has invited the Colombian people to come together and bring peace to the country once and for all.

For the victims the result has specially been devastating, when looking at the results, one can see that those affected by the conflict voted yes most strongly, on average over 90 percent, but it was in the big cities, were people have most likely never been victims and have lived the war only through their TV screens, were the ones who voted no. The Colombian people have now a responsibility to find peace for those who need it the most, and start working towards a different country young and future generations can enjoy.