publicidad

Colombia's peace deal: What comes next?

Colombia's peace deal: What comes next?

The package of bills and reforms from the peace process is now on hold after Colombian voters narrowly rejected a referendum on the accord with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

Heartbreak and joy in Bogotá: 11 Colombians react to the 'no' vote Univision

Tens of thousands of weapons used by Colombia's leftist rebels were set to be melted and fashioned into three monuments – in Colombia, Cuba, and New York – to mark the end of 52 years of a brutal war.

That's how confident both sides were in the outcome of Sunday's plebiscite on the country's recent peace accords. But those monuments won't be erected, at least not anytime soon. The war in Colombia is not yet over.

During four years of peace talks in Havana, the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the country's largest rebel group, negotiated an agreement that would have allowed the rebels to leave the jungle, re-enter society and form a political party.

The peace accord was heralded by the international community as a global model of reconciliation and transitional justice. Besides giving up their guns, the FARC also pledged to abandon the nation's lucrative cocaine business.

But ultimately, too many Colombians couldn't swallow the prospect of former fighters holding political power and dodging time behind bars for their human rights atrocities.

A public referendum was not required by law, but President Juan Manuel Santos wanted the historic deal to be publicly ratified. So voters were asked Sunday whether or not they supported "the final agreement for the termination of the conflict and a stable and lasting peace." About 50.2 percent of voters selected 'no,' while 49.8 percent voted in favor. A staggering 63 percent of registered voters did not cast a ballot.

publicidad

And just like that, 297 pages of bills, reforms and plans inked over four years were left hanging in the balance, with no legal validity.

Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos addressed reporters after casting...
Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos addressed reporters after casting his vote in Bogotá.

The result was unexpected, and left in its wake big questions about what's next in the war-torn country where peace had finally seemed feasible. Santos, whose term ends in mid-2018, declared Sunday night that he'll continue seeking peace, but admitted he has no "Plan B." The future of the rebels is now unknown. The United Nations had set up a monitoring and verification mechanism with over 200 international observers ready to start work in Colombia, now unsure what to do.

"We are in a political limbo, a legal limbo," Ariel Ávila, assistant director of Colombia’s Peace and Reconciliation Foundation, told Colombia's El Espectador newspaper on Monday morning.

Santos and FARC leader Timoleon Jimenez, alias 'Timochenko', promised that the ceasefire between both parties would remain in place.

publicidad

On Monday, the Colombian government ordered negotiators back to Havana to begin discussing next steps. Santos invited Colombia's opposition leaders to an emergency meeting. But former President Álvaro Uribe, a right-wing conservative and the loudest 'no' supporter, didn't even attend the meeting.

Virginia M. Bouvier, senior advisor for peace processes at the U.S. Institutes of Peace, tried to give a positive spin to the news. "It’s common for processes to have these setbacks," she said. "But all parties have attempted to find a solution moving forward. People want resolution and peace, the question is what the terms of that resolution will be."

A new round of negotiations

It’s highly unlikely that a new agreement will be easy or quick to negotiate. A renegotiated peace deal would seem to hinge now on the FARC accepting tougher sanctions. In recent weeks, Uribe waged an aggressive campaign against the agreement, arguing that its acceptance would turn Colombia into a "Cuba or Venezuela." His 'no' supporters said the deal was too lenient on the rebels, who should be harshly prosecuted.

Activists in the 'yes' camp react to the result.
Activists in the 'yes' camp react to the result.

Adam Isacson, the senior associate for regional security policy at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), said the ideal short-term measure would be a new timeline for renegotiation.

“In the best-case scenario, the parties will quickly agree on a new agenda for renegotiation,” he said. “You need momentum. It has to appear there's an agenda in place and that people are moving in a disciplined way towards it.”

But accommodating Uribe and his 'no' supporters would mean a shift from "negotiations of mutual concessions to one that's really terms of surrender," Isacson said. "And it's not clear FARC will agree to that."

The accord's so-called "transitional justice" element took 19 months to negotiate, and was lauded by the international community. Under the deal, FARC fighters who committed or ordered atrocities but confessed their crimes would have avoided serving their sentences in jail, instead performing "community service" projects, like clearing landmines.

publicidad

The guerrilla group still has 6,000 fighters in the field at 22 locations around the country. Without a clear direction for their future, they could turn violent again, Isacson says.

Prospects of a war renewed

Colombian journalist Daniel Coronell, who is vice president of news for Univision, says he fears that will mean a "new impulse towards war."

The current conflict in Colombia dates back to the outbreak of civil war in 1948. In 1964, the FARC was born as a leftist agrarian movement, which the military promptly tried to eradicate. May 1964 marked the beginning of the violent conflict between the government and the FARC, which has left more than 8 million victims, among them 283,000 dead, 29,000 kidnapped and 7 million displaced people. The vast majority of victims have been in remote rural areas.

On Sunday, the majority of voters in those areas supported the peace deal. Municipalities where some of the worst guerrilla violence took place, like Bojayá, Mitu, and Tumaco, enthusiastically voted yes to end the conflict.

Peace has been tried many times before.

"After every failed peace process, there's an immense wave of guerrilla attacks," Coronell said, adding this time was likely to be no different. "It’s very hard for me to say this, but I think an erosion of the ceasefire will be gradual and irreversible."

Elisabel, a 26-year-old FARC fighter at rebel camp in southern Colombia....
Elisabel, a 26-year-old FARC fighter at rebel camp in southern Colombia. She joined the FARC aged 14.

Coronell worries about the growth of dissident FARC fighters. In July, FARC expelled its so-called First Front, after the unit said it would refuse to demobilize with the rest of the organization, perhaps foreshadowing more criminalization to come. The First Front is centered in the remote eastern departments of Guaviare, Vaupés and Guainía, in an important coca growing region.

"The [First Front] is only 100 men right now but that could grow to 2,000 by the end of the month," Coronell said. "Part of the problem now is that the FARC leadership has lost credibility with their troops."

In the lead-up to the vote, the government itself maintained that renegotiation would be nearly impossible. Ex-president César Gaviria, head of the 'yes' campaign, told Colombia's Semana magazine recently that any renegotiations would have to happen under another government.

publicidad

"It’s hard to say it, but we'd return to war," he said.

Humberto de la Calle, the government's head negotiator, offered to resign Monday. Before the vote, he had suggested that it could be 10 years until the two sides sit down again at the negotiation table should 'no' win.

"In world history, like in the Arab-Israeli conflict, you see that the groups return to their radical positions and that any transitional gain is lost," De la Calle said in a recent interview on Blu Radio.

Uribe's comeback

Many saw Sunday's result as Uribe's victory, who considers Santos – Uribe's former defense minister – "a traitor" for negotiating with the FARC.

Colombia ex-president Álvaro Uribe celebrates the 'no' victory....
Colombia ex-president Álvaro Uribe celebrates the 'no' victory. In an interview with the New York Times, he said Colombia was making a deal with the devil.

Uribe criticized the international community Sunday, and said he was hurt by the fact that countries like Argentina, Chile, Peru, Mexico, Spain and the United States had participated in the peace negotiation, claiming they were supporting "impunity" for the world's largest cocaine cartel.

Bouvier says Uribe's participation is key going forward. "Uribe is a key now in whether or not violence resumes," she said.

Because the referendum result leaves Santos with little political power to broker a new deal, next steps for implementing an accord would likely fall to legislators.

Rescuing the peace deal

After the results came in Sunday, Former judge Augusto Ibañez suggested taking a constitutional route by convening a national constituent assembly with a variety of participants.

publicidad

Negotiators could also send a version of the peace deal directly to Congress, where many legislators have expressed support for the accord.

The FARC could not unilaterally go ahead with the agreement, even if it wanted to, as its members are technically fugitives.

Now that there’s no accord to implement, the United Nations mission may be unnecessary.

“I guess those observers are going home,” Isacson said.

Relacionado
Pese a que el pacto de paz se firmó el lunes, los colombianos aún deben...
After five decades of war, Colombians head to the polls to vote on peace accord
Voters will decide Sunday whether to ratify the peace agreement negotiated by the government and FARC guerrillas. But Colombians are divided on the deal.
Relacionado
Un joven recluta de las FARC escuchó una clase sobre el proceso de paz e...
On the cusp of peace, a look back at Colombia's half-century of war
The Colombian government signed an agreement on Monday with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The six-decade conflict left more than 8 million victims, among them 283,000 dead, 29,000 kidnapped and 7 million displaced.
publicidad
publicidad
There has always been movement of people, and as we commemorate World Refugee Day on June 20th a group of musicians, activists and community members got together at The Urbano Project​ in Boston to share their experiences and reflect on the diversity that makes up American society: "The direction of where the world is going is encouraging us all, almost forcing us all, to break down those walls."
For Cassandra, a Mexican-American teenage girl, the school year meant more than staying up late to get good grades, going to soccer practice and applying to college. It also meant taking care of her three younger siblings while her mom worked long hours at a restaurant. Like her, many Hispanic students struggle to achieve their goals.
Tomas Pendola, from Argentina, is one such teacher. He says he's open about his status so that students can understand the reality of being undocumented.
Artist Nora Valdez and youth in the Boston community are sharing their stories one suitcase at a time at The Urbano Project. At U-LAB Music we documented their process as part of our 'Immigrant Sounds' series.
Oscar Lopez, a Puerto Rican nationalist who advocates for independence of the island nation, was jailed for nearly 36 years after being charged for seditious conspiracy against the U.S. government. Univision News traveled to Puerto Rico and talked to family members and those who in the last decade fought for his release.
Univision News traveled to several Texas cities to ask a mayor, a sheriff, a congressman and a council member how the anti-sanctuary law will affect their communities and how they'll be challenging it in court.
Nestor Duarte was driving his car in Key West, Florida, when Monroe sheriff deputy David Lariz pulled him over and asked for his papers. Lariz is the same officer who recently asked a Honduran man who had been hit by a car if he was "illegal."
Mimi Martinez, 30, arrived to the United States when she was five years old. Her mom stayed behind in Mexico. Now a legal resident, she was recently able to travel to see her mother in Mexico after 25 years.
Rejection hurts, but it’s not the end of the world. Here is what you need to be admitted to the schools you apply to, and when you’re not, how to proceed. Step number one: don’t panic.
After a 24-year-old Hispanic man tried to help her, Tiffany Cormier became visibly upset and threatened the man, calling him "spic" and saying "They need to take his f**king ass back to Mexico."
It was the biggest ever anti-gang operation in the area, the result of an investigation that began in 2014 during the Obama administration. Most of those arrested were US citizens.
When 5-year-old Elián was rescued off the Florida coast in 1999 he became the center of an international custody battle that pitted family members against one another and tested U.S. foreign policy at a crucial moment in history. Now 23, Elián talks about his experience and the changing nature of U.S.-Cuba relations in CNN film that hits theaters May 19.
Freed after more more than 35 years in prison, the 74-year-old independence hero tells Univision that "all means" are legitimate to end U.S. "colonial" rule. But López Rivera says he personally opposes violent acts.
Nelson Denis, author of 'War Against All Puerto Ricans,' details how the commonwealth's 119-year-long association with the U.S. has produced total economic and governing dependence. With over $70 billion in crushing debt, Puerto Rico's governor turned to the courts on Wednesday to put certain debts before a federal bankruptcy court.
We traveled to Ciudad Juárez to see if hundreds of thousands of jobs in the Mexican maquiladora industry would return to the United States if Trump were to modify or abandon the NAFTA free trade agreement, as his government is considering. A border tax would have serious consequences in Mexican cities.
Although the deportation numbers for Donald Trump's administration have kept pace with the Obama administration, images of operatives and arrests, hate attacks on different minorities, and the President's own pronouncements have triggered alarms in the immigrant community ... and fear. One of Trump's most vocal campaign promises has begun to come true. And we are not talking about the physical wall, but a deeper, taller and more effective one: the wall of fear.
Laura - 'Mi padre se convirtió en mi madre' Accede
Jamás le voy a perdonar a mi padre que se volviera mujer. Por su culpa todos se burlan de mi. Odio a mi padre pues su elección me destruyó la vida.
Mexicanos que trabajaron por más de 10 años en EEUU podrían recibir una pensión al regresar a su país
Representantes del seguro social de Estados Unidos en Tamaulipas ofrecieron este beneficio a personas mayores de 62 años. Para acceder al mismo, los solicitantes únicamente deben presentar un número válido del seguro, un acta de nacimiento y una identificación.
¿El gobierno de EEUU puede quitarle la ciudadanía a un extranjero que mintió para obtenerla? Esto decidió la Corte Suprema
La máxima autoridad judicial dejó claro que el mentir no es razón suficiente para anular la ciudadanía; la falacia tiene que ser grave y relevante para los funcionarios de inmigración que deciden concederla o no, según el Supremo.
publicidad
¿Puede EEUU quitar la ciudadanía a una inmigrante que mintió? Esto es lo que acaba de decir el Supremo
La máxima autoridad judicial del país da la razón a una refugiada serbia que había logrado la ciudadanía estadounidense, pero que acabó deportada por una mentira en su proceso migratorio.
Familia del joven que murió tras recibir un disparo de un oficial que intentaba controlar un perro pide justicia
Por matar a un pitbull agresivo, una bala perdida de la policía alcanzó y mató a la víctima de 17 años de edad que intentaba ayudar a controlar el animal para que no atacara al oficial. Los hechos ocurrieron en Palmdale, en donde según el alguacil, los agentes estaban atendiendo una llamada porque algunos vecinos se habían quejado de música a todo volumen en el lugar.
México responde al tuit provocador de Trump: el narcotráfico "es un problema compartido"
El presidente estadounidense aseguró que "México es el segundo país más violento del mundo" y la cancillería mexicana cuestionó su afirmación con estadísticas de la ONU.
Crece el escándalo del programa de cadetes en Los Ángeles
Un oficial fue arrestado por el jefe de la policía de la ciudad porque presuntamente sostuvo relaciones sexuales con una cadete de quince años de edad, quien estaría involucrada en el robo de varios vehículos del cuerpo junto a otros jóvenes exploradores. Pese al escándalo que ocasionó la suspensión de la División 77, cadetes de otras divisiones están decididos a continuar trabajando para ganarse la confianza de la comunidad y dicen creer en el programa.
Fútbol
Toda la información y noticias sobre lo último del fútbol mundial
Top 5 de jugadores que han sido escogidos primeros en sus respectivos Draft de la NBA
Magic Johnson, Lebron James y Kareem Abdul-Jabbar están en la privilegiada lista. Ellos demostraron su talento en el básquetbol universitario y se hicieron leyenda en la máxima categoría.
América empata 1-1 con Atlante en su primer duelo de pretemporada
Carlos Orrantia se estrenó con las Águilas. Los de Coapa también anunciaron el 18 de julio como el día en que jugarán a beneficio de Ezequiel Orozco ante Murciélagos.
Tom Brady entrenando sumo en Japón… ¿Estará pensando en una nueva disciplina?
El mariscal de campo de los New England Patriots, acompañado de su hijo, aprovechó su visita al país asiático y se enfrentó con luchadores profesionales demostrando que también tiene gran técnica para la lucha.