A more promising future for Colombia hinges on its national government pursuing an integrated and conflict-aware approach to stabilization outside Bogotá in the years following a historic peace accord with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The peace accord, while not inclusive of other armed actors, is likely the most viable vector through which stabilization can be achieved in Colombia, given the degree of political buy-in and international support for the process.
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After more than half a century of civil war, Colombians voted in a referendum to reject a peace agreement between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (known commonly as FARC). This vote came after years of intense negotiations in Havana mediated by an array of international actors. The result is a major blow to Jose Manuel Santos’ administration. What went wrong with the plebiscite will surely be the topic of many autopsies by external observers and soul-searching by those who shepherded the peace process.
Pollsters’ best bets were radically overturned in Colombia Sunday, as widespread apathy and torrential rains dampened turnout in the referendum on the peace deal. Opponents of the deal appeared as surprised as anyone at their own victory, triumphing by fewer than 55,000 votes in a country of 33 million voters. Abstention topped 60 percent, and the “No” side won with the support of less than one-fifth of total voters, by a margin of 0.16 percent of those eligible to vote.
Colombia and the world were shocked Sunday night when a Colombian national referendum on the peace accord with the country’s main leftist guerrilla group rejected the deal. The margin for “no” was razor-thin: With some 13 million people voting, 50.2 percent opposed the deal while 49.8 percent supported it.
Emotions ran high in the streets of Bogota as referendum results came out.