FARC Rebels Celebrate As Peace Deal Is Signed With Colombian Government
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What Americans Might Not Understand About Colombia's "No" To Peace

Colombians want peace, but they also want justice.

Earlier this week, Colombia voted "no" on the peace treaty negotiated with FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), a rebel organization that is 52 years-old and is commonly perceived as a terrorist group to the country's natives.

FARC was able to do what Pablo Escobar could only dream of doing—negotiate with the government, largely to the benefit of the criminals. The Escobar era turned into a sloppy affair in Colombia because the government simply would not yield to negotiate. That was when Escobar decided to cause havoc throughout the nation until an agreement was made. The agreement was then breached by the government when the justice system decided to attempt to put Pablo in a government-owned prison, and pull him out of the prison he owned and designed for himself. That essentially led to the downfall and death of the drug kingpin.

From an American's perspective, the "no" may be viewed as the continuance of violence for a country that is notorious for characteristics that, at the end of the day, do not define them. For Colombians, it's about wanting justice for the deep-seated pain that has been inflicted on them by a powerful and criminal organization.

#Colombia dice ‘no’ al acuerdo de paz con las #FARC El domingo 2 de octubre pasará a la historia por cuenta del #plebiscito que sometió a consideración de la ciudadanía el acuerdo que se llevó a cabo entre el gobierno #Santos y la guerrilla de las Farc. Claro que también harán historia la forma en que se incluyeron casi 300 páginas en una pregunta de Sí o No. También hará historia por cuenta del plebiscito el hecho de que la pregunta hubiera burlado lo establecido por la propia Corte y ante los reclamos de la oposición la pacífica y conciliadora respuesta de Santos hubiera sido que él hacía “lo que se le da la gana” sencillamente porque era el Presidente. A lo anterior se sumará que en esta contienda electoral se vulneró el equilibrio en favor de quienes promovían el Sí. Desde el propio Gobierno se lideró una campaña en la que se equiparó el Sí a la paz y se trató de “guerreristas” a todos los que no estuvieran a favor de los acuerdos. Capítulo aparte merece el famoso umbral de participación que bajó de tajo al 13% la exigencia de votos, lo que generó muchas dudas, considerando que precisamente por la trascendencia de lo que se iba a refrendar, lo esperado era contar con la refrendación de una mayoría calificada. Pero llegó el día electoral y los colombianos no estamos llamados a rendirnos ante la adversidad y menos a perder los partidos por W. O. Contra todas las predicciones más de seis millones 400 mil ciudadanos dijeron No en el Plebiscito. Con el 99.98% de las mesas escrutadas más de la mitad de los votantes habían ido a las urnas y con firmeza habían preferido no avalar los acuerdos del gobierno Santos con la guerrilla de las Farc. Con estos resultados el camino es uno solo: Aunque parezca tarde, es el momento de que el Gobierno y la guerrilla demuestren que realmente quieren la paz para Colombia. Una paz estable y duradera que se fundamente en la verdad y que permita un país unido y no dividido en la búsqueda de la misma. Artículo completo en el lino de la biografía.

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To truly understand why Colombia voted "no," one must understand that the peace treaty guaranteed a paid salary to members of FARC. The salaries range from $211 a month (90 percent of the legal national minimum wage) all the way up to $2,729, depending on ranks. The proposed deal also guaranteed seats in Colombian congress, which would allow FARC rebels to weigh in on rulings that affect the country. The original peace treaty also positioned FARC leader Timochenko and Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

The FARC is notorious for the cultivation of cocaine, whose mass production has translated to the exploitation of the poor class of the South American nation. FARC is also reportedly known to violently strip land from impoverished farmers, who are forced to legally deed their property to threatening members. They also infiltrate these towns, kidnap the children, and bully them into work for FARC. Not to mention, former Colombian President Uribe accused Santos and FARC of buying "yes" votes by bribing the campesinos of Colombia.

Colombia is a country scarred by political upheaval and corruption. Whether a voter is going to side with a "yes" or a "no," it's all with subjective reasoning. Some people voting for "yes" are willing to compromise justice in search for peace. The people voting "no" seek justice by any means. But one thing is for certain, neither side of the vote wants to continue the violence.

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