The Next Steps for Peace in Colombia

Oct 11, 2016

In a very close vote, Colombians voted down a peace accord aimed at ending a 52 year guerilla war with the Marxist rebel group known as the FARC. The “no” vote edged out the “yes” vote by 0.5 percent of the vote with 37 percent of eligible voters going to the polls. Many “no” voters expressed concern over the peace agreement's provisions on justice for conflict-related crimes.

President Juan Manuel Santos, FARC leader Rodrigo Londono, and opposition leader Alvaro Uribe have all indicated their commitment to achieve peace and to engage in an inclusive national dialogue. Colombians have expressed their commitment to settle their differences through institutions and dialogue rather than violence. Indeed, both President Santos and FARC leader Londono have agreed to keep the ceasefire in place.

White House spokesperson Josh Earnest said the voice of the Colombian people must be taken into account: “We hope that all sides will continue to be focused on the goal of a negotiated peace and we want to encourage them to continue to pursue that path. But it's also important for them to be acting consistent with the promises that they've made to the Colombian people.”

Colombia can count on the support of the United States as it continues to seek democratic peace and prosperity for all Colombians. The U.S. supports President Santos' proposal for a broad dialogue as the next step toward a just and lasting peace.