2016 Colombia Peace Agreement Referendum

The peace agreement allowed rebel fighters to hand over their weapons to the United Nations, to acknowledge their crimes and to form a political party rooted in their Marxist ideology. The international community should continue to provide political support by deploying its delegates and special envoys to maintain dialogue with all parties and, if necessary, by exerting discreet pressure on opposition leaders to preserve important elements of the agreement that could be at risk. It should not rule on a new aerial fumigation of coca crops and give a real chance of action to the agreement on illegal drug replacement. It must also use its financial support to put in place mechanisms for rapid transfer of resources in the name of effective implementation on the ground and to help solve problems and learn from them when they occur. The development of coalitions will also be a priority for parties wishing to defend the peace agreement. Many parties are in favour of peace, but do not alone provide enough votes to secure a candidacy in the second round, as their support is dispersed. The creation of an alliance in favour of an agreement would be a step forward for a candidate ready to implement the agreement to reach the second round. But such a coalition would present a wide range of groups that disagree on other issues. [fn] Interview with Crisis Group, pro-agreement senator, Bogota, November 30, 2016.

For example, Jorge Robledo, a Senator from the Democratic Party and a potential presidential candidate, is in favour of the agreement, but strongly opposes the government`s new tax law, which is also supported by the parties that support the agreement. “The peor reforma tribute imaginable: Robledo,” Jorge Robledo, official website, October 20, 2016.Hide Footnote The coming weeks, months and perhaps even years will be a difficult test for Colombia`s commitment to peace. This campaign fell short of solidarity with those who suffered the most from this five-decade war. It showed the separation between bogota`s elites and the country`s marginalized populations, whose concerns and fears have hardly been addressed. Santos` opponents in Congress were furious that the new agreement was imposed, with what they said, there was not enough time to comment or review the changes.