The former maximum commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla, Rodrigo Londoño, best known by his wartime alias “Timochenko” cast his vote Sunday, referring to the process as “emotional.” In a tweet moments after he cast his first ballot for president of Colombia as a demobilized combatant, Londoño remarked: “It is very exciting to exercise the right to vote, for the first time, as a result of the path we decided to build with all Colombians.The peace is the way.”
BOGOTA, COLOMBIA— Colombian voters turned to right-wing parties critical of the country's peace deal with the main leftist rebels and knocked the current president's party down in congressional elections, raising questions about the future of the accord. [...] It was also the first time former members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, competed politically since disarming under the 2016 peace deal to end a half century of conflict. As expected, support for their radical agenda was soundly rejected, with FARC candidates getting less than 0.5 percent of the overall vote. [...] By contrast, many of the accord's critics picked up seats, with the Democratic Center party led by former President Alvaro Uribe headed to being the biggest bloc in the Senate. WHIOTV
The peace process is already precarious: many FARC members have abandoned certain demobilization camps. If the trend continues, it will weaken any future administration's rationale for the peace deal. The Democratic Center's motive is to weaken the deal even further so it is sure to fail. Its initiative can't be dismissed. Stratford Worldview
Colombia's economic slowdown and a massive influx of migrants from neighboring Venezuela are likely to dominate the country's presidential campaign next year. Venezuelan migrants flowing into Colombia will stoke social tension, particularly if they compete for scarce jobs with Colombians in some parts of the country. Colombia's economic and immigration challenges may open the door to power for new political forces in the 2018 election. [...] As a result, next year's election will be a more open race than those of the recent past, and the country's mounting challenges may give new political forces an opportunity to rise to power. Stratfor Worldview
As part of last year's peace deal, FARC rebels will launch a political party that provides them a platform to use 'words as the only weapon.' Yet several challenges to implementing the peace deal loom on the horizon. Deutsche Welle
Humberto de la Calle, one of Colombia's five presidential candidates, accepted his defeat but urged his followers to "defend the peace accords" with the guerrillas of FARC. De la Calle, who led the peace negotiations with the now disbanded guerrilla group, won approximately 2% of the vote.
"We can not allow peace to burn," De la Calle said as he conceded his defeat.
Colombia's Conservative Party is refusing to approve the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) initiative unless it complies with international law, El Tiempo reported Nov. 9. The legislation is part of Colombia's peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and, if passed, would establish amnesty courts. The Conservative Party's withdrawal from the JEP coalition puts the peace deal at risk. The JEP initiative will become harder to pass in 2018 if it is not approved before the end of November. Stratfor Worldview
"There is a sector of society that wants a clean slate. Turn the page without reading anything. We believe that we must turn the page, but after reading what's written on it. At this point, we need to avoid in my country the silence that has covered dictatorships. We don't believe that's going to happen, we trust that that the contribution of the peace pact will be to let the truth out so we can forgive and build a better Colombia". Imelda Daza Cotes interviewed by Clarin.
Support amongst Colombians for the peace process with FARC increased last month perhaps as a result of events like the abandonment of weapons and the imminent return of ex-combatants to civilian life. According to a Pulso País Datexco Poll, the belief that peace can grow in Colombia increased from a confidence margin of 46.7 percent in May to 52.8 percent in July. El Tiempo
Colombia cannot return to internal armed conflict if we want to realize our goals as a country, as a people. Indeed, failure in this undertaking will carry serious consequences, not only for the prosperity and tranquility of Colombia, but also for our nation's relations with neighboring countries and allies, and for Colombia's image as a beacon of hope for building world peace. Emilio Huertas, US News