Colombian voters on Sunday narrowly rejected the peace deal negotiated between President Juan Manuel Santos [official website] and Timoleon Jimenez, the leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The deal, rejected [BBC report] by 50.2 percent of voters, would have established an official end to the guerrilla warfare that has been plaguing the country for more than five decades. Santos stated [press release, in Spanish] that though the agreement was voted down, the ceasefire between the two parties will be maintained and he will engage in further negotiations to establish official peace.
The Colombian government and FARC signed the peace agreement [JURIST report] in Havana, Cuba, last week after four years of negotiations. Witnesses to the signing included UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, US secretary of state John Kerry, as well as hundreds of victims of the war. The peace agreement seeks to end more than half a decade of conflict in the South American country that claimed [CNN report] the lives of more than 220,000 people and displaced countless others. In June the Colombian government and FARC signed [JURIST report] a ceasefire as the revolutionary forces transition to a peaceful political party. In January the UN Security Council unanimously approved [JURIST report] a resolution authorizing the creation of a political peace mission in Colombia to monitor the disarmament between the Colombian government and FARC rebels. In November Santos pardoned [JURIST report] 30 former guerrilla soldiers in jail for non-violent and minor crimes.