By Luz Mosquera
On November 30, Colombia signed a new and modified version of the peace deal with rebel group FARC. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos continued his plan to sign the peace deal that would end a war with FARC that has lasted 52 years, resulted in many deaths, and created vast numbers of refugees.
The original peace deal was signed by President Santos October, however, the majority of Colombians voted against the agreement, describing it as unfair and too lenient towards the rebels.
Back then, just a small portion of Colombians showed up to vote and Hurricane Matthew prevented many in the Northern Coast from voting. While 49.8 percent were in favor of the peace agreement, 50.2 percent rejected it.
Among the Colombians who were against the peace deal was former president Álvaro Uribe Vélez who is strongly against being lenient to the rebel group.
Unlike President Santos, Uribe’s way of dealing with FARC was fighting them. However, Colombian citizens were then stuck in the middle of the war between the Colombian government and rebel group FARC. Voters against the deal, along with Uribe, have made campaigns and expressed their concerns about the peace treaty.
The main concern of many Colombian citizens was that the original treaty did not punish the rebels who have committed various crimes. The rebels would be able to work and have a chance at a new lifestyle after years of being in the jungle, however, many families and victims view them as criminals and seek justice.
Now, the agreement contains 40 legal constitutional changes that had to be made in order for it to pass and 50 modifications addressing the concern that it was too lenient.
“This is a much better agreement than the last one. It had the muscle of the whole country, including the people who were for and the people who were against the last agreement. The FARC got the message loud and clear, and they understood it,” said Frank Pearl, a Colombian government official.
This time around, whether or not the peace deal would pass was no longer in the hands of Colombian voters. Congress had to decide whether the agreement would pass or not. Legislators approved the peace deal.