Colombian President Receives 2016 Nobel Peace Prize After Peace Accord Rejected

Civil War Of Colombia


Mario Tama

President Santos of Colombia Photo courtesy of Mario Tama of Getty Images

Wayne Chan, Photojournalist

On October 7, the president of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

According to CNN, voters of Colombia had just rejected a peace deal that President Santos had spent years negotiating. However, surprisingly the Nobel Prize Committee still bestowed the honor upon him. The award was given to the Colombian President for his valiant effort in trying to achieve peace for his nation amidst a prolonged war against FARC, The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. Upon receiving the award, President Santos dedicated it to his people, and promised to continue his campaign for peace.

FARC guerrillas are notorious for their large illegal substance trade and kidnapping. The war started some 50 years ago. There have been multiple cease fires, but none of them lasted long enough to dissolve conflict between the two groups. The first attempt at peace between the government and the rebel group started in 1982. To this day Colombia has not successfully arrived at peace (Stanford). President Santos had struck a peace accord with FARC in which the citizens of Colombia voted upon.

The Peace accord is extremely controversial. It calls for peace between the government of Colombia and the rebel group. According to Aljazeera, critics argue that it does not accomplish enough to punish the rebels. However, it is hard to achieve peace and seek for proper justice at the same time. Even after its rejection, rebellion leader, Rodrigo Londono, still expressed his desire to search for a compromise and arrive at peace. Londono stated that FARC “disposition to use only words as a weapon to build towards the future… peace will triumph.” Both sides of the nation still respect the cease fire deal between them. Joseph Yazvin (10) is glad to hear that both sides are still at an agreement because as long as

“both groups are willing to maintain a non-violence policy, there is a good chance of peace in Colombia.”

The prize is also a tribute to the people of Colombia. The war in its fifty-year long course has devastated the country, killing up to 220,000 people (Nobel Prize Organization). The Nobel Prize Organization believes President Santos’ actions have brought Colombia significantly closer to the end of the war. The organization applauds and encourages President Santos and all those striving for peace and justice to continue their efforts. With hope, the organization grants the prestigious accolade to the President and people of Colombia so that it may lessen some voter’s hard stance on the subject and will them to seek compromise. Although the peace deal was struck down, it still represents a step in the right direction.