Power struggle

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Dryden’s Kristen Pacheco is currently studying at McMaster University where she prepared this opinion piece for her communications class — Ed.

By Kristen Pacheco

Recently in Columbia, there is an ongoing struggle involving a peace deal to end a long battle against the country’s largest rebel group. A nation was left in shock on October 2, 2016, when the Colombian peace deal with the rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) was defeated by voters.

The deal was intended to end the 52-year war between the rebels and the government. The peace agreement was defeated when 50.2% voted no and 49.8% yes. It is shocking how close the vote ended up being considering the fact that the deal was expected to be passed. I think the proposed deal was struck down because the people of Columbia are trying to send a message to the government that they are unhappy with the content of the deal. The outcome of the vote was all over the media and was represented as a bad thing when realistically it was a good thing. The vice president, Mr. Santos, said the ceasefire that the government had signed with the FARC would remain in effect. The leader of the FARC said he too was not interested in any more fighting. In my opinion, the leader is only saying what he needs to say to get what he wants. The deal has been renegotiated and Colombia’s president, Juan Santos, decided to skip a referendum on the new version and go directly to congress, where the deal’s supporters hold a majority. The government introduced 50 changes to the original deal, the modifications include a prohibition on foreign magistrates judging alleged crimes by government or Farc troops, and a commitment from the rebels to forfeit assets, to help compensate victims. The deal was signed November 23, 2016. Overall, the new peace deal seems like it is more for the victims and less for the rebels which in my opinion is all the people of Columbia really wanted. There can now be peace and justice.

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