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El Espectador, July 19th

Tuesday's edition of Bogota daily El Espectador reports on the Colombian Constitutional Court approving a measure to hold a national referendum on the recently signed peace agreement with the Marxist rebels, FARC.

Above the headline "Green light for a referendum," is a rather giddy photograph of Constitutional Court President Maria Victoria Calle, and her colleague Magistrate Luis Ernesto Vargas on Monday, announcing the decision.

"There is a green light for us, the Colombian people, to approve the peace deal with our votes," Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said.

If the referendum passes, the rebels would be expected to disarm and form a left-wing political party — although a small faction has vowed to keep fighting — and help with demining operations, a key point in a country with the second highest number of land mine victims in the world after Afghanistan.

Last month, after four years of talks, and a half-century of civil war, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) signed with the government negotiators a historic peace agreement in Havana.

The war started in 1964 when the FARC first took up arms to fight for land reform and greater equality. Three attempts to negotiate peace have thus far failed and about 220,000 Colombians have died in the fighting with millions more uprooted from their homes.

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Ideas

The "Good Russians" Debate Is Back — And My Rage Just Grows Deeper

A Ukrainian journalist considers the controversy over the shutting down of exiled, independent Russian television station TV Dozhd. Can Russians be opposed to Putin's war and yet support the troops?

photo of protesters holding up a sign that reads Russia is a terrorist state

An October protest in Munich

Sachelle Babbar/ZUMA
Anna Akage

-Essay-

What's been unfolding in Latvia this week is minor compared to the brutality that continues every day in Ukraine. Still, it is telling, and is forcing us to try to imagine what will happen in the future to Russia, and Russians, and the rest of us in the region.

What has been a largely respected and independent Russian television channel, TV Dozhd (TV Rain) was forced off the air in Latvia, where it's been based since being forced into exile after the war in Ukraine began, after Alexei Korostelev, one the channel's main anchors, said on live TV that Dozhd viewers could help the Russian army soldiers and urged viewers to write about mobilization violations.

Korostelev was immediately fired, and the television's management reiterated its absolute opposition to the war and repeated calls for Moscow to immediately withdraw its troops. Nonetheless, the next day Latvia — a fierce Ukraine ally — revoked the channel's license to broadcast

It is a rude return to the "good Russian" debate, which spread across independent newspapers and social media in the weeks after Moscow's invasion. What must we demand from Russians who are opposed to the war and to Vladimir Putin? Should we expect that they not only want an end to the fighting, but should also be pushing for the defeat of their own nation's military?

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