When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Yes supporters in Bogota react to referendum results Sunday.
Yes supporters in Bogota react to referendum results Sunday.
Darío Acevedo Carmona

-OpEd-

BOGOTÁ Colombians have now had their say, voting Sunday to reject the peace deal signed between the government of President Juan Manuel Santos and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), intended to end more than 50 years of fighting in the country.

The No vote triumphed against all odds it seems, against an overwhelming inequality of resources, giant billboards and publicity campaigns, against the opinion and advice of world figures like Pope Francis, and against a state that did not hesitate to put its resources, shamelessly, at the service of the Yes camp.

It won in spite of the insidious blackmail undertaken against district and provincial officials, with their future budgets used as bargaining chips, in spite of the dirty campaign denouncing the No camp as warmongers and in the face of a thousand and one last-minute promises the government made to this or that sector. It won in spite of fear-mongering and suggestions that voting No would mean an end to talks, and implicitly a return to violence, and in spite of all the pain and humiliations Colombians have suffered.

The victory of the No vote is clear evidence that Colombians still have dignity and will not be intimidated.

Regardless of the insults of extremists and dogmatists who refuse to recognize their defeat, we insist as we have always maintained, that the next step is not a resumption of hostilities, an end to the two-way ceasefire or even the president's resignation.

What we who voted No to the deal want is to be listened to properly and be given serious consideration in any continuing peace discussions with the FARC, and an understanding that only a great political pact between institutional forces can make peace talks with the FARC, or possible talks with the ELN (the smaller guerrilla force) or other armed gangs, valid, credible and sustainable.

We want peace just as much as the 49.76% of participating electors who voted Yes do. But we have made, in the face of the aggressive publicity launched against us, certain observations that must be considered to ensure that the peace process is built on stronger ground.

One must say, perhaps to avoid a repeat of this kind of outcome, that before such events concerning issues of crucial importance to society, the major media outlets must avoid all partiality in their reporting, state institutions must resist being cajoled by the government and big pollsters must not cede to government pressures lest they end up with a loss of face after unexpected results like Sunday's. Their predictions were an embarrassment.

Let me insist, there will be no triumphalism on the part of the referendum's winners.

The decent thing to do now is seek new agreements, through third parties if necessary, to put the process back on track. The dogmatic partisans of the Yes vote must reboot, stop fanning the fire of discord and practice their own preachings on reconciliation. They must help forge the great national pact the situation requires, and can start doing so by curbing their abusive language.

I wish to interpret the No vote not as an invitation to return to war, but as a message to all armed gangs in Colombia that there can be no peace agreement if this includes "flexible" deals on impunity — and no deal, for sure, if it goes against the wishes of more than half the country.

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Society

Colombia Celebrates Its Beloved Drug For The Ages, Coffee

This essential morning drink for millions worldwide was once considered an addictive menace, earning itself a ban on pain of death in the Islamic world.

Colombia's star product: coffee beans.

Julián López de Mesa Samudio

-Essay-

BOGOTÁ — October 1st is International Coffee Day. Recently it seems as if every day of the calendar year commemorates something — but for Colombia, coffee is indeed special.

For almost a century now we have largely tied our national destiny, culture and image abroad to this drink. Indeed it isn't just Colombia's star product, it became through the course of the 20th century the world's favorite beverage — and the most commonly used drug to boost work output.

Precisely for its stimulating qualities — and for being a mild drug — coffee was not always celebrated, and its history is peppered with the kinds of bans, restrictions and penalties imposed on the 'evil' drugs of today.

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ