Before departing to Havana, Cuba, Monday morning, where he will meet with FARC commanders, Colombia’s Chief Peace Negotiator Humberto De la Calle expressed his unconditional support for President Juan Manuel Santos. “The President has shown courageous leadership, courageous because he preferred peace to the inertia of war, courageous because he accepted the decision of the people,” said De la Calle.
Assuming total political responsibility for any mistakes in the negotiation process, and the negative results Sunday at the ballot box, with “No” winning over “Yes” with a tight margin of less than 1% of the total national vote, the senior statesman offered his resignation as the country’s chief negotiator with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla.
“I will not be an obstacle for what awaits ahead, yet, I reiterate I will continue to work for peace without rest, from where I can continue to be useful,” said De la Calle, before exalting also the work of his negotiation team.
“Peace has not been defeated. Even the spokesmen for the Centro Democrático party [represented by former President Álvaro Uribe] have said that although they object to some aspects of the final accord, the longing for peace is universal and unanimous.”
“I have the deepest respect for contradicting opinions. This is time for unity. We must look to achieve a National Accord,” said De la Calle.
On Monday afternoon, however, President Santos rejected De la Calle’s resignation.