Home News World reacts to Colombia’s peace agreement with FARC

World reacts to Colombia’s peace agreement with FARC

World reacts to Colombia’s peace agreement with FARC

Colombia is making global headlines Monday, and as the sun begins to set over the historic port city of Cartagena, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos will stand side by side with the leader of the guerrilla group his government has fought for more than a half century.

Together with “Timochenko,” the alias of Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri, leader the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the president will sign the document to make the peace official.

So will conclude the longest-running conflict in the Western Hemisphere.

To mark the occasion, world leaders from across the globe have convened in Cartagena, a gorgeous walled-in city on the Caribbean coast that has witnessed the Spanish conquest, a British siege, and naval battles for New World gold.

From those who have made the trip to the many others across the planet, the whole world is watching the ceremonial end of this war that killed at least 220,000 and displaced some seven million more.

The following are some of the most prominent comments, articles, and reactions to the historic peace being formalized today in Cartagena de Indías.

Prominent Voices Speak on Peace

John Kerry, U.S. secretary of state

“Honored to be in #Colombia for the signing of this landmark peace agreement, marking the end of the longest-running war in Latin America. This is a transformational moment for the Colombian people. It’s not just about ending the war, it’s also about forging a new kind of peace.” (via Twitter, Twitter)

Shakira, Colombian pop star

“‘It is done by walking.’ My Colombia, much remains ahead; to care for and educate our children is to cement the path of peace. (via Twitter)

Ban Ki-moon, secretary general of the United Nations

“I am deeply moved to see so many thousands of Colombians here today. I’m honored to be here to celebrate your achievement — and that of countless Colombians who never lost the hope in peace. When I first visited Colombia five years ago, the adoption of the victims law had begun to build the foundations for peace. You had a vision to bring the victims to the forefront. What they have lost can never be restored. Yet victims have been among the most forceful voices for peace and reconciliation — and against the bitterness and hatred. Their example should be an inspiration for all.

“I commend the parties for the first steps they have taken to acknowledge responsibility for tragic events of this conflict. I encourage you to continue on this path. I welcome the commitments you have made to ensure truth, justice, and reparations for all victims. This is how all healing begins. Since the ceasefire has been in effect, violence in the country has been reduced significantly. Lives have already been saved.” (from address in Cartagena)

Michelle Bachelet, president of Chile

“Colombia is finally a country that can live in peace … We are here for this historic moment and will continue to be beside the government and the Colombian people in their process of building peace whenever we are requested.” (via La Tercera)

Alvaro Uribé, former Colombian president and lead opponent to the peace deal

“Mexico would not give legitimacy nor impunity to drug kingpins … USA would not give impunity to Bin Laden … Peru would not allow the election of the Shining Path’s Abimael Guzman, Santos allows Timoshenko … Why does Colombia have to allow the election of those who have kidnapped 11,700 children or raped 6,800 women?” (via Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, Washington Post)

Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, president of Peru

“I’m in Colombia to support the signing of #AcuerdoDePaz that ends 52 years of war that slowed the development of this country.” (via Twitter)

Catholic Church

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State of the Holy See delegation from the Vatican, is in Cartagena today. Speaking for the San Pedro Claver church, Monsignor Hector Fabio Henao, director of Caritas Colombia, expressed his joy that peace is coming to Colombia:

“We celebrate with great joy the agreement ending the armed confrontation between the Colombian Government and the FARC. It is the first fundamental step towards building lasting peace, which will require strong government commitment and full participation and attentive civil society. The Catholic Church has accompanied rural communities and human rights defenders closely on this long and painful path and will continue to support peace-building processes to ensure that the atrocities of the past are not repeated, that reconciliation is a reality, and human dignity of all those involved in the conflict is restored.” (via Vatican Radio)

Radamel Falcao, Colombian fútbol star

“I know what’s coming for all Colombians will not be easy. It will try to rebuild a country. Entire generations suffered from the war. I imagine a country that has the capacity to forgive … It’s an opportunity to change our destiny … Imagine a country that God will bless because it learned to love its neighbor and was able to build a future for all the generations that come after us.” (via El Tiempo)

José Mujica, former president of Uruguay

“If Colombia votes ‘No,’ it will give the impression of being a schizophrenic people clinging to war as a way of life.” (via El Tiempo)

Evo Morales, president of Bolivia

“Greetings to the Colombian government and FARC representatives for their great effort for peace … These are new times, FARC. It is possible to not vote for revolution with bullets, with conscience of the people and not with weapons.” (via Twitter, Twitter)

Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF

“Peace is affordable … I am in Cartagena today to witness the signing of Colombia’s landmark peace agreement” (via New York Times, Twitter)

Borge Brende, foreign minister of Norway

“What’s good about the fact that it lasted four years is that it was a very thorough process … The mindset of everyone has changed. I feel very genuinely that President Santos and Commander Timochenko want this to work and not go into the blame game.” (via Associated Press)

Global Media Covers Colombia’s Peace

Reuters: Colombia, Marxist rebels to sign accord ending 52-year war

“Some 2,500 foreign and local dignitaries will attend the ceremony scheduled for 5 p.m. local time in the walled, colonial city of Cartagena … Guests expected include United Nations head Ban Ki-moon, Cuban President Raul Castro, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and victims of the conflict.”

Al Jazeera: Colombia and FARC prepare to sign historic pact

“The signing ceremony will not officially close the deal. Colombians are being given the final say on endorsing or rejecting it in an October 2 referendum. Opinion polls point to an almost-certain victory for the “yes” vote, but some analysts warn that a closer-than-expected finish or low voter turnout could bode poorly for the many challenges the country faces implementing the ambitious agreement..”

Washington Post: Colombia peace ‘extremely positive’

“There’s tight security and a festive mood in the air in the Colombian city of Cartagena as leftist guerrillas and the government are set to sign a historic peace deal.”

New York Times: The latest from Colombia’s peace ceremony

“A few hundred supporters of conservative former President Alvaro Uribe are protesting Colombia’s peace accord. They believe it’s too lenient on guerrilla leaders accused of war crimes. Uribe addressed the crowd dressed in the yellow, blue and red of Colombia’s flag on the outskirts of Cartagena, far from where Monday’s signing ceremony will take place. Amid shouts of ‘No to the referendum,’ Uribe argued that the accord puts Colombia on the path to becoming a leftist dictatorship.”

Associated Press: Colombia to sign historic peace deal on ending long conflict

“Negotiations, which had been expected to take a few months, stretched over more than four years and had to overcome a number of crises, from the military’s killing of the FARC’s then top commander, known as Alfonso Cano, shortly after he authorized a secret back channel with the government to the rebels’ capture of an army general who until a few months ago would have been a trophy prisoner.”

BBC: Colombia’s President Santos says Farc deal must rebuild country

“Colombia’s peace deal makes history in many ways, most of all for ending the last of the Cold War conflicts. But it also breaks new ground in trying to balance the desire for peace with the demands of justice which bedevil all peace talks. There’s no amnesty, unlike all previous peace accords in the region. The Farc, as well as Colombia’s security forces, have accepted special tribunals and a truth and reconciliation process.

Many of the victims of the Farc’s brutality have been brought into the process. If polls are to be believed, a majority will vote to accept this deal. But I kept meeting people in Bogota and Cartagena who said they would vote no. Fifty years of war also means decades of hatred and mistrust. Many doubt that the Farc will give up all its lucrative criminal activities. Will this deal also make history in being a peace deal which doesn’t fall apart?”

The Guardian: Colombian president to sign peace deal with Farc rebels today

“Colombians are nervous over how the remaining 7,000 rebels will integrate into society, but most are optimistic peace will bring more benefits than problems. ‘I can’t believe this day has finally come,’ said an excited Juan Gamarra, 43, who sells jewelry in Cartagena.Colombia has performed better economically than its neighbors in recent years, and peace should reduce security costs and open new areas for mining and oil companies. But criminal gangs could try to fill the void, and landmines hinder development.”

Associated Press: U.S. open to reviewing FARC on terror list

“U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says Washington is prepared to review whether the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, should remain on its designated terrorist organization list after a peace accord with the Colombian government is implemented. Kerry says ‘we clearly are ready to review and make judgments as the facts come in.’ He says in Cartagena, Colombia, that the U.S. will be watching whether FARC rebels reintegrate into society, disarm and embrace the terms of reconciliation before making a decision. Kerry adds that ‘we don’t want to leave people on the list if they don’t belong.’ The U.S. put the FARC on its terror list in 1997.”

New York Times: After five decades of war, Colombia signs peace agreement with rebels

“The agreement has faced stiff criticism, most notably from Mr. Santos’ predecessor as president, Álvaro Uribe. Mr. Uribe is widely credited with the crackdown that brought the FARC to the negotiating table. He has since become the leader of the movement to sink the deal through the referendum, saying that the government had gone too easy on the guerrillas and calling Mr. Santos a traitor.”

The Guardian: The horrible night has ceased’: Colombia peace deal resounds in Farc’s heartland

“Under the accord, FARC has vowed to sever all ties with the drug trade, hand over all its weapons and convert into a political party. A special tribunal will try war-related crimes but those who confess to crimes against humanity will serve alternative sentences that do not involve jail time. On Sunday, Colombian voters will be asked whether they approve Monday’s deal, reached after four years of negotiations in Havana. While polls show a majority of voters will vote yes, some of its provisions – such as no jail time for those who confess to crimes such as kidnapping, killings and child recruitment – are hard for many Colombians to accept.”

USA Today: Colombia, rebels formally end five-decade-long armed conflict

“U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon shouted ‘Viva Colombia’ at the end of his speech welcoming the peace deal. The ceremony included a minute of silence for the war’s victims as 50 white flags were raised. Everyone at the event wore white as a symbol of peace. After the signing, Santos led the crowd in chants of ‘No more war! No more war! No more war!’ He also urged Colombians to vote to accept the accord in Sunday’s national referendum that will determine whether it takes effect.”

NPR: As of today, the Western Hemisphere has no wars

“The deal brings peace to a country that has endured more than a half-century of civil war. Yet widely overlooked is the far more sweeping notion that it brings down the curtain on six decades of nonstop conflicts in Latin America. To take an even broader view, there’s no longer a single war in the Western Hemisphere, a collection of more than 30 countries stretching from the Canadian Arctic to Tierra del Fuego at the bottom of South America.”

Major Figures Expected in Cartagena

  • Juan Manuel Santos, president of Colombia
  • Timochenko, alias for Rodrigo Londoño, leader of the FARC
  • Michel Temer, president of Brazil
  • Enrique Peña Nieto, president of Mexico
  • Mauricio Macri, president of Argentina
  • Michelle Bachelet, president of Chile
  • Nicolas Maduro, president of Venezuela
  • Raúl Castro, head of state of Cuba
  • Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, president of Peru
  • Rafael Correa, president of Ecuador
  • Evo Morales, president of Bolivia
  • Horacio Cartes, president of Paraguay
  • Jimmy Morales, president of Guatemala
  • Luis Guillermo Solís, president of Costa Rica
  • Salvador Sánchez, president of El Salvador
  • John Kerry, secretary of state of the United States
  • Ban Ki-moon, secretary general of the United Nations
  • Juan Carlos I de Borbon, king of Spain
  • José Manuel García-Margallo, foreign minister of Spain
  • Margot Wallstrom, chancellor of Sweden
  • Amber Rudd, home secretary of the United Kingdom
  • Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, minister of foreign affairs of Cuba
  • Stéphane Dion, minister of foreign affairs of Canada
  • Mario Gira, vice chancellor of Italy
  • Bert Koenders, foreign minister of the Netherlands
  • José Serra, external affairs minister of Brazil
  • Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund
  • Yim Yomg Kim, president of the World Bank
  • Luis Enrique García, president of CAF – Development Bank of Latin America
  • Kofi Annan, former secretary general of the United Nations

The City Paper: Full Coverage

  • The City Paper: Victims of Colombia’s conflict arrive in Cartagena for ceremony
  • The City Paper: Former AUC commanders ask Colombians to support peace process
  • The City Paper: Colombia hours from historic peace signing with FARC
  • The City Paper: World leaders arrive in Cartagena ahead of Monday’s historic peace signing
  • The City Paper: FARC’s final conference a vestige of conflict and look forward to peace
  • The City Paper: Grand peace concert in Bogotá’s historic Plaza de Bolívar
  • The City Paper: Is Colombia’s peace vote a “bark and no bite” endgame?
  • The City Paper: Kerry pledges additional financial support for Colombia’s demining
  • The City Paper: FARC commanders prepare for first post-conflict congress
  • The City Paper: Colombia’s Santos: “This is the peace of everyone” as ceasefire with FARC sealed
  • The City Paper: Minors to leave FARC ranks as part of Colombia peace process
  • The City Paper: It’s Over! Colombia’s bloody war with FARC officially ends in Havana


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