The Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos today will not transform his “peace” deal with the FARC [Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia] into a good agreement. In fact, the agreement would be devastating for the country, which is why Colombia rejected it in a plebiscite on October 2, 2016, and will continue to do so. The deal, if implemented, would destroy the country’s democratic institutions and prolong the suffering of the Colombian people; it would not contribute to building peace or national harmony. Colombia will defend itself until it definitively defeats the criminal ambitions of the FARC. And a Nobel Peace prize for Santos will not magically change that fact.
From that point of view, the Nobel prize awarded to Santos is both useless and grotesque. Most appallingly, the prize was presented by the Committee “in honor of the Colombian public who, despite all the abuses it has suffered, has not lost hope in building a just peace.” Who is the Committee mocking? Because the Colombians that the Committee claims to honor with Santos’ prize are the very Colombians who voted against Santos and the FARC on October 2 – the very Colombians who seek a just peace and not a false peace, one based on the most scandalous impunity for the leaders of an organization that has committed all types of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
To say that Colombia has suffered “abuses” is evidence that those awarding the prize either want to minimize he crimes of these narco-communists or they are completely ignorant as to what the FARC’s has done to Colombians.
Will the Nobel Peace Prize lead Santos to adopt a reasonable position? Throughout these six years of secret conversations in Cuba, Santos never demanded that the FARC negotiate its surrender without destabilizing Colombia’s democratic institutions and its free-market economy. And that is precisely what this now-defunct, 297-page agreement, conceived between the FARC ad Santos, under the tutelage and watchful eye of two Latin American dictatorships, would achieve. That is why the deal was voted down in the plebiscite.
The Nobel Peace Prize Committee missed the mark again, arguing that they wanted to help Colombia achieve peace. In reality, what they did was to humiliate those who voted against the deal in the Plebiscite and, most of all, the victims of the FARC and a nation that has suffered FARC atrocities for 60 years. Will the Nobel Prize help Santos and the FARC try to resuscitate the 297-page agreement and disavow the vote of millions of Colombians?
We are not the only ones who fear this. Public opinion in Spain and in prestigious Spanish news outlets, who are more familiar with Colombia’s situation than Norway, have not hesitated to condemn the decision of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee. A poll run by the Madrid daily ABC reveals that 83 per cent of those polled were against Santos having received the prize. El Español, another Madrid daily, stressed “the definitive discrediting of the Nobel Peace Prize.” Yet another daily, OK Diario concluded, “the Norwegians punish the will of the Colombian people by giving Santos the Nobel Prize.” And web-based Libertad Digital stated, “Juan Manuel Santos is the Nobel Peace Prize winner for surrendering to narco-terrorism.”
The Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Rabin, Perez, and Arafat in 1994, for “substituting hate for cooperation” did not lead to peace in Palestine, nor did it impede the onslaught of the second intifada in 2000. Will the same happen in Colombia? The Nobel Peace Prize is not , after all, interested in society’s problems. It is a prize that exists in order to impose a particular viewpoint regarding international conflicts, and to benefit Norway’s and Sweden’s international relations.
In Colombia, the awarding of the prize to Santos raises many concerns. Will it help the Colombian President energetically confront the reticence of the FARC leaders, who refuse to revisit any of the points in the deal signed in Havana? Or will it instead help him advance his peace program, ignoring the will of the majority of the voters who rejected the deal in the October 2 plebiscite?
Former President Alvaro Uribe, who leads a movement for a just peace within the democratic system, congratulated Santos for his prize, but expressed a wish
that it ‘’lead to changing an agreement that is harmful to democracy.” And that is the point, to change the harmful Havana agreements.
The fact that the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Santos didn’t change the situation, nor did it create a new one. The political stage was already set and has only two angles: On one side, there are the results of the October 2 plebiscite, which rejected the deal with the FARC. Thus, the Havana deal was not ratified – it died. The electorate’s vote on October 2, was legally binding. It was a mandate for the President that he cannot mock.
On the other side is the FARC’s position. Upon learning the result of the plebiscite, [FARC leader] Timochenko said the “peace deal” was untouchable and that they demanded its implementation. Thus, the communist leader disavowed the vote of the Colombian people. And then there is the fact that President Santos has yet to reject Timochenko’s arbitrary position. He didn’t contradict Timochenko either before or after his meeting with former President Uribe and former Instpector General Alejandro Ordonez. And he did not do so after being informed of his Nobel prize.
This tension, which is being aggravated by those attempting to organize “pro-peace now” street rallies in order to discard the plebiscite into a historical limbo, will have to be resolved one way or another by the Colombian President, with or without a Nobel prize. Will he disavow the will of the people, legitimately and legally expressed in the plebiscite? The news that Santos is pursuing, through members of the Constitutional Court, a do-over of the plebiscite is a bad sign. He should be careful not to spark the ire of those citizens who want peace, but who reject the type of peace condensed in that 297-page disaster. Now more than ever, thanks to the awarding of the Nobel prize, national and international public opinion will be more aware of any move – in one direction or the other – by President Juan Manuel Santos.