Colombia’s president tried Monday to keep alive an agreement to end Latin America’s longest-running war after a shocking rejection by voters, but his opponents made clear their price for joining the effort will be steep. President Juan Manuel Santos invited Colombia’s political parties to an emergency meeting Monday and asked them to form a big-tent coalition to rework the deal and make it more appealing to the voters who spurned it in Sunday’s referendum by a narrow margin. Santos told Colombians that a month-old bilateral cease-fire with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) would remain in effect. He ordered his negotiating team to return to Cuba, where the peace talks were held, to resume contacts with FARC leaders.
But despite Santos’s rescue attempts, the peace process was thrown into the lurch. Former president and senator Álvaro Uribe, who led the campaign against the accord, did not even attend the emergency meeting, nor did the leaders of his party.
The path forward was further muddled by a statement Monday from FARC commander Rodrigo Londoño — known as Timochenko — claiming that the peace accord is legally binding because it was signed by Santos. But that was not the Santos government’s interpretation when it insisted on a voter referendum.