Colombia’s Revolutionary Alternative Forces of the Commons (FARC) is considering resuming its presidential elections campaign which was suspended on February 9 due to security concerns. Following a meeting with authorities on Saturday, the former guerrilla group turned political entity announced it’s analyzing the feasibility of returning to the campaign trail after the government of Juan Manuel Santos offered ‘guarantees.’ Late Friday, leaders of the FARC met with Interior Minister Guillermo Rivera to communicate the main concerns they have as a political organization. FARC leader and presidential candidate Rodrigo ‘Timochenko’ Londoño told media he had outlined his party’s concerns about right-wing groups promoting intolerance and threatening violence in a bid to jeopardize the peace process.
Articles about voting issues in the Republic of Colombia.
When Colombia struck a peace deal two years ago, the formula to end the western hemisphere’s longest civil conflict seemed simple: in return for handing in their weapons, leaders of the Marxist Farc guerrilla group would be able to run for office in elections this year. But nothing has proved simple when it comes to resolving a conflict that has claimed 200,000 lives, displaced millions and still inflames raw emotions. Although the fighting has not re-started, both the peace formula and Colombia’s democratic credentials are being severely tested ahead of presidential elections in May, thanks to a particularly poisonous campaign.
The demobilised Colombian rebel group Farc says it is suspending political campaigning for upcoming elections following threats to its candidates. Farc signed a peace deal with the government in 2016 and announced last year it was forming a political party. However, protesters have disrupted its rallies, particularly those for leader Rodrigo Londoño, known as Timochenko, who is running for president. On Friday the party demanded “security guarantees” for its candidates.
Former guerrilla leader Rodrigo Londono was once one of Colombia’s most-wanted men. Now he is a presidential contender. The graying, spectacled man best known by his alias Timochenko launched his bid Saturday to lead the government he once battled from the jungle with a celebratory campaign kickoff featuring giant posters, colorful confetti and even a catchy jingle. “I promise to lead a government that propels the birth of a new Colombia,” he said. “A government that at last represents the interests of the poor.”
Colombia: Russia using disinformation tactics to disrupt Colombia elections: Former US official | Colombia Reports
Russia is using social media to interfere in Colombia’s pending elections, according to the director of the Kimberly Green Latin and Caribbean Center at Florida International University. In an interview with newspaper El Tiempo, Frank Mora of the FIU said that “what we have seen so far is that they are using social media to generate mistrust and confusion among the electorate.” Disinformation played a major role in a 2016 vote in which the country rejected a peace agreement with the FARC. A recent social media campaign seemingly promoted by far right activists that claimed that an online population census was meant to benefit the FARC, the Marxist group that laid down its weapons last year.
Colombia: How governments pitch a referendum is a big deal. Here’s what we learned in Colombia. | The Washington Post
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos is receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo today, in recognition of his four-year effort to guide peace negotiations with Colombia’s largest rebel group, the FARC. The October announcement about the prize came just days after Colombians rejected a referendum on the historic peace agreement to end the armed conflict that has plagued the country for half a century. In late November, the two sides pushed through a revised peace deal addressing some of the concerns of those who voted against the referendum. Santos avoided another referendum by getting the senate and the lower house to approve the new pact. The outcomes of referendums — whether in Colombia, or the June Brexit vote or December’s Italian referendum — make it clear that getting people to vote for government initiatives is harder than one would expect.
Colombians narrowly rejected a peace deal with Marxist guerrillas in a referendum on Sunday, plunging the nation into uncertainty and dashing President Juan Manuel Santos’ painstakingly negotiated plan to end the 52-year war. The surprise victory for the “no” camp poured cold water on international joy, from the White House to the Vatican, at what had seemed to be the end of the longest-running conflict in the Americas. The “no” camp won by 50.21 percent to 49.78 percent. Voter turnout was only 37 percent, perhaps partly owing to torrential rain through the country. Both sides in the war immediately sought to reassure the world they would try to revive their peace plan. Santos, 65, said a ceasefire already negotiated would remain in place. He vowed to sit down on Monday with the victorious “no” camp to discuss the way forward, and send his chief negotiator back to Cuba to meet with FARC rebel leaders. “I will not give up, I will keep seeking peace until the last day of my term because that is the way to leave a better nation for our children,” said Santos, who cannot seek re-election when his second term ends in August 2018.
Colombia: After voters’ rejection president scrambles to save peace accord with FARC rebels | The Washington Post
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.
Colombia: With Colombians set to vote on peace deal, a former president campaigns to kill it | Los Angeles Times
When they go to the polls Sunday, Colombian voters are expected to endorse the landmark peace agreement signed this week by the government and the country’s most important rebel group. If that happens, it will be despite the formidable efforts of former President Alvaro Uribe. He has waged an aggressive campaign to kill the deal, rallying opponents ranging from victims rights groups to wealthy ranchers. Their main complaint is that the deal’s “transitional justice” treats the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia — the guerrilla group known as FARC — too leniently for horrific crimes committed over decades of war. Those who confess to murders, kidnappings, terror attacks and other atrocities would face maximum sentences of eight years of “restricted liberty,” a form of house arrest, in the 23 “relocation zones,” the rural reserves where rebels will move once they give up their weapons.
Political developments are heating up in Colombia as the country prepares for another election, with at least seven candidates killed and 30 municipalities uncovering cases of voter fraud. Seven politicians have been killed since February this year, with the most recent murder victim Giraldo Ojeda, a conservative leader and mayor of San Jose de Alban who was killed Sept. 30. According to Colombian daily El Tiempo, 157 other candidates have also reportedly received threats, just days ahead of the Oct. 25 legislative elections. Most of the threats have been made in the states of Valle del Cauca, Narino and Antioquia, considered some of the most dangerous regions of the country.