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Colombian Government and FARC Reach New, Revised Peace Agreement

By: Karina Martín - Nov 14, 2016, 7:23 am
New Farc agreement
President Santos announced a new FARC agreement, which he said is the best possible agreement they could have drafted. (ociolatino)

EspañolThe Revolutionary Armed Forced of Colombia and the country’s government announced the signing of a new peace deal this Saturday, November 12.

President Juan Manuel Santos and Leader of FARC Rodrigo Londoño signed the new document that intends to put an end to fighting that has lasted more than 50 years.

The text has not yet been made public, so it is still unclear whether the agreement will be ratified through a referendum like the previous version, which was voted down this last October. Both signing parties assured media that the decision incorporated the complaints and suggestions that arose after the previous agreement’s failure.

“We have worked judiciously and hope that that work satisfies those who voted No, and the nation,” President of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos said during a televised discussion Saturday night.

“After having attended to the clamor caused by Colombians who want peace and reconciliation, we have reached a new final agreement,” a statement said after the signing.

President Santos said the new, renovated and adjusted document should unite the country, not divide it.

 

“I said the agreement of September 26 was the best possible agreement,” he said. “But today, with humility, I recognize that this agreement is better when it comes to resolving a lot of criticisms.”

FARC will reportedly give up all of its assets — one of the bigger requests made by supporters of the No vote — but the agreement does not provide for jail time for members that committed human rights violations, which was also a major point of contention.

Chief Negotiator for FARC Iván Márquez said the guerilla group gave up more than it had originally established it was willing to. More than 65 percent of No supporters’ requests were implemented related to Special Jurisdiction for Peace and around 90 percent of initiatives linked to the topic of gender equality were also addressed, as was notably desired by religious groups.

Negotiators also said they made more than 100 variations to political participation, comprehensive rural reform, solutions to problems of illicit drugs and the implementation and verification of the end of the conflict.

President Santos said there were precisions and changes to 56 of 57 topics in the new agreement.

However, he said one of the points where they didn’t budge was the political eligibility of FARC members, as “FARC has a political origin and its intentions for the future are to be able to be involved in politics without raising up arms.”

Additionally, Santos said the difference between the new and old agreement is that this one does not allocate seats to members of FARC, but does allow them to participate in the electoral process.

Watch President Santos’ full address here:

Sources: El País; BBC.

Karina Martín Karina Martín

Karina Martín is a Venezuelan reporter with the PanAm Post based in Valencia. She holds a bachelor's degree in Modern Languages from the Arturo Michelena University.

Trump’s Biggest Challenge: Bringing Together the Nation He Helped Divide

By: María Teresa Romero - @mt_romero - Nov 13, 2016, 8:34 pm
Trump's biggest challenge

EspañolNow that the US election dust is settling, there are innumerable analysis of the fate of the still — though in decline — world power, and the reasons for Donald Trump's stunning upset. It was so atypical an election that the US made headlines across the world and kept political leaders, citizens, and stock exchanges of every continent on tenterhooks. At this point, however, what should be calling our attention is what this presidential election, which some describe as "historical," have revealed about US society. Read More: Trump's Victory Should Have Been Obvious to Anyone Paying Attention Read More: Why President Trump Will Not Revive the US Economy During a rally in Arizona late last week, Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine stated: "This election is not just about where we are going, but about who we really are." On November 9, US citizens did not only wake up to a new president, but also to a polarized society, fragmented by the overwhelming and aggressive way the Republican candidate oriented and developed his campaign. Trump has managed to bring out the worst fears and beliefs harbored by the American people. It is clear now that US society, so dissimilar and varied, has become a conglomerate where two conceptions of life and aspirations face off. Trump discovered how to use this sociological fact to his advantage. He swept the Republican primaries even when his own party wrote off the campaign as just another stunt of the real estate mogul turned into a successful TV host. We can now assert with confidence: the United States is a country divided in half. After this presidential campaign, the US is a different nation: you have one half that sees the other with suspicion, with some wounds that people believed had been healed, open again. On the one hand, we have the educated, cosmopolitan, urban, inclusive nation. An open society, tolerant of current national and international trends, such as gun control, abortion; sexual, racial and gender diversity, immigration, multiculturalism and multilateralism; and prone to alliances, cooperation, and integration. On the other hand, you have a society that represents the rural, less educated, poor, racist, Christian Americans, who are opposed to the current challenges posed by modernization and globalization. The people that felt represented by Trump is not "politically correct" and care little for the rest of the world. They often do not hold university degrees and reject the "ruling elite," which Hillary Clinton incarnates perfectly. In addition, this election revealed — and not only thanks to Trump, but also Democrat Bernie Sanders — the popular mistrust towards the country's institutions. Not surprisingly, studies show that seven out of 10 citizens are suspicious of the current government and the status quo, particularly towards security agencies like the FBI. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1459522593195-0'); });   That is what made possible Trump's serious accusation of possible electoral fraud and rejection of the election results — if Clinton had won. This is the complex reality that Donald Trump will face starting January 20, 2017, when he will be sworn in as the new president of the United States. His ability to face it — now that his populist campaign is over — is what should concern us. How will Trump, for example, maintain governance, order, and democratic peace without falling into the authoritarianism and sectarianism, having both chambers of Congress and probably the Supreme Court on his side? How will Trump handle social, economic, health, security and defense issues, as well as foreign policy, after having promised so many things that are very difficult if not impossible to fulfill, and ruling against so powerful internal and external forces and interests? It remains to be seen whether Trump is going to make the United States great again or whether he will end up accelerating its decline.

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