After more than four years of negotiations, the referendum to ratify the final peace agreement that would end the armed conflict between the Colombian government and the FARC guerrillas was held on October 2, 2016. It failed with 50.2 percent of Colombians voting against the peace agreement and 49.8 percent voting in favor. More than 62 percent of Colombians did not vote at all.
I am sure you can imagine how shocked I, and so many Colombians are by these results. The country has been waiting so long for this moment that the results are difficult to digest. However, now more than ever, we need to understand the importance of this mechanism as a democratic tool and reflect on what might have happened if the tables had been turned, and the yes vote had won by such a small margin. Building peace through an agreement that a large part of the population does not believe in is certainly not the right path.
The process of reconciliation is not only with the FARC but also between different political views. The result of the referendum presents an important opportunity for dialogue and to improve the agreement, to make it into something in which all Colombians feel included. In the week following the referendum, Colombia’s President, the leader of the opposition, and the leader of the FARC all expressed their willingness for dialogue.
As an organization that works to empower children and young people as leaders in building a culture of peace in Colombia, Fundación Mi Sangre‘s work takes on an even deeper significance in light of this new reality. Four years of negotiations have led to very important achievements for Colombia, in terms of addressing the root causes of our conflict, as well as instigating deep personal and social transformations. We cannot let this die! Our commitment to supporting youth in becoming a unified collective force, working through democratic processes to achieve this dream of reconciliation, is stronger than ever.
Banner photo: Government of Chile