Peace Deal Defeated

The stunning defeat of a referendum on Oct. 2 for a peace deal with leftist rebels leaves Colombians with no Plan B to save an accord that sought to bring an end to a half century of hostilities. Instead of winning by an almost two-to-one margin on Sunday, as polls had predicted, those favoring the accord with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia lost by a razor-thin margin, 49.8 percent to 50.2 percent. Both President Juan Manuel Santos and leaders of the FARC, after four years of grueling negotiations, vowed to push ahead, giving no hint they want to resume a war that has already killed 220,000 people and displaced eight million. “I won’t give up. I’ll continue to search for peace until the last moment of my mandate,” Santos said in a televised address appealing for calm. But it is not clear how the already unpopular Santos can save the deal. “The FARC deeply regret that the destructive power of those who sow hatred and revenge have influenced the Colombian people’s opinion,” the FARC’s top commander, a guerrilla known as Timochenko, told reporters.

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