Colombian delegation urges people to vote for peace deal with FARC

Latin America

Colombia FARC Peace Accord People celebrate the announcement from Havana, Cuba, that delegates of Colombia’s government and leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia reached a peace accord to end their half-century civil war, in Bogota, Colombia, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)

The Colombian government delegation in peace talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) urged Colombians to participate in the national referendum on a peace deal.

Chief government negotiator Humberto de la Calle said people have to decide between continuing a path of violence or the hope for a strong peace.

CCTV America’s Michelle Begue reports.

Colombian delegation urges people to vote for peace deal with FARC

Colombian delegation urges people to vote for peace deal with FARC

The Colombian government delegation in peace talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) urged Colombians to participate in the national referendum on a peace deal. CCTV America's Michelle Begue reports.

MORE FARC COVERAGE ON CCTV AMERICA

Colombia’s president is moving fast to hold a national referendum on a peace deal meant to end a half-century of bloody conflict with leftist rebels, saying he will give congress the text of the deal on Thursday.

President Juan Manuel Santos has said he would hold an Oct. 2 yes-or-no vote on the accord with the FARC.

He planned to make the full text of the accord public Thursday as it is formally delivered to congress, which cannot block the referendum.

Negotiators reached the accord after working around the clock for several days to hammer out the final sensitive details.

Among last-minute concessions were guarantees that the FARC’s still-unnamed political movement will have a minimum of 10 seats in congress for two legislative periods. After 2026, the former rebels will have to prove their political strength at the ballot box.

The accord commits Colombia’s government to carrying out aggressive land reform, overhauling its anti-narcotics strategy and greatly expanding the state’s presence in long-neglected areas.

The FARC were forced to the negotiating table in 2012 after a decade of heavy battlefield losses inflicted by the U.S.-backed military. Several top rebel commanders were killed and its ranks thinned by half to the current 7,000 guerrillas.

Opponents of Santos and some human rights groups harshly criticized a key part of that deal which would let rebels who confess their crimes avoid jail and instead serve reduced sentences of no more than eight years by helping rebuild communities hit by the conflict.