Colombia sets referendum on historic FARC peace accord

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Colombia sets referendum on historic FARC peace accord 2

If all goes according to schedule, Latin America’s longest war will officially end on Sept. 26. That’s when Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos is expected to sign a peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. But before the country’s lawmakers ratify the treaty, Colombian citizens will have a chance to vote on the controversial deal.

CCTV America’s Michelle Begue reports.

Colombia sets referendum on historic FARC peace accord

Colombia sets referendum on historic FARC peace accord

If all goes according to schedule, Latin America’s longest war will officially end on Sept. 26. That’s when Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos is expected to sign a peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. But before the country’s lawmakers ratify the treaty, Colombian citizens will have a chance to vote on the controversial deal. CCTV America’s Michelle Begue reports.

On Oct. 2, Colombians will be asked to answer a Yes or No question: “Do you support the final accord to end the conflict and construct a stable and lasting peace?”

“It is clear and simple,” said Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos. Not everyone agrees.

“The part ‘to construct stable and lasting peace’ is biased, because it is insinuating that by voting ‘yes’ you are going to live in a supposed stable and lasting peace. That is not ensuring transparency in an election,” Center Democratic Party Congresswoman Maria Fernanda said.

A former leader of the conservative Center Democratic Party, Alvaro Uribe Velez, calls the question is deceitful.

In the month leading up to the vote, these politicians are preparing their campaign to encourage Colombians to vote “NO”.

Their opposition stems primarily on lenient sentences for rebels who confess to crimes.

“We are trying to educate citizens on the peace agreement through small and large avenues, so that they can learn about the unacceptable points agreed on. A civilized society cannot reward barbarism,” Fernanda said.
Constitutional lawyer Juan Carlos Henao argues the phrasing of the question is neutral. He said the opposition was going to object the question, however it was phrased.

“I would ask where the deception is. Does anyone really believe that people don’t know what they are voting for? All of Colombia has been aware of this vote for four years. There is no deceit.” Constitutional Lawyer Juan Carlos Henao said.

At the start of the peace negotiations, President Juan Manuel Santos promised that any agreement would have to be approved by the Colombian people. But not necessarily by a big majority. For the accord to be ratified, the Colombian government says only 13 percent of registered voters just answer “Yes”.