“I feel deeply disappointed and sadden by these results; however, it has just given me more reasons to keep on working for a more inclusive, just and peaceful Colombia.”

On Monday 3 October, Colombians rejected a peace deal to end over 50 years of war with the country’s FARC guerrillas. The negotiations lasted for over  four years, but the referendum result – in which only 38% of the population voted – means the peace deal cannot be put into action.

The agreement would have disarmed the FARC guerrillas and make them a legal political party. Despite the result, President Juan Manuel Santos, who won the Nobel Peace Prize 2016, said he will revive the peace plan and that the ceasefire between the FARC guerrillas and the government will continue.

Colombia is now a divided a country. Most ‘No’ supporters want the government to renegotiate the agreement, saying that the FARC guerrillas should not become a political party. On the other hand, the ‘Yes’ supporters feel like their country missed a once in a lifetime opportunity to achieve peace.

The IPF reached out to young Colombians to find out more about their views on the referendum and what it means to them.

FARC guerrillas

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos was awarded the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize for his “efforts to bring the country’s more than 50-year-long civil war to an end.” [Image credit: Ministerio TIC Colombia/Flickr]


Angela Guarin, 27

For me, the peace agreements were an opportunity to make change happen in my country. Through the agreements, Colombia had the possibility to become a more just and modern country, and try to build a new era of growth and development.
After the referendum results, I’m feeling disappointed because I’ve realised the real problem in Colombia isn’t the war, but the lack of leadership, and the ignorance and irresponsibility of a large portion of the population.
But I also know one of the main traits of Colombians: Perseverance. We won’t stop until we get peace.

José Daza, 32

Back in Colombia, in the midst of this determining situation for my country’s future, I found many Colombians in a rather disapproving position towards the peace agreement and implementation process.

I hoped we gave peace a chance, a new approach to end the bloodshed and improve the security in the regions most ravaged by war. Yet, we voted against it.

The result of a campaign fuelled with misinformation, hatred, fear and mistrust. I feel deeply disappointed and sadden by these results; however, it has just given me more reasons to keep on working for a more inclusive, just and peaceful Colombia.

Angela Gómez, 27

The referendum that took place this week in Colombia makes me have a strong questioning of democracy as a paradigm for solving social problems.

Beyond opponents of the initiative, the most surprising to me was the electoral abstention: about 62% of the eligible population to participate did not intend to vote, perhaps in one of the most important decisions for the country over the past 60 years.

What are the expectations for our future generations, if we are not even interested in taking part in such key junctures like this?

Despite all of this, I still believe in negotiated alternatives to end the war. It is a commitment we have with our victims.

NB: The IPF’s Comment section is a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily endorsed by the IPF.