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Photo: Jesús Abad Colardo / archive SEMANA

CRLN, along with many in the international community and our partners in Colombia, is surprised and saddened by this weekend’s NO vote on Colombia’s proposed Peace Accords. The final count came down to 50.21 percent ‘NO’ and 49.78 ‘YES’, a difference of 53,894 votes. The turnout was 37 percent, out of 34 million eligible voters.


The motivations of NO voters are myriad and complicated, some not knowing what was actually in the accords, some feeling excluded from the peace process, some seeing the Colombian state giving too many concessions to FARC guerillas, especially voters in FARC strongholds. Meanwhile, in areas where the worst massacres of the war were committed, like Bojayá, 96% of the voters cast their ballots for ‘YES’. Likewise, in regions with the most intensive ongoing conflict, the majority of people voted in favor of the Peace Accords.


The other political split that affected the vote was between President Juan Manuel Santos and former President, now Senator Alvaro Uribe. Uribe was one of the main campaigners against the Peace Accords, some suspecting that his opposition is linked to his history of connections with paramilitary groups and extrajudicial killings by Colombian state security forces during his time in the presidency. (Unlike what you read in most U.S. newspapers, the FARC was not responsible for all of the violence against civilians during the war. Paramilitary groups have been active forces of violence and displacement throughout the war and continue to displace people from their territories, often in the interest of mining and other extractive industries.) Meanwhile, President Santos, who did not campaign as effectively in favor of his Peace Deal, also has one of the lowest approval ratings of any president in Colombia’s modern history.

While we continue to sift through the various reports, we offer a news round up of some of the stories published since Sunday in English and Spanish. We believe that there is still a path toward peace and we will continue working with our partners to achieve that goal. We will also continue working with organized African descendant and Indigenous peoples, who have been disproportionately affected by the violence and displacement and who worked so hard to win the inclusion of the Ethnic Chapter last month.
English, WBEZ: Worldview’s Jerome McDonnel’s Interview with Gimena Sanchez of the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) / Entrevista de Jerome McDonnell de Worldview con Gimena Sanchez de la Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)

Spanish, BBC: Bojayá, la población donde las FARC cometieron una de sus peores masacres y que votó abrumadoramente por el Sí / Bojayá, the population where the FARC committed one of the worst massacers y and which voted overwhelmingly for Yes

English, NACLA: A Dark Day in Colombia / Un Día Oscuro en Colombia

Video, English / Spanish, MSN: Colombia’s FARC victims campaign for ‘Yes’ vote in peace deal / Víctimas de la FARC en Colombia hacen campaña por ‘Si’ a los Acuerdos en el plebiscito

Spanish, Semana: Las víctimas votaron por el Sí / The victims voted ‘Yes’

English, Latin American Herald Tribune: Colombia’s Santos Gives Peace Negotiator a Vote of Confidence / Santos en Colombia le da al Negociador de Paz un Voto de Confianza

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(The New York Times did not print this letter from the Coalition Against Impunity, a group of Honduran civil society human rights organizations)

Re: How the Most Dangerous Place on Earth Got Safer

As the Coalition Against Impunity, a group of Honduran civil society human rights organizations, we strongly disagree that the impact of US aid is positive. Our experience on the ground shows thatviolence is rampant — and seriously underreported—and we still face high levels of impunity. For this reason, we recently sent a letter to the US Congress demanding suspension of aid to the Honduran State under the Alliance for Prosperity, due to the lack of political will to protect human rights.

Nazario’s opinion piece calls for more U.S. aid precisely when a group of 31 legislators led by Rep. Hank Johnson has presented the much-needed “Berta Caceres Human Rights in Honduras Act” to suspend all security aid to Honduras following Caceres’ assassination last March. Among those detained are two army officers, one on active duty.

To cite supposed progress in one neighborhood and deduce that US aid benefits our whole country is either careless or tendentious. The human rights crisis in Honduras will only improve when the US ceases to support a government that commits crimes against its own people with impunity and, rather than being sanctioned, is rewarded with millions of US taxpayer dollars.

The Coalition Against Impunity:

Asociación de Jóvenes en Movimiento (AJEM); Asociación de Jueces por la Democracia (AJD); Asociación de Mujeres Intibucanas Renovadas (AMIR); Asociación Feminista Trans (AFeT); Asociación FIAN Honduras; Asociación Hermanas Misioneras de San Carlos Borromeo Scalabrinianas; Asociación Intermunicipal de Desarrollo y Vigilancia Social de Honduras (AIDEVISH); Asociación LGTB Arcoiris de Honduras; Asociación Nacional de Personas viviendo con SIDA (ASONAPVSIDA); Asociación para una Ciudadanía Participativa (ACI-PARTICIPA); CARITAS – Diócesis de San Pedro Sula; Centro de Derechos de Mujeres (CDM); Centro de Desarrollo Humano (CDH); Centro de Educación y Prevención en Salud, Sexualidad y Sida (CEPRES); Centro de Estudios de la Mujer Honduras (CEM-H); Centro de Estudios para la Democracia (CESPAD); Centro de Investigación y Promoción de Derechos Humanos (CIPRODEH); Centro para la Prevención, Tratamiento y Rehabilitación de Víctimas de la Tortura y sus Familiares (CPTRT); Colectivo Diamantes Limeños LGTB; Colectivo Gemas; Colectivo Unidad Color Rosa; Comité de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos de Honduras (COFADEH); Comité de Familiares de Migrantes Desaparecidos de El Progreso (COFAMIPRO); Comité por la Libre Expresión C-Libre; Convergencia por los Derechos Humanos de la Zona Nor Occidental; Crisálidas de Villanueva; Coordinación de Instituciones Privadas por las niñas, niños, adolescentes, jóvenes y sus derechos (COIPRODEN); Equipo de Monitoreo Independiente de Honduras (EMIH); Equipo de Reflexión, Investigación y Comunicación (ERIC-SJ); Feministas Universitarias; Familia Fransciscana de Honduras (JPIC); Frente Amplio del COPEMH; Foro de Mujeres por la Vida; Foro Nacional para las Migraciones (FONAMIH); Foro Social de la Deuda Externa y Desarrollo de Honduras (FOSDEH); Indignados Unidos por Honduras; JASS en Honduras; Movimiento Amplio por la Dignidad y la Justicia (MADJ); Movimiento Diversidad en Resistencia (MDR); Movimiento de Mujeres por la Paz “Visitación Padilla”; Observatorio Permanente de Derechos Humanos de El Aguán; Organismo Cristiano de Desarrollo Integral (OCDIH); Pastoral de Movilidad Humana de Honduras; Red de Mujeres Jóvenes de Cortés; Red de Mujeres Unidas de Colonia “Ramón Amaya Amador”; Red de Participación de Organizaciones de Sociedad Civil Siguatepeque (RPOSC); Red Nacional de Defensoras de Derechos Humanos en Honduras; Tribuna de Mujeres contra los Femicidios; Unión de Empresas y Organizaciones de Trabajadores del Campo (UTC – La Paz).

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