In Shocking Referendum Vote, Colombia Rejects Deal To End Rebel War: Future Uncertain

Tyler Durden's picture

In one of the biggest surprises over the weekend, Colombians went to the polls on Sunday to participate in a Yes/No referendum on a recently signed historic peace deal with the FARC leftist guerrilla movement to end more than 50 years of armed conflict (which started in 1964).

As Goldman writes, the campaign was highly polarized and perhaps as a resul, the final referendum result was very tight and in the opposite direction of early poll indications. Close to final results (with the votes of 99.5% of the precincts tallied) show that the No camp won the referendum with a razor-thin 50.2% of the vote compared to 49.8% for the Yes camp. The rejection of the proposed peace deal was not expected nor discounted by the market as recent polls had indicated a roughly 2-to-1 Yes-No margin.

Putting on a brave face after a major political defeat, President Juan Manuel Santos offered hope to those who backed his four-year peace negotiation with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in Cuba. Latin America's longest conflict has killed 220,000 people. "I will not give up, I will keep seeking peace until the last minute of my term," he said moments after losing Sunday's plebiscite to those who want a re-negotiation of the deal or an obliteration of the FARC on the battlefield.

A woman cries after finding out the results of a referendum

Santos stated before the referendum that a No vote would mean a return to armed conflict. The victory of the No vote, according to GS, shows:

  1. the limited political capital of President Santos, who appears to have spared no effort over the last four years negotiating the proposed peace deal; and simultaneously
  2. the significant political capital of former President Uribe, who openly campaigned against an agreement he considered to be unfair and too soft on the guerrilla movement; and
  3. how deeply unpopular the guerrilla movement is in a country that has been ravaged by five decades or armed conflict.

The victory of the No camp is likely to render Colombia's domestic political picture even more complex and could impact the tax proposal the government was expected to announce soon after the referendum. It is also unclear what will happen to the negotiated peace deal, the envisaged demobilization of roughly 7,000 FARC fighters, the planned conversion of the FARC into a political party, and whether the two parties will try to renegotiate the deal (which may not be the most obvious immediate course of action as both President Santos and FARC have rejected the idea of returning to the negotiating table if the deal was not validated in the referendum).

As such, Goldman said it expects financial markets to react negatively on Monday with the COP and local interest rates likely to sell off. A weaker COP and political uncertainty created by the No camp victory is likely to limit room for the monetary authority to cut rates in the near term.

Meanwhile, according to Reuters, Colombia's government and Marxist FARC guerrillas will scramble on Monday to revive a plan to end their 52-year war after voters rejected the hard-negotiated deal as too lenient on the rebels in a shock result that plunged the nation into uncertainty.

Santos plans to meet all political parties on Monday and send lead government peace negotiator Humberto de la Calle back to Havana to speak to the FARC leadership. Rodrigo Londono, the top FARC commander better known by his nom de guerre Timochenko, also offered reassurance the rebels remain committed to becoming a peaceful political party.


"The FARC reiterates its disposition to use only words as a weapon to build toward the future," Timochenko said after the result. "Count on us, peace will triumph."


Santos, 65, who was not obliged by law to hold a plebiscite, had said there was no Plan B for the failure of the peace vote, but now appears ready to consider options.

In some ways the outcome is similar to the Brexit vote, as Colombians, even those who backed the "No" vote, expressed shock at the outcome and uncertainty about the future. "We never thought this could happen," said sociologist and "No" voter Mabel Castano, 37. "Now I just hope the government, the opposition and the FARC come up with something intelligent that includes us all."

The peace accord reached last month and signed a week ago offered the possibility that rebel fighters would hand in their weapons to the United Nations, confess their crimes and form a political party rooted in their Marxist ideology.

If there is a silver lining in what appears to be a return to the historical hostilies, is that as Paul Krugman would promptly agree, the war-based boost to the country's GDP is set to continue in the coming months because nothing breaks windows better, and more pointlessly, than continued fighting and suffering.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
mvsjcl's picture

FARCed again!

samjam7's picture

While I welcome peace over more guerilla warfare, knowing full well who benefits from war. Peace should not come at the cost of Justice. Justice is the greatest good a state has and it should be enforced. A treaty brokered in Havanna the very capital where the FARC rebels were financed and armed for many decades was never a good decision and providing guaranteed seats in the Colombian senate and congress also goes against basic democratic principles. 

While it may be a fiasco for Santos I can see why a small majority would have voted 'NO' in this referendum. This does not mean that the guerilla war will break out tomorrow, in all likelihood the government will try to salvage what it can of its deal and find a face-saving exit anyhow.

Infocat's picture

Let them duke it out with the Mestizo rebellion, its their own decision.

tmosley's picture

Communists are going to wish they had just surrendered when the swarm of cyanide injecting micro drones descends upon them like a Biblical plague.

The tech isn't that far away.

ipso_facto's picture

Hopefully they'll use something far nastier than cyanide.  We paid a lot for this capability.  (Of course, they'll use it against Tea Partiers first...)

HopefulCynical's picture

Get (them) to the choppers!

Then kick their asses out.

NoDebt's picture

Holy FARC.  What a mess.

InjuredThales's picture

Exactly. This so-called "peace treaty" was a pure giveaway to FARC. Another one of Barack Obama's failures (or successes, depending on what you think BHO is aiming for).

highwaytoserfdom's picture


 Bush Clinton  Mena Ark landing strip funding continues

youngman's picture

It was a bad least the people saw thru the charade....and to think the FARC was just going to turn in their guns and stop selling cocaine is stupid....they will just change the decal on their uniform to a new dont negociate with terrorists and that is what the FARC kill them....and they have enough military down here to do just that...for some reason they dont want to get their hands dirty....

MegaOlmecanManiac's picture

Give them the Darien and let them form their own socialist utopia.

Ah, but there's the problem. What good is the Marxist religion if you can't proselytize, convert, and oppress?

samjam7's picture

Agreed youngman, Santos was too eager to get his Nobel Peace Prize so he pushed hard for a deal making lots of concessions. The rebels had become so weak also due in part to Uribe's offensives aginst them, that a political solution seemed the better outcome for them while the walked free.

Also nobody was seriously thinking they'd just hand over the whole drug business they're running...

CheapBastard's picture

Toughter negotiations are needed.

I propose Santos hand Kartrashian's Booty over to the rebels in turn for their promise of peace.

a Smudge by any other name's picture

Like FARC is the only outfit selling blow in Colombia? Ollie North has some good alternate contacts for ya.

Al Bondiga's picture

Yeah, no shit, the FARC has simply morphed into another mafia in competition with the CIA backed gov and right wing paramilitary death squads trafficking drugs and weapons and engaging in mass murder of anyone opposed to them.
The bourgeoise there are all staunch supporters of Alvaro Uribe (Mr. right wing death squad). They love him because he made it safe for them to be able to visit their fincas. Never mind all the killings of labor leaders, journalists and anyone daring to publicly criticize the status quo.

highwaytoserfdom's picture


expect the same with voting machines here for AllCIADuh

ebworthen's picture

The referendum would have let the leftist gorillas off the hook for any crimes (er...220,000 dead people).

That's not a referendum, it's a "Get out of Jail Free" card.

ipso_facto's picture

Can't we all just get along?  (Nevermind about the mass graves; that's old news)

zippy_uk's picture

"We wanna be like the Muslim's.."

ipso_facto's picture

Twenty twenty twenty four hours to go
I wanna be sedated
Nothing to do, no where to go o,
I wanna be sedated

-- The Ramones

TalkToLind's picture

CNBC thinks there is a country called Columbia.

nmewn's picture

lol...they obviously have it confused with the journo-school where they recieved their Marxist indoctrination programming ;-)

libertysghost's picture



A popular T-Shirt sold at Bogota El Dorado airport reads:




rish's picture

it's a farce, like everything else

NoWayJose's picture

You can never have peace with the Rebels, so you might as well go ahead and build the Death Star!

HenryHall's picture

They voted against ending the war. In favor of restarting the war.

That raises a strong suspicion that the US was somehow involved in manipulating the referendum result.

samjam7's picture

Anything and Everything that happens on this planet is due to US I just need my tin-hat and the world makes perfect sense.

HenryHall's picture

>> Anything and Everything that happens on this planet is due to US I just need my tin-hat and the world makes perfect sense.

More exactly, any and every war that happens on this planet is due to US involvement.

libertysghost's picture

The "war" is already ending.  The FARC is decimated and has virtually no popular support.  The "yes" crowd, as I know some of them, were basing the vote of fairy tale by in of "we just want to do whatever we can for peace...and they say this will bring our sad country peace finally".  "They" say a lot of things...and "they" are professional liars (politicians and media). 

So you have it either way was going to end up with similar outcomes with regard to "peace".  The violence is already reducing drastically in the country and will continue to do so, not because some politician tried to take advantage and jump on the bandwagon at the end and claim his "Nobel Prize" for grandstanding over what was already baked in the cake.  Santos, a typical opportunistic politician, was trying to take credit for the failures of the FARC and the strength of the Colombian people not to give up over (almost) 60s of battling these psychopaths.  Fuck him.

And good work my friends and family in Colombia!!!!!

Al Bondiga's picture

Exactly. Unfortunately, Colombia has become a satrapy of The Empire.

ScotlandTheBrave's picture

Hillaries bosses are pissed.  This "deal" was in the works and would have increased drug trafficing to the Norte Americanos and that would have resulted in more DINERO for their stooge Hillary and their pockets, BUT NO, the slaves voted NO.  The slaves voted NO to making a NWO terrorist group a political party and giving them legitamacy and the rule of the law to work under and eventually take over everything.

shovelhead's picture

Can you blame FARC for wanting to establish a Marxist paradise like their neighbors in Venezuela?

"Pass me some Liberation rat and gravy, please."

tarabel's picture




You swollen capitalist pig. I'm going to turn you into the gravy due to your inability to grasp basic revolutionary concepts.


Yes, you, you stupid peasant, get over here right now.

Crash Overide's picture

Which side does the CIA fund?


libertysghost's picture

Both in that the government and the FARC were all likely together at times running the drugs and kidnapping, and other schemes.  Yep. 

onwisconsinbadger's picture

both sides. good for the perpetual wars.

BitchesBetterRecognize's picture

the "NO" through the ex-president Uribe whose relationship with Bush & Washington is "intimate" to say the least...       


libertysghost's picture

The article is misleading on many levels.  First, as all good politicians pushing their scam plan will do they announced (and ZH dutifully repeated for some odd reason) that "there is no plan B if "no" wins".  

But a few paragraphs later you realize there were a shit load of possible "plan Bs"...and the FARC said they have no plans to restart fighting.  I wonder why?  MAYBE because they are collapsing as an organization, have less than 20,000 members at this point and get no more support from Venezuela or Cuba because of the shit stains they've turned into barely able to sustain themselves (and really can't in Venezuela in particular).  The FARC already gave up the names and coordinates of thousands of their members.  There's kind of "no going back" at this point.

So the narrative that "voting yes is the only way toward peace" was bullshit from the beginning.

So getting to real details in the "plan", you see that a great deal of impunity was being given the leaders of the FARC but the soldiers themseves (many who were brainwashed as children kidnapped into the group) was a little more nebulous with regard to specifics. FARC strongman Timochenko was likely to never serve much jail time at all, and more likely get to either be in congress there (as one of the FARC ten slots that were going to be created and handed to them) or be the puppet of those votes making sure they support Santos's party.  But the grunts might end up in prison (who is likely to turn themselves in in that situation...many would have joined other criminal groups not reducing the violence at all but doing under a different banner allowing the POLS to claim "success") OR they would have got to do community service and given monthly stipends about 5 times what a normal Colombian earns.

And why down play the TAXES that were going to be part of this..."to pay for the peace"?  The POLS were saying "we need to raise everyone's taxes about 30% to pay for this but once it's all done we will lower it us".  Jajjajajjajajja  We know that game folks. Bull shit once again!


And everyone is "shocked"?  I'm shocked it was this close of a vote.  It never guaranteed any kind of reduction of violence, it let the FARC off the hook right before they were going to be defeated resoundingly anyway (you can tell they already gave up).  All the western POLS and MSM in Colombia and abroad were all saying "support yes or support war".  So you know it was a scam.  


My guess is that FARC leaders were blackmailing the corrupt Santos (and other party) POLS saying "hey, give us this or we tell everyone how you are running these drugs with us".  Nothing else explains why the FARC was given this deal to me considering they had virtually NO LEVERAGE in these supposed years of "bargaining".  

wiz's picture

I put the odds of the CIA not being involved in this vote at 0.0001%

libertysghost's picture

They must have couldn't have really been this close IMO. 


It is amazing how fast they can have published results though in what we are to believe is some "developing country". 

Arnold's picture


What result did you pay for again?

Ignatius's picture

Christianity is still fairly strong in South America and perhaps they've noticed  the negative results elsewhere (US, EU, etc.) of what happens after accomodation/capitulation?

I used to confuse a positive sense of community mindedness with communism (and its real aims), but I don't anymore.

Cardinal Fang's picture

Who needs coke when heroin is the new drug of choice?

numapepi's picture

Perhaps NYC mayor DeBlasio will go down there and fight along side his comrades again.

orez65's picture

"... as recent polls had indicated a roughly 2-to-1 Yes-No margin."

As recent polls have indicated a roughly 47% to 44% in favor of Hilarynochio.

libertysghost's picture

Do polls only get "tweaked" to try and push a desired outcome here in the US ZH? ;-)  


I'm a little dissappointed in the article if you haven't guessed.  Jajjaja

Publicus's picture

Kill them all, death to rebel scum.