Colombian peace deal passed by Congress, ending 52-year war

BOGOTA, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Colombia's Congress approved a new peace deal with FARC rebels late on Wednesday, despite objections from former President and now Senator Alvaro Uribe, who said it was still too lenient on the insurgents who have battled the government for 52 years.

The agreement was approved in the lower house by 130-0, a day after the Senate ratified it 75-0. Lawmakers from Uribe's Democratic Center party left the floors of both houses in protest just before voting began.

The ratification - and signing last week - begins a six-month countdown for the 7,000-strong FARC, which started as a rebellion fighting rural poverty, to abandon weapons and form a political party.

President Juan Manuel Santos and rebel leader Rodrigo Londono signed the revised accord last week in a sober ceremony after the first deal was rejected in a national plebiscite.

Santos, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in October for his peace efforts, wants to get the deal implemented as quickly as possible to maintain a fragile ceasefire.

14 PHOTOS
FARC Rebels Attend Conference To Ratify Peace Deal With Colombian Government
See Gallery
FARC Rebels Attend Conference To Ratify Peace Deal With Colombian Government
EL DIAMANTE, COLOMBIA - SEPTEMBER 22: FARC guerrillas Willington (2nd L) and Veronica (noms de guerre) kiss while holding their nephew at the 10th Guerrilla Conference in the remote Yari plains where the peace accord was in the process of being ratified on September 22, 2016 in El Diamante, Colombia. The peace agreement attempts to end the 52-year-old guerrilla war between the FARC and the state, the longest-running armed conflict in the Americas which left 220,000 dead. The final agreement is set to be signed on September 26 and will then be put to vote by the public in a referendum on October 2. The plan calls for a disarmament and re-integration of most of the estimated 7,000 FARC fighters. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
EL DIAMANTE, COLOMBIA - SEPTEMBER 23: FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) rebels Rosa (R) and Esteban sit at the 10th Guerrilla Conference in the remote Yari plains after the peace accord was ratified by the FARC on September 23, 2016 in El Diamante, Colombia. The peace agreement attempts to end the 52-year-old guerrilla war between the FARC and the state, the longest-running armed conflict in the Americas which left 220,000 dead. The final agreement is set to be signed on September 26 and will then be put to vote by the public in a referendum on October 2. The plan calls for a disarmament and re-integration of most of the estimated 7,000 FARC fighters. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
EL DIAMANTE, COLOMBIA - SEPTEMBER 23: FARC rebel Wilson poses at the 10th Guerrilla Conference in the remote Yari plains where the peace accord was in the process of being ratified by the FARC on September 23, 2016 in El Diamante, Colombia. The peace agreement, which was ratified tody by the FARC, attempts to end the 52-year-old guerrilla war between the FARC and the state, the longest-running armed conflict in the Americas which left 220,000 dead. The final agreement is set to be signed on September 26 and will then be put to vote by the public in a referendum on October 2. The plan calls for a disarmament and re-integration of most of the estimated 7,000 FARC fighters. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
EL DIAMANTE, COLOMBIA - SEPTEMBER 21: FARC guerrillas and supporters celebrate at a concert at the 10th Guerrilla Conference in the remote Yari plains where the peace accord was in the process of being ratified by the FARC on September 21, 2016 in El Diamante, Colombia. The peace agreement attempts to end the 52-year-old guerrilla war between the FARC and the state, the longest-running armed conflict in the Americas which left 220,000 dead. The final agreement is set to be signed on September 26 and will then be put to vote by the public in a referendum on October 2. The plan calls for a disarmament and re-integration of most of the estimated 7,000 FARC fighters. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
EL DIAMANTE, COLOMBIA - SEPTEMBER 23: FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) rebels prepare a meal at the 10th Guerrilla Conference in the remote Yari plains where the peace accord was in the process of being ratified by the FARC on September 23, 2016 in El Diamante, Colombia. The peace agreement, which was ratified tody by the FARC, attempts to end the 52-year-old guerrilla war between the FARC and the state, the longest-running armed conflict in the Americas which left 220,000 dead. The final agreement is set to be signed on September 26 and will then be put to vote by the public in a referendum on October 2. The plan calls for a disarmament and re-integration of most of the estimated 7,000 FARC fighters. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
EL DIAMANTE, COLOMBIA - SEPTEMBER 22: FARC rebels ride on a truck at the 10th Guerrilla Conference in the remote Yari plains where the peace accord was in the process of being ratified by the FARC on September 22, 2016 in El Diamante, Colombia. The peace agreement, which was ratified tody by the FARC, attempts to end the 52-year-old guerrilla war between the FARC and the state, the longest-running armed conflict in the Americas which left 220,000 dead. The final agreement is set to be signed on September 26 and will then be put to vote by the public in a referendum on October 2. The plan calls for a disarmament and re-integration of most of the estimated 7,000 FARC fighters. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
EL DIAMANTE, COLOMBIA - SEPTEMBER 23: FARC rebels gather in their field kitchen as a pig wanders during breakfast hours at the 10th Guerrilla Conference in the remote Yari plains where the peace accord was in the process of being ratified by the FARC on September 23, 2016 in El Diamante, Colombia. The peace agreement attempts to end the 52-year-old guerrilla war between the FARC and the state, the longest-running armed conflict in the Americas which left 220,000 dead. The final agreement is set to be signed on September 26 and will then be put to vote by the public in a referendum on October 2. The plan calls for a disarmament and re-integration of most of the estimated 7,000 FARC fighters. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
EL DIAMANTE, COLOMBIA - SEPTEMBER 22: FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) rebels build a temporary housing structure at the 10th Guerrilla Conference in the remote Yari plains where the peace accord was in the process of being ratified by the FARC on September 22, 2016 in El Diamante, Colombia. The peace agreement, which was ratified tody by the FARC, attempts to end the 52-year-old guerrilla war between the FARC and the state, the longest-running armed conflict in the Americas which left 220,000 dead. The final agreement is set to be signed on September 26 and will then be put to vote by the public in a referendum on October 2. The plan calls for a disarmament and re-integration of most of the estimated 7,000 FARC fighters. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
EL DIAMANTE, COLOMBIA - SEPTEMBER 23: FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) rebels ride on a truck at the 10th Guerrilla Conference in the remote Yari plains after the peace accord was ratified by the FARC on September 23, 2016 in El Diamante, Colombia. The peace agreement attempts to end the 52-year-old guerrilla war between the FARC and the state, the longest-running armed conflict in the Americas which left 220,000 dead. The final agreement is set to be signed on September 26 and will then be put to vote by the public in a referendum on October 2. The plan calls for a disarmament and re-integration of most of the estimated 7,000 FARC fighters. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
EL DIAMANTE, COLOMBIA - SEPTEMBER 23: FARC guerrillas wash pots and peel potatoes along a stream at the 10th Guerrilla Conference in the remote Yari plains where the peace accord was in the process of being ratified by the FARC on September 23, 2016 in El Diamante, Colombia. The peace agreement, which was ratified tody by the FARC, attempts to end the 52-year-old guerrilla war between the FARC and the state, the longest-running armed conflict in the Americas which left 220,000 dead. The final agreement is set to be signed on September 26 and will then be put to vote by the public in a referendum on October 2. The plan calls for a disarmament and re-integration of most of the estimated 7,000 FARC fighters. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
EL DIAMANTE, COLOMBIA - SEPTEMBER 22: A motorcycle rides down the main road passing through the 10th Guerrilla Conference in the remote Yari plains where the peace accord was in the process of being ratified by the FARC on September 22, 2016 in El Diamante, Colombia. The peace agreement attempts to end the 52-year-old guerrilla war between the FARC and the state, the longest-running armed conflict in the Americas which left 220,000 dead. The final agreement is set to be signed on September 26 and will then be put to vote by the public in a referendum on October 2. The plan calls for a disarmament and re-integration of most of the estimated 7,000 FARC fighters. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
EL DIAMANTE, COLOMBIA - SEPTEMBER 22: FARC rebels play soccer at the 10th Guerrilla Conference in the remote Yari plains where the peace accord was in the process of being ratified by the FARC on September 22, 2016 in El Diamante, Colombia. The peace agreement, which was ratified tody by the FARC, attempts to end the 52-year-old guerrilla war between the FARC and the state, the longest-running armed conflict in the Americas which left 220,000 dead. The final agreement is set to be signed on September 26 and will then be put to vote by the public in a referendum on October 2. The plan calls for a disarmament and re-integration of most of the estimated 7,000 FARC fighters. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
EL DIAMANTE, COLOMBIA - SEPTEMBER 21: FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) rebels dance at a concert at the 10th Guerrilla Conference in the remote Yari plains where the peace accord was in the process of being ratified by the FARC on September 21, 2016 in El Diamante, Colombia. The peace agreement attempts to end the 52-year-old guerrilla war between the FARC and the state, the longest-running armed conflict in the Americas which left 220,000 dead. The final agreement is set to be signed on September 26 and will then be put to vote by the public in a referendum on October 2. The plan calls for a disarmament and re-integration of most of the estimated 7,000 FARC fighters. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Uribe's supporters argued the deal offered too many concessions to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, and did not serve as a deterrent for other groups involved in crime.

"Let's not forget what we are doing today, we're trying to end more than 50 years of war," government negotiator Sergio Jaramillo said.

The new agreement to end Latin America's longest insurgency was put together in just over a month after the original pact - which allowed the rebels to hold public office and skip jail - was narrowly and unexpectedly defeated in an Oct. 2 referendum.

While the government says the accord includes most of the proposals put forward by those who rejected it, the new document did not alter those two key provisions. That angered many among Colombia's largely conservative population, who are also furious that Santos decided to ratify the deal in Congress instead of holding another plebiscite.

The government and FARC worked together in Cuba for four years to negotiate an end to the region's longest-running conflict that has killed more than 220,000 and displaced millions in the Andean nation.

An end to the war with FARC is unlikely to end violence in Colombia as the lucrative cocaine business has given rise to criminal gangs and traffickers. (Editing by Robin Pomeroy and Peter Cooney)


Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.