Colombians have rejected the charade between Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC terrorists, that was designed and directed by Fidel and Raul Castro. Well done Colombia!.
The City Paper Bogota
When the polls closed at 4 pm across Colombia, more than 34,8 million were eligible to cast their vote in the historic peace plebiscite. With a “Yes” or “No” on the ballot, voter turn-out was steady through-out the day despite a rainy start in most of the country. The Colombian capital had 12,078 booths set up to receive voters from 8 am onwards.
Colombians residing in 56 countries also cast their votes to accept or reject the Final Accord signed on September 26 between the Colombian Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla.
The first bulletin from the Civil Registrar came in 15 minutes after the polls officially closed reporting “Yes” with slight margin of votes (33,873) over “No” (30,070). By bulletin No.4 at 4:20 pm “Yes” had 1,623 316 and “No” 1,605 554.
Due to the heavy rain affecting much of the coast from Hurricane “Matthew” only 2,500 voters turned out in Santa Marta, than an expected 9,000.
In order for “Yes” to win and ratify the final accord with FARC more than 4,536,993 votes were needed. Colombia’s Constitutional Court approved the peace plebiscite on July 18 and lowered the voting threshold to 13% of the national total registered voters.
By 4:30 pm the “Yes” vote was narrowly surpassing “No” with 50,9% versus 49,9%. The voting threshold was met with the official bulletin No.6 at 4:40 pm with “Yes” leading marginally with 5,235 558 votes over “No” with 5,234 986 – a difference of just 546 votes.
In the Colombian capital Bogotá “Yes” surpassed “No” by 600,000 votes.
By bulletin No.8 at 4:50 the tide had turned against “Yes” with 91% of all voting across the country counted – “No” with 50,10% or 5,811 512 votes over “Yes” with 5,786 783 (49,89%).
By bulletin No.10 at 4:55 pm “No” maintained its narrow lead with 6,255 373 votes against “Yes” with 6,203 480.
The peace plebiscite aimed to break voter apathy regarding the peace process with FARC and that has lasted almost four years in Havana, Cuba, but an hour after the polls closed some 12 million Colombians had cast their votes.
After more than a half century of conflict, the plebiscite sumed up in one question the original six points of an agenda agreed upon by both sides in August 2012. On Monday, September 26, President Juan Manuel Santos signed with FARC’s “Timochenko” the 57-year-old revolutionary Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri, the final accord during a televised ceremony in Cartagena and attended by 15 presidents and the U.N Secretary General Ban-Ki moon.
Colombia’s security forces confirmed that there were no reports of violence during the voting day Sunday.
By 5:10 pm the National Registrar released bulletin No.11 with “Yes” heading towards defeat with 6,270 730 votes (49,77%) and “N” with 6,328 501 votes (50,22%).
By the time bulletin 15 was released with the total national vote count at 99,25% “Yes” had lost the day by 62,350 votes (49,75%) with 6,346.055 votes and “No” coming in with 6,408 350 votes or 50,24%.
Upon receiving the news that “No” clinched victory Sunday, the FARC tweeted “We don’t have a plan B”. During the peace signing ceremony in Cartagena “Timochenko” assured Colombians that their objective is to form a political party and not return to war. On this historic Sunday “Timochenko” released the following tweet: We are convinced that all Colombians can overcome their difficulties and smile with hope for the future.”
With the large voter turn out Sunday across Colombia and a clear rejection of the peace agreement with the oldest guerrilla insurgency in the world, the political future of the 65-year old President Santos appears to be uncertain. Upon receiving news of the “No” victory, Santos called an emergency meeting at the Presidential Palace Casa de Nariño with all his ministers and chief peace negotiators. President Santos has staked his presidency on a “Yes” victory and mandate for peace.
All polls leading to voting day gave “Yes” a decisive victory over “No”.
In Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia’s second largest city “No” won with 60% of the votes.
In voting overseas, Colombians gave “Yes” a mandate with 40,907 votes (54%).
The head of state is expected to address the nation at 7:00 pm as a political crisis looms.
The war with FARC has claimed 260,000 lives during more than a half century of conflict. The future for the 13,000-strong guerrilla now appears uncertain. With the peace signing of their maximum commander “Timochenko” and Santos, FARC fighters were beginning to move to U.N.-monitored “verification zones” in order to hand-over their weapons and begin the process of reintegrating back into society.
The “No” victory at the polls Sunday October 2 means the 197-page Final Accord with FARC cannot be implemented.