The 52 year civil war in Colombia between the government and the Marxist rebel group the FARC is the longest running conflict in the Western Hemisphere. But after years of painstaking negotiations, the conflict looked as if it is finally coming to an end. There is currently a ceasefire in place, and a UN-backed peace deal was signed in September between FARC’s leader and the president of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos.
The government promised to put the peace deal to a final vote among the people of Colombia in a popular referendum, and low and behold, when the vote was taken in early October voters rejected the deal.
On the line with me to discuss the referendum results, the peace deal, and the implications of this failure to formally end this civil war is James Bargent, a freelance journalist based in Colombia. I caught up with James while he was in Medellin just days after the vote and he does an excellent job of describing the political climate that lead to this result. He also games out scenarios for what happens next in this now quite tenuous peace process. He argues that a resumption of conflict is not out of the realm of possibility.
If you have 20 minutes and want to learn about this peace deal, why it failed, and what happens next, have a listen.