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Nobel Peace Prize for Colombian President
Oct 12, 2016

The Nobel Peace Prize for 2016 has been awarded to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos for his efforts to end his country's 50-year civil war. Santos and FARC leader Timochenko signed the 297-page accord in front of world leaders and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

  • Santos negotiated a peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla group but the peace deal was rejected by a narrow majority of Colombians when it was put to referendum.
  • Santos has promised to revive the peace plan even though Colombians narrowly rejected it in the referendum. Many voters believed it was too lenient on the FARC guerrillas.
  • The Norwegian Nobel Committee said Santos had brought one of the longest civil wars in modern history significantly closer to a peaceful solution.
  • More than 220,000 people have died on the battlefield or in massacres during the struggle between leftist guerrillas, right-wing paramilitaries and government troops.
  • Millions have been displaced and many beg on the streets of the capital, while economic development has been stunted in the mostly rural nation.
  • Santos family once owned leading Colombian newspaper El Tiempo, where Santos worked as an editor before turning to politics.
  • He also trained as an economist at the London School of Economics.
  • Santos was finance minister in the 1990s, helping to steer Colombia through one of its worst fiscal crises.
  • Santos is the first Latin American to receive the peace prize since indigenous rights campaigner Rigoberta Menchu of Guatemala won in 1992, and is the second Colombian after writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who won the literature prize in 1982.

The Nobel Peace Prize, worth 8 million Swedish crowns ($930,000), will be presented in Oslo on Dec. 10.

Will Donate the Award Money: President Juan Manuel Santos says he’ll donate almost $1 million in Nobel Peace Prize money to the victims of Colombia’s half-century conflict. He promised that he won’t give up on securing peace with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia despite voters’ rejection of a deal with the guerrillas in a referendum.

  • The interesting fact is that of the 81 municipalities nationwide hardest-hit by the conflict, 67 voted for the peace deal.

Who are the FARC?

  • The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) are Colombia's largest rebel group.
  • They were founded in 1964 as the armed wing of the Communist Party and follow a Marxist-Leninist ideology.
  • Their main founders were small farmers and land workers who had banded together to fight against the staggering levels of inequality in Colombia at the time.
  • Inspired by the Cuban revolution in the 1950s, they demanded more rights and control over the land.
  • The security forces estimate that there are between 6,000 and 7,000 active fighters within the ranks of the FARC.
  • The rebels are organised in small tactical groups that in turn make up larger fighting units which are organised in regional ‘blocs’.
  • They are controlled by the Secretariat, a group of less than a dozen top commanders who devise the overarching strategy of the FARC.
  • The FARC's top leader is Rodrigo Londono Echeverri, better known by his alias Timochenko.

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