News · Politics

Colombians Speak: Does Santos Deserve the Nobel Peace Prize?

Even those who believe Santos deserves the award, as Ernesto Carriazo does, are grappling with the emotional consequences of the week’s events. “I grew up and lived in Colombia for almost half a century constantly reading—year after year, day by day—about abortive attempts to negotiate peace deals with rebels,” Carriazo says. “My mind was oversaturated not only with TV news, radio chats, and soap operas about it, but also by actual evidence of killings, wars, forceful displacements, kidnappings, and bombings.

“As I see young people marching together with candles, or camping under precarious conditions in the middle of Bogotá’s main square, hoping—like me—to see the peace agreement between Santos and Rodrigo Londoño validated now, I recall all the years I did the same type of things and kept my hopes for and beliefs in a peaceful future in this country up high. But now, I have buried those hopes, both in the short and the long run, after the results of the plebiscite that took place in Oct. 2 this year in this bleeding country whose people, nonetheless, rise up from the ashes every morning like phoenixes doomed to an eternal entropy.”

Another woman I spoke to emphasized the need for Santos to follow through on his promise to donate the Nobel Peace Prize money to the victims of the war. Adriana Escandon-Heredia is not a fan of Santos. She didn’t vote for him in the presidential election. But she does believe it was a “smart move” to give him the Nobel Peace Prize. And, she acknowledges that Santos has devoted his presidency to the peace process. “His presidential campaign was all about peace and that only. … He devoted himself to this sole cause and got results. Not the best, but I’m confident we’ll get there.”

We start this week off here in Colombia with a Nobel Peace Prize winner in the presidential palace and news reports that are more consistently positive: the U.N. will continue to support the Colombian peace process, the FARC will consider alterations to the peace agreement.

Escandon-Heredia sees hope in the weeks ahead. “We are so close and we’ve come such a long way!” she says. “I hope and pray that with a reduction in concessions to the FARC, all of us will accept the deal and it will become a much awaited reality.”

 

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