Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos received the Nobel Peace Prize Saturday in Norway, as a honor for his contribution to the peace process undertaken alongside FARC rebels.
The Nobel Peace Prize comes with a gold medal, a diploma and a check for US$871,000 that Santos has promised to use the sum for victims of Colombia's five-decade conflict.
“We have reached the peace, ending the longest-running war in the Western Hemisphere, now we can say that the Americas is a territory without wars and if that happens in one hemisphere it could happen to in other parts of the world, let’s make this world a world of peace, make the impossible possible,” Santos said during his acceptance speech in Oslo.
After a first peace deal was rejected by the Colombian people in a plebiscite vote, Santos' government and the FARC guerrillas renegotiated a new peace accord that was signed on Nov 24 and then approved by Colombia Congress.
Santos dedicated his award to the victims of conflict that has killed more than 260,000 people, left 45,000 missing and forced nearly seven million to flee their homes.
Santos also called on the international community to rethink the war on drugs since, which has left millions dead.
"The war has not been won and won’t be won," he said. "It makes no sense for a peasant who grows marijuana to be convicted or killed when marijuana is legal in eight US states. It's time to change our strategy."
The now Nobel laureate paraphrased Bob Dylan, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature this year:
“How many deaths will it take till we know
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind”
The ceremony was attended by victims and families of those who suffered during the Colombian armed conflict, also by former FARC prisoners, Ingrid Betancourt and Clara Rojas. The royal family and members of the Norwegian government were there.
At the ceremony there were no representatives of the FARC or victims of state crimes.