The people of Colombia are in an anxious state after a historic plebiscite was narrowly voted down in a jarring win for right-wing opponents of peace and transitional justice. The peace deal was arrived at after four years of hard negotiations between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC-EP, and the administration of President Juan Manel Santos, yet it hinged on the approval by a majority of Colombians, who ultimately said "No" to ending a 52-year war that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and displaced approximately six million people.
The "No" camp was led, for the most part, by right-wing former President Alvaro Uribe, whose 8-year term as head of state was marked by horrendous human rights abuses committed in the course of the war against the leftist guerrillas. While the camp represented by Uribe felt that the peace deal was too lenient, however, many felt that the deal did not go far enough in terms of agrarian reform or ensuring an end to paramilitary terror in Colombia's vast rural areas. Ultimately, voter apathy was reflected in the paltry 37 percent turnout for the vote – which some have blamed on either the poor weather or the assumption that there would be an easy win.
"I will not give up, I will keep seeking peace until the last minute of my term," Santos said moments after his loss to those demanding harsher terms in a renegotiated deal or an obliteration of the FARC on the battlefield.
The FARC, for its part, stated in a communiqué that it "deeply regret(s) that the destructive power of those who sow hatred and rancor have influenced the opinion of the Colombian population," concluding that it "maintains its will for peace and reiterates its willingness to only use the word as a weapon of construction towards the future."
teleSUR takes a look at the anguish – and the joy – of a nation that stands far from consensus and is set to enter a period of political uncertainty and unpredictability.