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Shock, Sadness, Joy in Divided Colombia as Peace Is Voted Down

IN PICTURES: The comprehensive peace deal between the Colombian state and the FARC-EP was narrowly rejected in a surprising win for the right wing.

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.

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Pedestrians walks under a banner supporting Colombian plebiscite in downtown in Bogota, Colombia, Sept. 29, 2016.
Pedestrians walks under a banner supporting Colombian plebiscite in downtown in Bogota, Colombia, Sept. 29, 2016. Photo:Reuters
Soldiers stand guard at Bolivar Square during a referendum on a peace deal between the government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels in Bogota, Colombia, Oct. 2, 2016.
Soldiers stand guard at Bolivar Square during a referendum on a peace deal between the government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels in Bogota, Colombia, Oct. 2, 2016. Photo:Reuters
A police officer checks a voter at the entrance of a polling station during a referendum on a peace deal between the government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels in Silvia, Colombia, Oct. 2, 2016.
A police officer checks a voter at the entrance of a polling station during a referendum on a peace deal between the government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels in Silvia, Colombia, Oct. 2, 2016. Photo:Reuters
A Colombian Guambiano indigenous woman votes in a referendum on a peace deal between the government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels in Silvia, Colombia, Oct. 2, 2016.
A Colombian Guambiano indigenous woman votes in a referendum on a peace deal between the government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels in Silvia, Colombia, Oct. 2, 2016. Photo:Reuters
Colombia
Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos casts his vote in a referendum on a peace deal between the government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels at Bolivar Square in Bogota, Colombia, Oct. 2, 2016. Photo:Reuters
Supporters of "No" vote celebrate after the nation voted "No" in a referendum on a peace deal between the government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels, in Bogota, Colombia, Oct. 2, 2016.
Supporters of "No" vote celebrate after the nation voted "No" in a referendum on a peace deal between the government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels, in Bogota, Colombia, Oct. 2, 2016. Photo:Reuters
A supporter of "Si" vote cries after the nation voted "NO" in a referendum on a peace deal between the government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels, at Bolivar Square in Bogota, Colombia, Oct. 2, 2016.
A supporter of "Si" vote cries after the nation voted "NO" in a referendum on a peace deal between the government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels, at Bolivar Square in Bogota, Colombia, Oct. 2, 2016. Photo:Reuters
Colombia
Colombia's former President Alvaro Uribe gestures after the nation voted "No" in a referendum on a peace deal between the government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels, in Rionegro, Colombia, Oct. 2, 2016. Photo:Reuters
A supporter of "Si" vote reacts after the nation voted "NO" in a referendum on a peace deal between the government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels, at Bolivar Square in Bogota, Colombia, Oct. 2, 2016.
A supporter of "Si" vote reacts after the nation voted "NO" in a referendum on a peace deal between the government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels, at Bolivar Square in Bogota, Colombia, Oct. 2, 2016. Photo:Reuters
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebel leader Rodrigo Londono (C) reads from a document while flanked by fellow negotiators Pablo Catatumbo (L), and Ivan Marquez during a conference in Havana, Cuba October 2, 2016
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebel leader Rodrigo Londono (C) reads from a document while flanked by fellow negotiators Pablo Catatumbo (L), and Ivan Marquez during a conference in Havana, Cuba October 2, 2016 Photo:Reuters
Former Colombian Vice President Francisco Santos celebrates after the nation voted "No" in a referendum on a peace deal between the government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels, at Bolivar Square in Bogota, Colombia, Oct. 2, 2016.
Former Colombian Vice President Francisco Santos celebrates after the nation voted "No" in a referendum on a peace deal between the government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels, at Bolivar Square in Bogota, Colombia, Oct. 2, 2016. Photo:Reuters
A supporter of "Si" vote reacts after the nation voted "No" in a referendum on a peace deal between the government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels, at Bolivar Square in Bogota, Colombia, Oct. 2, 2016.
A supporter of "Si" vote reacts after the nation voted "No" in a referendum on a peace deal between the government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels, at Bolivar Square in Bogota, Colombia, Oct. 2, 2016. Photo:Reuters
A supporter of "Si" vote cries after the nation voted "NO" in a referendum on a peace deal between the government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels, at Bolivar Square in Bogota, Colombia, Oct. 2, 2016.
A supporter of "Si" vote cries after the nation voted "NO" in a referendum on a peace deal between the government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels, at Bolivar Square in Bogota, Colombia, Oct. 2, 2016. Photo:Reuters
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