FARC leader says even with rejection of peace deal, they won't return to war

A piece of paper urging Colombians to vote no on the peace deal.
(Image credit: Raul Arboleda/AFP/Getty Images)

On Sunday, voters in Colombia rejected a deal that would have ended a 52-year war between the government and FARC rebels, but FARC leader Rodrigo Londoño said Monday that "peace is here to stay."

After four years of negotiations, the deal was rejected by 50.2 percent of voters, with 49.7 percent approving. Londoño, also known as Timochenko, said things won't return to how they used to be, but did say that the group remains "faithful to what has been agreed to." Both sides have said they will come up with some way of keeping the peace, with President Juan Manuel Santos vowing he "will not give up." They have agreed to keep in place a bilateral ceasefire that has been in place since the end of August.

Over the course of the armed conflict, more than 220,000 people died, and six million were displaced from their homes. Many of the people who voted no said the deal was too easy on the rebels — as long as leaders admitted to their crimes, they would have avoided jail time — but in the small town of Corinto, an epicenter of fighting between the military and FARC fighters, the vote was overwhelmingly yes. "This shows just how divided we are as a nation," resident Gustavo Manrique told The Guardian. "Now we are filled with uncertainty. Will the bombs start falling on us again? Are we going back to the bad old days?"

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Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for TheWeek.com. Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and EW.com, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.