Colombia's FARC rebel leader Rodrigo Londono, known as Timochenko, signs a new peace accord in Bogota, Colombia, November 2016. 
Jaime Salderriaga / REUTERS

When Colombian voters narrowly rejected a peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in a plebiscite last October, all seemed lost for Colombian President Juan Manual Santos. He had staked his legacy on the accord, painstakingly negotiated over four years in Cuba, with the goal of ending Latin America’s last guerrilla insurgency and delivering genuine peace to the country for the first time in generations. 

The wounds were hardly healed days later, when Santos was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. It only served to remind many Colombians that the official peace process has always been more popular among global elites than among the country’s citizens.

Still, undaunted, Santos quickly regrouped, met with his critics, and redeployed his negotiating team to Havana with some 500 proposed modifications to the agreement. With some of those changes incorporated after several rounds of new talks, he submitted the modified agreement

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  • JOSÉ R. CÁRDENAS is a Director at Visión Américas, an international consulting firm. He has served in several senior foreign policy positions during the George W. Bush administration (2004–09), including at the Department of State, the National Security Council, and the U.S. Agency for International Development.
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