The “No” campaign aims to sink the nearly completed and much debated peace agreement with the FARC, claiming the administration of President Juan Manuel Santos has been too lenient in the negotiations to end the guerrillas’ 52-year-long war against the state.
If Uribe’s campaign is successful and a majority of Colombians reject the peace deal, this will immediately end Santos’ legal ability to pursue a negotiated peace. It would, however, leave the possibility open for Congress to assume control of the talks.
Supporters of the agreed peace deal with the FARC have accused Uribe of spearheading a fear-mongering campaign that, if successful, can have far-stretching negative consequences for the prospects of peace in Colombia.
Uribe, however, has insisted his campaign is constructive and does not seek an end to peace talks, but adjustments in the agreements including tougher punishments for the FARC.
“We launch the ‘No’ campaign … because with impunity the hatred does not die but more violence will emerge,” Uribe explained.
According to the former president, partial deals that have already been presented to the public “deny victims the right to no repetition of tragedy.”
Moreover, Uribe said, “the FARC and their premeditated crimes impede many Colombians to feel the spiritual relief of forgiveness.”
The hard-line politician has consistently rejected the talks with the FARC and has questioned their legitimacy on multiple occasions.
While echoing the concerns of a significant portion of Colombian society, Uribe’s party stands pretty much alone in Congress.
Both the coalition and the leftist opposition support a “Yes” vote that would validate a peace deal and allow the immediate demobilization and disarmament of the FARC.
According to several pollsters, the majority of the Colombian public is also in favor of signing the deal that has been in the making since 2011.