Colombia: Santos Set to Accept Nobel Prize

In a snub to the rebels that also helped secure peace, the Colombian pop star Juanes was invited to the ceremony, but FARC representatives were not.

With a peace deal in hand, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos will travel Thursday to the Norwegian capital Oslo to collect the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize, but no one representing the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, his partner in the effort to secure peace, will be joining him.

Olav Njolstad, head of the Nobel Institute, confirmed that the FARC will not be part of the events.

“No FARC representatives are among the guests,” Njolstad told AFP.

Santos is expected to take with him approximately 40 people, among them some of peace negotiators, as well as representatives of victims of the conflict. But the delegation doesn’t include anyone from the rebel group with which his government spent over four years negotiating the end of the five-decade-long conflict.

This is the second snub by the Nobel Committee, which opted to only recognize Santos and not the FARC with the prestigious prize, despite speculation that FARC leader Rodrigo Londoño, better known by his alias Timoleon Jimenez or Timochenko, could be tapped to share the award with the president. In other occasions, the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to multiple people, as was the case in 1994, in recognition of their joint effort to secure peace.

Colombian pop artist Juanes, however, will be in attendance, performing at the award ceremony on Saturday, when Santos will accept the prize. Although Juanes was a proponent of the peace deal with the FARC, he previously expressed support for the policies of former President Alvaro Uribe, the fiercest opponent of the peace process.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee surprised many when it announced that Santos would be awarded the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for his efforts to end a 52-year-old war with the FARC just days after the historic deal was narrowly defeated at the polls in a plebiscite on Oct. 2.

The Colombian president began peace talks with the FARC in 2012 in Havana. Four years later, the two parties reached an accord on five phases of talks to end a conflict that has killed some 260,000 people since it began in 1964.

A former defense minister of Uribe’s right-wing administration, Santos had overseen the conservative government’s military campaign against the rebel group.

Santos first kept up his army-led and U.S.-backed attacks on the FARC that included the killing of the FARC’s top leader, Alfonso Cano, and its military commander Mono Jojoy. But halfway through his first four-year term, Santos staked his reputation and political future on a new round of peace talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

After the first deal was narrowly rejected by the Colombian public in a plebiscite, a revised deal was approved by Congress last month, avoiding another vote and launching the country toward the implementation phase.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos previously said he would donate the prize money he will receive as part of the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize to victims of the internal conflict.

(telesurtv)