01-2020 Latin American Economy & Business Report
Economy & Business Report
Does poverty drive protest?
Colombia faces a period of acute political and economic uncertainty after a wafer-thin majority of voters rejected the peace accord with the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (Farc) on 2 October. The initial reaction of President Juan Manuel Santos and the Farc’s maximum leader, ‘Timochenko’ (Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri), was encouraging for the prospects of peace – both committed to upholding the current bilateral ceasefire – but when the hard reality of discussing where this leaves peace talks kicks in this equanimity will be difficult to preserve. The onus is now on former president Alvaro Uribe (2002-2010), the leader of the right-wing opposition Centro Democrático (CD) who ran an emotive ‘no’ campaign, to rise to the occasion with a ‘Plan B’ that is not anathema to the guerrilla group. Uribe’s response has been statesmanlike in terms of rhetoric and action – he met Santos face-to-face for the first time in five years – but a gulf separates him and the Farc.
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