Colombia desperately needs peace after 52 years of strife as Marxist Farc rebels have fought the government since 1964. It is important that President Juan Manuel Santos has made the compromises that any settlement requires.
Nonetheless, his first attempt in September gave far too much away to Farc in a deal that got a surprise rejection in an October referendum, which made very clear to the Farc leadership how little popularity they have, which encouraged them to come to better terms this time around.
The new deal requires Farc to declare all its assets and hand them over and makes clear that the money will be used for reparation payments to the victims of the conflict, which was a key part of the referendum’s rejection of the old deal, because Farc seemed to be about to get way scot free.
The new deal also requires Farc rebels to provide exhaustive information about the drug trade in which Farc has been involved.
Opposition to the deal has been led by former president Alvaro Uribe and it is a pity that the new agreement still does not get his approval despite all but one of the 57 points in the deal being changed to meet his objections.
There is a real danger that Uribe’s antagonism to Santos, and Uribe’s hopes of winning the next presidential elections, may have changed him from being a useful critic of the deal whose objections have helped make it much more balanced, to becoming a danger to the peace process itself. It would be a tragedy if a future president was to rip up this deal and rekindle the war.