The Bishop of Columbia is calling for prayer after an October 2nd vote that rejected a peace deal between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC) that would have ended the nearly 60-year civil war which has resulted in over 220,000 deaths and millions of displacements.
“We call on the church to pray a lot so that the necessary accord is reached and so that we can all live as brothers, Let’s achieve a peace that brings justice, reparations and not repetition.” Said Bishop Francisco Duque.
Less than 38 percent of eligible voters participated in the vote; 50.2 of those voted to reject the peace deal, which has left Columbians in shock as earlier polling indicated the deal would pass.
After the vote, the president of Columbia, Juan Manuel Santos, expressed his disappointment in the outcome, saying “Today I address the country as president of all Colombians, of both those who voted yes and those who voted no. I called for a referendum. The majority, be it by a very narrow margin, said ‘no.’ I am the first to recognize the result.”
In June, the Columbian government and FARC signed a ceasefire which extends to October 31; both sides have confirmed they will abide by the terms.
FARC’s leader, Rodrigo Londoño, alias “Timochenko,” issued a statement following the vote’s results. “FARC-EP reiterates its willingness to use only words as weapons for building toward the future,” he wrote.
Churches throughout the Diocese of Colombia have stood with those affected by the conflict, providing pastoral care, and humanitarian assistance and shelter. The church has also assisted Colombian refugees who fled to Ecuador.