Nobel peace winner Santos to donate prize to conflict victims
Nobel Peace Prize winner 2016, Colombia’s President Santos has decided to donate the Nobel money to the victims of the 52-year conflict in his country. He made the announcement in the city of Bojaya, in the north-western region of Choco, after taking part in a religious ceremony for people affected by the conflict.
“Last night, I met with my family and we have decided to donate those eight million Swedish krona ($925,000) to the victims,” said Mr Santos. About 260,000 people have been killed and more than six million internally displaced in Colombia because of conflict between the government and insurgent group Farc.
Mr. Sabtos was awarded the prize for reaching a peace agreement with the Farc rebel group last month. President Santos and the Farc leader known as Timochenko shook hands in a historic ceremony in Cartagena in September.
The head of the Nobel commitee said on Friday the award recognised the president’s “resolute efforts” to end the conflict.
The Farc is Colombia’s largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.
Led by Manuel Marulanda till his death in 2008 it is the longest running, armed guerilla group which has been fighting in the Western Hemisphere.
Founded in 1964 it had small farmers and land workers banded together to fight inequality in Colombia at the time. The Farc follows a Marxist-Leninist ideology and have always been an overwhelmingly rural guerrilla organisation though they have some urban groups too.
The Nobel Peace prize followed a final peace agreement between Colombia’s Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc), and the Colombian government. Farc (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) leader Timoleon Rodriguez, better known as Timochenko signed the accord after nearly four years of negotiations held by government and rebel delegates in the Cuban capital, Havana.
The deal was rejected a few days later by 50.2% of Colombian voters who went to the polls on 2 October. Critics, led by former President Alvaro Uribe, said the deal was too lenient on the rebels.
The committee acknowledged the result, saying: “What the ‘No’ side rejected was not the desire for peace, but a specific peace agreement.”
Despite the rejection by voters, Mr Santos vowed to continue with talks with the rebels.
Government negotiators have already returned to the Cuban capital Havana for further discussions with Farc leaders.
“The award should also be seen as a tribute to the Colombian people who, despite great hardships and abuses, have not given up hope of a just peace, and to all the parties who have contributed to the peace process,” Kaci Kullman Five said.
Mr. Santos was born in Bogota on 10th of August 1951.
He served as defense minister from 2006 till 2009. While in service Mr Santos soon made a name for himself with a number of key military operations.
He was elected Colombian President in 2010 and re-elected in 2014.