farc u: colombia votes “no” on peace agreement

the world was already starting to celebrate the peace deal brokered (arranged, negotiated) by colombian president juan manuel santos that promises an end to decades of armed conflict with the guerrilla movement farc. but then, as camila domonoske reported on npr.com, something unexpected happened.

terms were agreed on, a deal was finalized, the accord was signed — and then, in a stunning turn of events, the people of colombia voted against the agreement in a national referendum.

notice the usage of passive voice. the parties who agreed on, finalized and signed the agreement are not mentioned.  turn of events is a synonym for change. a referendum is a public vote on a specific issuestunning means shocking, surprising.

cool english practice :) richyrocks on youtube

colombian voters stunned by the results of the referendum for peace with farc
colombians reacting to the stunning results of the referendum. (reuters/john vizcaino)

some statistical evidence of just how stunning the results were…

opinion polls as recent as last week showed the peace deal was expected to win approval with anywhere from 60-70%, while the “nos” were predicted to get only 30-40%.

polls are surveys of the public that attempt to predict the outcome of a vote.

the results of colombia's referendum for peace with the farc
the results of the peace referendum in colombia: the polls were wrong!(elpais.com)

to explain what was supposed to happen in colombia, the npr article uses the third conditional (modal auxiliary + have + past participle)….

had the ‘yes’ vote triumphed, the farc would have had six months to gather its 5,800 foot soldiers in special zones around colombia, where they were to turn in their weapons to U.N. inspectors.

…and past perfect (auxiliary have + past participle)

the farc had pledged to get out of the cocaine smuggling business, help the army locate and destroy landmines, and to apologize to its victims….the government had pledged…to invest huge sums in land reform and to build roads, schools and clinics in the impoverished rural areas that gave rise to the farc back in the 1960s. it had also predicted a boom in foreign investment and tourism.

gather implies a group coming together. turn in means give to authorities, deliver. a pledge is a serious promisesmuggle means transport illegally to another country. landmines are explosive devices planted in the ground.  give rise to acknowledges that creation of the farc was a result of poor living conditions. a boom is an increase, economic prosperity.

a landmine that looks like a tree trunk
a landmine–it will explode when stepped on. 

nick miroff at the washington post anticipated the possiblity of this result a few months ago. he noted that though presidente santos calculated that colombians would overwhelmingly (by a big majority) choose peace over war, his old boss, former president alvaro uribe, was an obstacle.

santos, who served as defense minister under uribe and then broke bitterly with his former boss to launch talks with the farc, has staked his legacy on the deal.

bitterly indicates that santos and uribe had an ugly, angry political split. stake means his legacy depends on the success or failure of the peace deal.

carlton, fresh prince of bel-air
carlton’s look on fresh prince of bel-air was preppy

uribe doesn’t support the peace agreement.  miroff called some of uribe’s supporters preppy activists and said they don’t mince words.  part of a speech from one of the preppy activists is included in miroff’s article:

do you support santos’s deal with farc? doesn’t it bother you that those criminals won’t see a single day in a prison cell? do you think it’s fair that santos will let all those farc gangsters keep all their drug money, while families here struggle to survive?

frequently students ask me for a similar word for the mexican idiom fresa (strawberry). preppy isn’t a perfect translation, but it’s not bad either.  spoiled kids who dress like they go to private school are preppies.  mince words means say nice things to be polite. the expression is most often used in the negative, as it is here.  bother means upset,unsettlestruggle means the families mentioned have economic problems,  they are fighting to survive.

president juna mauel santos voting yes on the referendum for peace.
president juan manuel santos votes “yes” on the referendum for peace. (afp)

manuel rueda on fusion.com also talked about why colombians opposed the deal

throughout the peace talks with the guerrillas, opposition parties here chastised the government for conceding too much to the rebels in exchange for their weapons. critics said the peace deal was too lenient on guerrilla leaders who have forcibly recruited thousands of children into the war, and financed the farc insurgency through kidnappings and drug trafficking.

throughout means from start to finish.  chastise is similar to criticize. too is used to show government concessions are excessive.  lenient means permissive. easy.

former president alvaro uribe votes “no” on the peace plebiscite. (guillermo legaria,afp)

voter turnout (participation, attendance) was extremely low, which may have helped opponents of the peace accord.

only 37% of eligible voters participated in sunday’s plebiscite, and most of them were from the “no” camp, which appears to have been more energized by their resentment towards the guerrillas.

plebiscite is the same as referendum. towards means in the direction of.

fun esl practice :) richyrocks on youtube

so what will happen next in colombia? rueda breaks it down like this

the guerrillas will have to decide whether to re-enter another round of peace talks that promise to offer them fewer benefits, to try and start the peace talks from scratch or go back to war.

from scratch gives the idea that the peace talks would start again from zero.

jimi hendrix says stick with it. don't give up
sticking with it (not giving up) worked for jimi hendrix and his guitar. but will it work for colombian negotiators?

santos is

urging the guerrillas to stick with peace talks,

stick with means continue.

timochenko will not give up on peace. (efe)

and farc leader rodrigo londoño (aka timochenko) has said he will not give up on (quit) the peace process.

what’s your opinion about this ordeal (problem, trauma)? is peace in the nation more important than making the farc pay for past crimes? share your views under leave a reply




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *