On Friday, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced the establishment of the new peace prize, which will be named after his late predecessor.
“You symbolise the suffering of the victims of 52 years of war and are at the centre of the solution to this conflict”, a visibly-moved Mr Santos told the crowd.
“We’re going to persevere”. Pope Francis had expressed approval of the proposed peace deal when it was approved by Colombian government and FARC leaders in August.
Some observers expressed surprise the FARC leader was not jointly honoured by the award. At one time, the recipients were mostly elderly pacifists and well-known international institutions. The conflict has claimed 260,000 lives and displaced eight million others.
“They have to understand that peace is for us, between Colombians, not for them”, says Daniel Garcia, a No voter in Medellín who, like many Colombians, takes issue with parts of the deal that allow rebels to avoid jail time for atrocities if they confess to their crimes to a special tribunal.
But he added that he hoped the prize would encourage “changes” to the deal.
Wang said on Saturday that China would maintain close communication with Colombian officials to start a comprehensive dialogue on a free trade agreement as soon as possible.
“This is a big help, but we’re not leaving until there’s peace”, said Juliana Bohorquez, a 31-year-old artist.
That was despite the precedent set when the 1993 prize awarded jointly to South African liberation movement leader Nelson Mandela and the last apartheid-era president F W de Klerk.
Germany is also in the race with 80 Nobel laureates. Among other foreign policy controversies, the secret bombing campaign he had overseen was still raging in Cambodia. The negotiations with the 2,000-strong ELN will begin in Ecuador, according to an agreement signed in Caracas by both sides under the auspices of Venezuela’s government.
The rejection of the peace deal with FARC in a national referendum doesn’t seem to have dampened the ELN’s desire to pursue its own peace deal.
Kaci Kullmann Five, the Norwegian Nobel Committee chairwoman, said there is a real danger of an end to the peace process and renewed civil war. This is probably what the committee intended. “We note that the FARC has given important concessions”.
The group was the subject of a Netflix short documentary and its nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize had attracted support from a slew of celebrities.
The ELN was inspired by the Cuban revolution and founded the same year as the FARC-EP, 1964.
“This Nobel prize isn’t mine”. He said Sunday’s referendum should not divide Colombians.
Cuba and Norway also issued a declaration, ratifying their commitment to the peace process.
A record 376 candidates were nominated for this year’s award, which carries a prize of 8 million Swedish kronor (about $930,000).
Most Colombian newspapers consider the prize an enormous back-up for the peace efforts. Japan competes with Sweden with 29 and 30 awards while Austria and the Netherlands have 19 laureates.