Five days after the rejection of the peace accord by a narrow popular margin, Colombian President Santos won the Nobel Peace Prize for his persistent efforts to end the entrenched armed conflict. The peace accord was the result of four years of ongoing negotiations held in Cuba between the government and the FARC. This followed three previous failed attempts to negotiate an end Latin America´s longest standing war and $10 billion of US military and social aid under Plan Colombia. Although a plebiscite vote was not a legal prerequisite to implement the accord, it was held to demonstrate widespread civilian support. That strategy of Santos backfired when political opponents rigorously organized the NO campaign with widespread use of the media to discredit the accord. In contrast, there was no YES campaign to promote the accord and many citizens in favor did not vote, assuming the referendum would pass by a very large margin, as predicted by all the polls.
After the plebiscite NO Victory, both signatory parties to the accord quickly proclaimed their determination to maintain a cease fire, in place since June 2015, and to work to implement the accord. After 41 intense days of re-negotiation, a new accord was signed on Nov 24, 2016 with adjustments to address the concerns of representatives of the NO Campaign, who were consulted closely in the process. These included former President Uribe, a major landholder who vowed to eliminate the FARC, responsible for killing his father; under his presidency, paramilitary forces expanded greatly. Also included were Christian evangelical pastors who had mobilized tens of thousands within their mega-churches to vote NO, inciting fear that the country would loose its moral character because of what they denounced as a lack of family values and the presence of a gender ideology in the accord. In addition, Uribe and others demanded stronger punishments for FARC members.
The new accord did include further concessions on the part of the FARC but at the same time, remained true to the spirit of social inclusion of the original. The FARC began as a movement to vindicate the rights of the poor peasants, focusing on the issue of land reform and greater equality, yet it lost much support from the civilian population when it began to sustain itself through kidnappings, extortions and drug trafficking. It is still made up of many rural peasants, some forcibly recruited as teenagers, some joining out of revenge for family members killed by paramilitary forces, others lured in by the need for food and basic sustenance. The final peace accord retains a focus on land reform, true to the historical demands of the FARC, in an overall aim to make Colombia a more equitable society. With no second plebiscite, the renegotiated agreement went directly to Congress where it was approved in less than a week.