Santos

Maduro to speak with Santos about resale of Venezuelan currency in Colombia

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro announced on 8 December 2016 he will speak with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on 9 December about the resale of Venezuelan currency in Colombia. During an event to commemorate former President Hugo Chávez, Maduro stated he will urge the Colombian government to punish those who smuggle bolívar bills to Colombia for later resale (El Nacional). Maduro said the lack of paper money in Venezuela led to a cyber-attack on 2 December that caused a partial shutdown of the country's electronic banking system. According to Maduro, Venezuelan bills were stolen at Cúcuta and Maicao, Colombian cities on the border with Venezuela (Globovisión).

Colombia moves forward on the revamping the peace accord

The Colombian Government and FARC rebels began a second attempt at constructing a peace deal on 22 October 2016. The negotiations are set to continue in Havana, Cuba as prominent government figures such as lead negotiator Humberto de la Calle, Interior Minister Juan Fernando Cristo, Post Conflict Chief Advisor Rafael Pardo, and Senator Roy Barreras return to the negotiating table (El Espectador). Peace talks have began under the shadow of Álvaro Uribe's 26 page document dictating what he feels should be changed in the accord. El Tiempo reported President Juan Manuel Santos saying that of Uribe's suggested changes, some are reasonable, some are difficult, but not impossible, and some are totally unfeasible, as they do not correspond with the reality of the conflict (El Tiempo). Sub Director of the Peace and Reconciliation Foundation Ariel Ávila insisted the final accord should be ready by the end of 2016. The problem remains what judicial process would be most appropriate to implement the second peace deal, another referendum vote, executive action, or some other developing option (RCN).

The reassembly of negotiators in Havana after the failed 2 October referendum is an undeniably positive step forward for Colombia. Former President Uribe's suggestions are surely going to be the main topic of discussion, as both sides attempt to reach an agreement that satisfies the government, the FARC, and those who voted "no" in the plebiscite. Even if all actors can agree to a new deal before the cease fire ends on 31 December, they still face another real problem, what judicial path will they chose to implement the accords. The question remains whether the government is willing to risk a second peace deal to a referendum vote, a vote that could be sabotaged by a number of actors. Even with a high level of uncertainty clouding the current process, the fact Colombia and its rebels have not given up on a peace process shows the country is transitioning towards what is in all likelihood an inevitable peace.