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PostColombia's Santos Wins Nobel Peace Prize (José Ignacio Soler, Venezuela, 10/09/16 1:28 am)
The Nobel Peace Prize was given to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, because of "his resolute efforts to bring the country's more than 50-year-long civil war to an end, a war that has cost the lives of at least 220,000 Colombians and displaced close to six million people." It is assumed Mr Santos got the price for his effort to promote peace, even though the Colombian peace treaty failed in last week's referendum.
The prize is given, as it is known, to those who have "done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace processes."
According to this, Mr. Santos seems to fit the qualifications, but the Prize has a fundamentally political nature and has always been subjected to many controversies regarding the merits of the winners and the reasons supporting their decisions, as shown in several cases in the past.
If one goes back in time, other figures are found to have been distinguished with the "peace" prize for unsuccessful peace process and perhaps doubtful merits as "pacifists." For example, in 1919, the recipient was Woodrow Wilson, promoter of the League of Nations but a well-known interventionist in South American politics and the president who led the US into WWI. The 1925 prize went to Sir Austen Chamberlain for his work on the Locarno Pact, but being a government official he also supported the British invasion of Mesopotamia in 1915 to increase British prestige in the region. He was also a minister of War and member of the war cabinet in 1918, and in 1937, according to historical sources, he was a prominent voice calling for British rearmament. George Marshall won the prize in 1947, a military man with extensive war participation. His "peace" prize came for his efforts to rebuild Europe after WWII. More recently Barack Obama was very dubiously was rewarded for his "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples."
In 1974 the winners were H. Kissinger and Le Duc Tho. The first of whom was far from being a peace promoter, and the second was a legendary bloodthirsty Vietcong leader. In 1984, Simon Peres, Isaac Rabin and Yasir Arafat, considered a terrorist leader, won the prize for efforts for peace in Middle East. This peace has never been reached. The 1993 Laureates were Nelson Mandela and Frederick de Klerk, because of South Africa´s democratization process. De Klerk a racist and "Apartheid" leader and far from democratic.
Of course there are many outstanding people and organizations deserving the prize. It is not my intention to discredit the institution, but to point out its sometimes problematic decisions.
Getting back to Mr Santos and according to set precedents, one might ask why the Colombian narco-guerrilla leader, Mr R. Londoño, alias "Timochenko," was not also awarded the prize as in similar bilateral situations. Some sources have said he was to be a co-recipient prior to the Colombian referendum, but when the peace agreement was rejected, Timochenko was disregarded at the last moment. Then it might be concluded, even if the argument sounds far-fetched, that if only one protagonist of the supposed peace treaty was named the winner, as he deserved more recognition for his efforts, this was probably because he actually gave more concessions, and consequently the Peace Nobel prize is to tacitly reward somebody who actually surrenders a democratic country to a terrorist and criminal group by means of an unbalanced and unfair peace agreement.
JE comments: This is a bittersweet victory for Juan Manuel Santos, although it will certainly give him addition legitimacy has he attempts to hammer out a new accord with FARC.
One thing that has long been in short supply in Colombia: peace. I congratulate Mr Santos.