OSLO – Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos received on Saturday the Nobel Peace Prize in the City Hall of Oslo, Norway, an award he dedicated to his country and the victims of the 50-year-long armed conflict.
Santos said the war that had caused so much suffering and anguish among the population of the South American nation had ended, going on to defend the need to construct stable and long-lasting peace.
The award showed Colombia had made possible the impossible by ending the war, Santos said, describing winning the award as a “gift fallen from heaven.”
He recalled above all the more than 8 million victims and displaced people as well as more than 220,000 people who lost their lives during the conflict.
Santos was awarded for his “resolute efforts” in bringing Colombia’s civil war to an end.
His Nobel Peace Prize win came shortly after the “no” vote prevailed in a referendum on the first peace accord between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla group.
This setback was used to open a national dialogue and arrive at a better agreement, which was approved by Congress at the end of November.
The Colombian president praised the countries that had supported the negotiations, above all Norway, as well as the armed forces and those directly involved in the peace talks.
The FARC negotiators had shown a “great will” for peace, he said, adding that without this, “the process would have failed.”
Victims of the conflict were present at the ceremony, including Leyner Palacios, a survivor of the Bojaya massacre in which more than 100 people were killed in May 2002 – including 32 of his family members – when FARC guerrillas seized the Colombian town.
The laureate also used the occasion to stress the “urgent need” to reestablish strategy in the fight against drugs on an international level.