Colombians look to back a peace accord with Marxist rebels in a referendum, the final hurdle for a deal that would end half a century of war and allows FARC fighters to re-enter society and form a political party. Gavino Garay reports.
Colombia president Juan Manuel Santos casts his ballot in a referendum ... on whether to ratify a historic peace agreement he signed with FARC rebel commander 'Timochenko' in late September. The vote asks Colombians a simple 'yes' or 'no' ... on whether to adopt the accord that could end half a century of guerilla war. Under the accord, the FARC, which say they fight for social justice, would lay down their weapons, and could compete in the 2018 presidential and legislative elections. Santos encouraged all Colombians to ignore the rain and head to the polls. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) COLOMBIAN PRESIDENT, JUAN MANUEL SANTOS, SAYING: "All of us Colombians have to vote on this historic day, because all Colombians can be protagonists of this historic change for our nation." But critics of the deal say the referendum gives impunity to FARC, which financed their struggle through drug trade, kidnappings and extortion. Polls show Colombians in favor of approving the referendum by some 66 percent. Some voters say an imperfect peace is better than war. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) COLOMBIAN VOTER, PAULA SOTO, SAYING: "I voted ´Yes´ because it gives me hope, I am a mother, a teacher, I have a young child and I want to leave him a different country." A vote that can give Colombians a sense of hope in the future, and put a past that has left millions displaced and nearly a quarter of a million people killed... behind them.