This could so easily have been the best news story in a year when the world seems especially fraught with conflict and misery. The two main signatories of a historic agreement to end the longest war in the western hemisphere, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC rebel leader Rodrigo Londoño, were even being tipped for the Nobel Peace Prize (Santos has since won the award, for his efforts).
Then came the result of the plebiscite on the peace accord – and the devastating realization that 50.2 per cent of Colombian voters had ticked the ‘NO’ box. Our Big Story for this month looks at what happens now to Colombia’s tortuous peace process – and finds reason for hope.
We also pick over two subjects that are in and out of the news with some regularity. The first is the question of a universal basic income – usually seen as ‘a good thing’ on the Left. But is there a destructive agenda at work behind its championing by sections of the Right? And then there’s PrEP, the medication that could drastically cut HIV transmission. Should it be readily available and publicly funded? And for whom?
There’s much more besides – a frontline report from Burma’s drug crisis, the views of Dutch physicians who perform euthanasia, and a fascinating exploration of why commercial competition almost always does a disservice to technical innovation. Lively thinking in sober prose.
Vanessa Baird & Dinyar Godrej for the New Internationalist co-operative.
Another shock referendum result – this time in Colombia. Tatiana Garavito assesses the chances of ending the longest conflict in the western world.
The chief negotiator had been clear. If voters did not ratify the peace accord between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the government, then the country would be left staring into an ‘abyss’. There was no Plan B.
And on the night of 2 October it looked as if that abyss had opened up as the ‘no’ vote won by the narrowest of margins – 50.2 to 49.8 per cent.
Against the expectations of pollsters, the ‘no’ campaign, led by ex-president Álvaro Uribe, managed to convince ...
Britain’s long-term commitment to nuclear disarmament has been wobbly at best, but things might have to change soon, writes Kjølv Egeland.