Colombians in New York, polarized by the peace agreement with the FARC

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Like Colombians at home, those living in New York have also experienced the deep political polarization caused by the peace agreement between the government of President Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC guerrilla group.

Activists of both factions got involved in an aggressive campaign in the weeks prior to the plebiscite that took place in October 2. Besides hanging up posters in Colombian restaurants around New York City and using social media to spread their message, they also organized events aimed at informing fellow countrymen and women about the terms of the agreement and encouraging them to vote.

Some of these events included: a discussion with former Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez, one of the most fervent opponents to the agreement; an information session organized by Yes voters in Junction Boulevard, Queens; a celebration in Times Square on September 23, when President Santos and FARC Leader Rodrigo Londoño (alias Timochenko) officially signed the agreement in Cartagena, Colombia; and a heated debate in Jackson Heights, Queens, in which Yes and No voters exchanged their opinions.

In spite of their active campaigning, however, only 10 percent of Colombians in New York State went to the polls. Like in the homeland, the No also won by a very narrow margin. While 2,759 rejected the agreement, 2,649 accepted it, according to numbers by the Colombian Consulate in Manhattan.