Juan Manuel Santos is not a grassroots advocate for disarmament and the abolition of war. He’s someone who has used war but been willing to turn to peace. He is not in need of funding for his work toward global disarmament and peace because he doesn’t do such work and because he is wealthy. He also is one side of a very tentative and precarious peace effort; why the Nobel Committee would give a prize to one side only in such a situation without considering the harm it could do to the process I do not know.
This is a better pick than many other recent picks, which have gone to either major war makers like Barack Obama or the European Union or to do-gooders whose good deeds were not related to war and peace at all, like Kailash Satyarthi, Malala Yousafzai, or Liu Xiaobo.
But this pick follows the pattern of giving the prize to high office holders rather than peace activists that has plagued the Nobel for decades.
Fredrik Heffermehl, whose writings and lawsuits have brought attention to the routinely violated requirements of Alfred Nobel’s will, said today: “The prize for 2016 addresses the plight of the Colombian people and encourages dialogue as a road to end long years of terrible suffering. The committee, however, makes a false claim that Juan Manuel Santos, a former minister of defense and believer in military strength, is a winner in the spirit and idea of Nobel. Nobel had a much more ambitious idea, he wished to support global peace through a common security plan, where all nations must co-operate on the reduction and abolition of all armaments. The Nobel Peace Prize Watch has published all suited candidates, the guidelines for evaluation and the full nomination letters on our website, nobelwill.org. We ask people to check our guidelines and make good nominations for 2017.”