EspañolThe first delegation of victims of the Colombian civil war traveled to the Cuban capital on Friday, where they meet with members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Colombian government.
The group of 12 victims met directly with the FARC for the first time on Saturday and have stated they are willing to forgive their crimes in order to end half a century of civil war. Moreover, they urged delegates from both the Colombian government and the FARC to not leave the negotiating table until a lasting peace agreement is reached.
“If we who have been directly affected by violence can take this step and have this encounter, why can’t the rest of the country? Why can’t the rest of the country forgive?” said Constanza Turbay, whose entire family was killed by the FARC.
The FARC kidnapped one of Turbay’s brothers in 1997, who then died while in the custody of the guerrilla. Members of the FARC also assassinated her other brother, the president of a peace commission, along with their mother and five other people in 2000.
Turbay said Iván Márquez, FARC’s second in command, asked for her forgiveness during their meeting in Havana with “feelings of sincerity.”
Sixty people in total have been selected to join the negotiations in Cuba over the next few weeks. So far, there have been agreements made on three of the six items on the peace agenda: land reform, political participation, and drug trafficking.
Once both sides reach an agreement regarding reparations for the victims, they will negotiate the remaining two issues: disarmament and the implementation process of the peace deal.
In the last 50 years, the armed conflict has forced the displacement of over 3 million people, most of them civilians.
The Colombian government launched peace negotiations in October 2012 in Havana and have stated FARC must renounce their armed struggle and join the legal political process.