On Monday morning, the first of the 250 victims of Colombia’s armed conflict landed in Cartagena in a military aircraft to attend the historic peace signing ceremony. The victims invited to the solemn ceremony in the historic Old City represent some of the 260,000 victims of the 52-year long conflict with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
By 11:30 a.m. a second group of 60 people who took on a flight from Cali also arrived at the Rafael Nuñez International Airport. The group was dressed in white, and among them were the victims group leaders, including the sister of Jaime Garzón, the prominent Colombian journalist who was assassinated in 1993.
Also in attendance is Emperatriz Castro de Guevara, the mother of police Coronel Juan Ernesto Guevara, who was kidnapped and died in captivity.
The directors of leading victims’ groups working in Colombia such as Asfamipaz, Asociación Colombiana de Familiares de Miembros de la Fuerza Pública Retenidos y Liberados por Grupos Guerrilleros, Senderos de Paz and Asociación Caminos de Esperanza de las Madres de la Candelaria are also present in Cartagena.
Most of the victims come from the departments of Caquetá, Putumayo, Antioquia, Huila, Nariño and Valle del Cauca.
Monday’s historic signing ends more than five decades of conflict between the Colombian government and the FARC. Colombia’s population must still vote to approve the agreement before it takes effect. That vote will take place next Sunday nationwide.