Pope Francis, in Colombia, travels to former war zone of Villavicencio

Pope Francis, in Colombia, travels to former war zone of Villavicencio”

Pope Francis's call to Colombians to overcome what he called the "understandable" temptation of vengeance, is key to the divided country's reconstruction, as is the inclusion of many groups of victims of the conflict in the government's plan for a peaceful future.

'Very few people know that Colombia has the world's highest number of internally displaced people (IDPs) and that these 7 million people are suffering tremendously, because being displaced affects all aspects of life, including communities, rights and education.

The top leader of the FARC's now political party, Rodrigo Londoño Echeverry, alias "Timochenko", asked for forgiveness from Pope Francis for the pain caused to thousands of victims during the course of the armed conflict in Colombia.

The pope also emphasized the importance of family - "envisioned by God to be the fruit of spousal love" - as a source of social cohesion and "that place where we learn to live with others despite our difference and to belong to one another".

In a gesture likely to mark the deep symbolism of the trip, he was presented on the tarmac with a commemorative peace dove by a youth who was born in a jungle camp to a guerrilla father and a politician mother after she was taken captive by FARC rebels in 2002. Just days before the visit, the National Liberation Army, a Marxist organization carrying out crimes like kidnap and bombings, and the government agreed to a four-month cease-fire.

Many are furious that under last year's peace deal, FARC leaders accused of kidnapping, displacements and murder will avoid jail sentences and instead may receive seats in congress as members of a civilian political party.

Pope Francis will officiate today his first camp mass at this capital " s Simon Bolivar Park, in which about one million parishioners eager for his message of peace are expected to attend.

"Over the past year, significant progress has been made".

The Guyana Peace Council (GPC) welcomes recent developments in Colombia signalling a further consolidation of efforts at peaceful reconciliation among guerrilla movements and the Government of Colombia. "It is an endeavor challenging us not to weaken our efforts to build the unity of the nation". Uribe has bitterly denounced Santos' peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, likening it to an act of appeasement of terrorists. "Ending the war is worthless if we still see each other as enemies". That's why were need to reconcile. "War follows the basest instincts of our heart, whereas peace forces us to rise above ourselves". "This first step by the Pope, stepping off the flight to come closer to this nation, which has suffered, is something for us that opens the door to hope".

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