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War Victims Take Center Stage in Colombia’s Ongoing Peace Talks

LADB Article ID: 79417
Category/Department: Colombia
Date: 2014-09-05
By: Andrés Gaudín

August 2014 is destined to be a key month in the history of Colombia thanks to crucial developments in the peace negotiations through which the government and the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) guerrilla army are hoping to end a half-century of internal war. One of those advances—something that would have been unimaginable just two years ago—took place Aug. 16, when an initial group of victims representing all sides in the conflict traveled to Havana, Cuba, which is hosting the talks, and presented their full reparations claims before delegates representing President Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC. For the first time in the war’s decades-long trajectory, soldiers and rebels met face to face—not to do battle but to discuss peace. The 12-person delegation of victims was the first of five such groups that will make the journey to give first-hand accounts of the consequences of the conflict, which include an estimated 220,000 deaths, 25,000 disappearances, and 27,000 abductions. In addition, some 5.7 million people have been displaced.

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