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Colombian cardinal welcomes peace progress, calls on guerillas to take further steps

July 06, 2016

Cardinal Rubén Salazar Gómez of Bogota welcomed a guerilla leader’s decision to stop levying a “revolutionary tax” in areas under his movement’s control.

The Colombian conflict, which began in 1964, has claimed an estimated 260,000 lives. An additional 45,000 have disappeared, and 6 million have been displaced from their homes. Colombia’s president and the leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) signed a cease-fire in Havana on June 23.

“Little by little FARC is entering civil life and reinserting itself into society,” said Cardinal Rubén Salazar Gómez of Bogota, who called upon the movement to take the additional steps of ceasing to recruit new members and beginning to “dismantle its military structures.”

The prelate, who serves as president of the Latin American Episcopal Conference (CELAM), also called upon a smaller guerilla organization, the National Liberation Army (ELN), to abandon violence and negotiate with the government.

 
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