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Rebel music: FARC celebrate Colombia peace accord in concert


Colombia asks forgiveness for 1980s-era activist killings

Santos’ statement comes less than two weeks before he will sign a peace accord with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), whose members were killed following a previous peace agreement in the mid 1980s when they formed the Patriotic Union (UP) political party.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a Marxist guerrilla group launched in 1964, is holding its 10th national conference in El Caguan, its Switzerland-sized stronghold, to ratify a peace accord hashed out in almost four years of talks.

The leader of Colombia’s FARC rebels said Sunday a historic peace accord with the government has received the guerrillas’ “total support” at a conference where they will vote on the deal.

Starting Saturday, several hours from the town by a muddy and strut-busting dirt road, the FARC is holdings its 10th and final conference as a guerrilla army to ratify the agreement reached last month with government negotiators in Cuba.

Representatives from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) are expected to ratify the recently agreed accord at its tenth congress this week, the first ever open to the media.

The FARC’s leadership hopes the guerrillas will vote for peace. FARC rebels are gathering for a congress were delegates wil.

In video provided by the group, FARC Commander Timoleón Jiménez and the leaders of other major guerrilla blocs are seen arriving near the site of the conference.

The FARC-EP deserves warm congratulations for its principled struggle to win peace and social justice in Colombia, going back more than half a century to its origins in defence of rural working people under attack by landowners and armed gangs.

“If our adversaries want to tout they won the war, that’s up to them”, Timochenko said in his inaugural address, surrounded by all seven members of the FARC’s secretariat, its top decision-making body.

This the FARC’s 10th conference as a rebel army and the first not held in secret. “For the FARC, our greatest satisfaction will always be that peace has won”.

Some residents, still embittered by years of mortar attacks and kidnappings committed by the rebels, say they plan to vote against the peace deal in a referendum scheduled October 2.

Catatumbo said members have also voiced worries about finding their place in civilian life, getting their jailed comrades released and the trustworthiness of President Juan Manuel Santos’s government.

“I won’t be back in Colombia until Thursday and have an itinerary for every day because we are on campaign”, a visibly annoyed Santos told United States television network Univision when asked whether or not he would accept Uribe’s invitation.