Colombia: Catholics share in new mood of optimism for peace process
(Vatican Radio) The people of Colombia are hoping and praying that the government and the biggest rebel group, the FARC, can eventually reach agreement on a comprehensive peace accord after over 40 years of conflict. The two sides recently announced an agreement on one of their most contentious issues, land reform, after months of negotiations. The conflict between the Bogota government and FARC rebels has killed over 100,000 people and forcibly displaced more than 5 million others. Monsignor Hector Fabio is President of Caritas Colombia and closely follows the Colombian peace process. He spoke to Vatican Radio’s Susy Hodges.
Listen to the extended interview with Monsignor Hector Fabio.
Monsignor Fabio says this preliminary agreement between the Colombian government and the FARC represents a “very significant moment” as “land reform is the core issue” of the peace negotiations. He goes on to explain how more than 5 million people have been internally displaced by the conflict and most of those lost all their lands. There is also the uneven distribution of land throughout Colombia with him estimating that around 1 percent of the population own or occupy most of the land.
Monsignor Hector says there is “a lot of hope” among the Colombian people for a successful outcome of the ongoing peace talks between the government and the FARC rebels and points out that the preliminary agreement on land reform has also been welcomed by the nation’s Catholic bishops. It’s “an historic moment for our country,” he says, but adds that many “difficult” and outstanding issues remain to be resolved on the path towards full peace.