Santos leads march for peace in Colombia
Tuesday, 09 April 2013 21:10
Posted by Muhammad Iqbal
BOGOTA: Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos led a march for peace through Bogota Tuesday, calling for an end to decades of armed conflict at a time when peace talks in Havana are under fire from his predecessor Alvaro Uribe.
Hundreds of soldiers joined Santos and his cabinet ministers at the Plaza of the Fallen Heroes, one of seven starting points for the march by thousands of people, many of them in white T-shirts and carrying white flags.
"We have to end this nightmare of 65 years," said Santos, referring to the 1948 assassination of liberal leader Jorge Eliecer Gaitan, which ignited a long period of political unrest known as "La Violencia."
Santos has opened peace talks with the FARC, a leftist guerrilla group founded in 1964 that grew out of the lawlessness and ideological divisions of the period along with right-wing paramilitary groups and drug trafficking organizations.
But Santos' peace overtures have encountered stiff resistance from Uribe, a conservative hardliner who sought to destroy the FARC militarily during his 2002-2010 presidency, in which Santos served as defense minister.