CARTAGENA, Colombia – The first group of victims who will attend the signing of the peace pact between the government and the FARC guerrillas arrived on Monday on a Colombian air force flight, a group including some of the most recognized faces from the half-century armed conflict.
Among those on board were Marisol Garzon, the sister of comedian and journalist Jaime Garzon, who was murdered in 1999, and the director of the Asfamipaz association of relatives of hostages taken by the rebels, Marleny Orjuela.
In addition, arriving at the Rafael Nuñez airport in Cartagena was Emperatriz Castro de Guevara, the mother of police Col. Julian Ernesto Guevara, who died while being held in captivity by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.
The victims of the conflict arrived along with a group of musicians and their instruments.
After landing, the group made no statements to reporters and boarded several buses that took them into the city where they will await the start of the signing ceremony at 5 p.m.
At that time at the city’s Julio Cesar Turbay Convention Center, President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC leader Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri, alias “Timochenko,” will sign the peace pact putting an end to more than 50 years of internal armed conflict.
More than 250 victims of the conflict are expected to arrive on three different flights, including one from Medellin and another from Cali. The one from Bogota is the one that landed earlier on Monday.
The 250 people represent all the groups of victims and among them are citizens from many of the country’s provinces, including Alberto Vidal, who suffered forced displacement, and Karen Grisales, the head of a project to appropriate urban areas.
Also attending will be Luz Eneida Navarro, who survived an attempt to kill her entire family and organized the “Paths of Peace” association; Esaud Lemus, who was also displaced; and Blanca Nelly Daza, a member of the “Caminos de Esperanza, Madres de la Candelaria” association that looks for young people who went missing during the conflict.