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FARC rebels celebrate 1st New Year in peace

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  • Sun, 01/01/2017 - 16:04
Photograph showing FARC guerrillas at a camp in northern Colombia preparing tamales
  • Photograph showing FARC guerrillas at a camp in northern Colombia preparing tamales
  • EFE

BOGOTA.- "Instead of a rifle in my hands, I want to carry a flower," sang the guerrillas of the FARC's 59th Front at dawn on Jan. 1, celebrating their first New Year at peace in northern Colombia after 52 years of armed conflict.

At a camp located near the village of Conejo in the Caribbean province of La Guajira, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas welcomed the New Year with the certainty that it would be the last time they would be out in the bush with rifles, a celebration that EFE was able to attend.

The celebration included a dinner with pork, chicken, donuts, sweets and chocolates, as well as dance to the sounds of Colombian tropical music.

At midnight, when the whole country welcomed 2017, the FARC guerrillas fused into a collective embrace and the best wishes were transmitted for the year that begins.

Silfrido Mendoza, alias of a 38-year-old guerrilla, 24 of them in the FARC, explained to Efe that being able to celebrate this first year-end on the verge of leaving arms "is a dream that is finally living and marks a point Of departure so that from now on can be further consolidated the longed for peace.

"This was hope for us all the time and finally it was given," Mendoza added in the camp where they are gathered waiting for them to be ordered to move to the transitional zone of normalization (ZVTN) of Pondores, near Rabbit , Where they will make the transition from armed struggle to life in society.

To these areas, 20 in total, plus six smaller camps, the guerrillas should have arrived last December, but logistical problems led the Government and the FARC to postpone their mobilization until this January.

At the camp where they are pre-grouped in Conejo, the atmosphere was festive and hopeful on this first day of 2017.

"We think that with the support of the Colombians we can achieve the peace dream that we have and for which we are working," added Mendoza.

The guerrilla confesses that he expects to be reunited very soon with his parents whom he has not seen for 22 years when, according to him, because of "Army pressure" he had to enter the FARC to "save his life".

EFE

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