As a war-hardened veteran of Colombia’s FARC guerrillas, Roberto Méndez isn’t given to showing much emotion. But his eyes watered and his heart pounded in his chest when he heard the man who had led him in war talk about a future of peace.
“It was very emotional hearing [Farc commander-in-chief] Timochenko and imagining what peace will look like,” said Méndez, a member of Latin America’s largest rebel group which has vowed to give up its guns in a peace deal with the government.
The Farc leadership and delegates from its units across the country came together in this remote region of Colombia this week for their 10th “guerrilla conference” to ratify the peace accord reached last month, to plan their future – and to party.
Timochenko, whose real name is Rodrigo Londoño, opened the conference by telling his troops that there were no winners or losers in the war they have fought against the state for 52 years.
“For the FARC and our people, our greatest satisfaction is that we won the peace,” he said at the opening of the conference held on a muddy hillock surrounded by grasslands that dip into tropical forest.
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