AMERICA/COLOMBIA - The Bishops: "The FARC are not a political group, but a gang of terrorists"

Bogota (Agenzia Fides) - The President of the Episcopal Conference of Colombia, the Archbishop of Bogota, Mgr. Ruben Salazar Gomez, at the annual Assembly of the Bishops of the country declared that "the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) are no longer a political group, but a gang of terrorists" and demanded to put an end to terrorist attacks that do nothing but cause victims among innocent people. Mgr. Ruben Salazar Gomez also said that "the country can no longer resist so much pain, so many tears and so many innocent victims", then added: "We know there are many social problems, but how to solve them is not violence ".
Mgr. Salazar Gomez then referred to acts of terrorism unleashed by the FARC in the country last week, when, among other violent acts, a motorcycle detonated a bomb killing 18 people and a hundred were wounded. "The guerilla is suffering a terrible despair - said the Archbishop - and wants to get noticed, after having received hard blows with the death of 'Mono Jojoy' and 'Alfonso Cano' (see Fides 08/11/2011). These are the vagaries of the FARC, in which the only victims are the inhabitants of the country and innocent people".
From February 6 to 10, about 90 Bishops of Colombia are gathered in the assembly in Bogota, to analyze the national and ecclesial realities and promote appropriate intervention initiatives. Mgr. Salazar Gomez said that we live in a society with a "chronic, conflict, rooted in many events and situations that throughout our long history have created an unequal society, with very disturbing elements of structural injustice". His words, in his inaugural speech to the Assembly, were clear and strong: "The State is weak, with no effective presence throughout the national territory, and this has allowed the criminal forces to take much of the country by imposing its own law. The implementation of laws relating to the compensation of victims and the restitution of land to the dispossessed has revealed us a frightening map of millions of people who for various reasons, have been victims of abuse who have seriously violated their fundamental rights. We must take awareness, so that Colombia will definitely leave behind what has prevented the consolidation of peace and manages to implement the processes necessary to seek justice and solidarity, to ensure a real existence of all Colombians".
The President of the Episcopal Conference has declared that it is important "to seek with the help of all the ways to overcome social conflict and even to find ways to negotiate with the armed insurrection, to put an end to their senseless war and contribute to a common construction of a more just and more fraternal country and more solidarity".
The attacks last week were committed against police stations in the municipalities of Tumaco and Villa Rica, in the departments of Nariño and Cauca (southwest), and also against a hotel in the town of Cajamarca in Tolima department (central-west). (CE) (Agenzia Fides 07/02/2012)

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