Colombia’s Catholic church has urged alias “Alfonso Cano,” the FARC‘s supreme leader, to lay down his arms and negotiate a political and peaceful solution.
“To ‘Cano’ we extend a hand, the hand of a Colombian brother and son of God, in order that we may achieve peace; on the contrary, this is going to get worse for us [Colombians],” said Juan Vicente Cordoba, the secretary general of the Episcopal Conference of Colombia (CEC), newspaper El Tiempo reported Monday.
“The Catholic church is ready … to act as facilitators if the president permits it,” added Cordoba, stating that Cano knows that “violence only brings more violence and what Colombia needs is pardons,” and inviting the leader to “a dialogue if he will turn himself in.”
Of the FARC as a whole, Cordoba stated that, “They could create a political plan and form a party and enter elections, so that it would be the town [people] that decides if they should or shouldn’t hold leadership positions in the country,” Spanish news agency EFE reported.
Cano barely escaped an attack by Colombia’s armed forces on his base camp on Thursday, and is currently being pursued by 6,000 joint force members in the southern Tolima department, on the instructions of President Juan Manuel Santos.
The president stated of the FARC leader that “sooner or later is going to fall, as all of the FARC leaders are going to fall, as they have been falling.”
In this regard, Ruben Salazar, Bogota Archbishop and president of the CEC expressed regret that the government has resorted to a military offensive, but indicated that it is necessary, stating, “The ideal would be that these actions didn’t occur, that we could live in peace. But unfortunately we have to be spectators, with sadness and anguish, of what occurs in this type of military operation.”