A woman whose family was massacred by FARC guerillas has received a “heartfelt” apology from the chief peace negotiator of Colombia’s largest guerilla group during a break in the ongoing peace talks in Havana, Cuba, according to Colombia’s Semana news magazine.
On Saturday, one of the 12 representatives of victims of Colombia’s armed conflict participating in the Havana negotiations received an unexpected apology from FARC’s chief negotiator during a coffee break.
During a break in the day-long session, lead FARC negotiator Ivan Marquez approached Constanza Turbay to apologize for the 2000 massacre of her family at the hands of the FARC’s 14th Front.
“Marquez approached me with an air of sincerity and asked my forgiveness. It wasn’t a mechanical apology, it was an apology from the heart. He said what happened to my family was a mistake,” said Constanza Turbay, as reported in Semana news magazine.
In 2000, Turbay’s brother, Diego Turbay, their mother, and several others in their entourage were gunned down by 40 FARC guerillas on a highway in Colombia’s southern sate of Caqueta while in convoy to attend an official event.
When the convoy first stopped, Diego Turbay reportedly instructed his bodyguards to refrain from using their weapons before dismounting his vehicle to negotiate the situation with his attackers. He then identified himself as president of the Peace Commission of the Colombian House of Representatives.
The convoy was then mowed down by the guerillas. Turbay’s body was shot through with 42 bullets; and his mother and brother-in-law were each shot nine times.
FARC faces its victims
The first delegation of victims of Colombia’s armed conflict traveled to Cuba on August 15 to share their accounts of how FARC, government, and paramilitary attacks have affected them personally.
The delegation is the first of five groups of victims that will join the reparations discussion. Ultimately, 60 civilians who are victims of FARC, government, and paramilitary attacks will participate in the negotiations.
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