CARTAGENA, Colombia – Colombian Senate leader Mauricio Lizcano says the FARC must now make peace with the rest of Colombia, in the same way that victims like himself have pardoned FARC members so the nation may at last find peace.
“First of all, we Colombians expect full repentance by the FARC and that it beg pardon not only in individual cases, but massively, because all Colombians were victims. I also think they will find themselves forced to seek forgiveness from civil society,” Lizcano said in an interview with EFE in Cartagena.
Lizcano, senator of the Party of the U, knows well how FARC victims feel because his father, Oscar Tulio Lizcano, was abducted by the guerrilla group in August 2000 when he was a member of the House of Representatives, and was held captive for eight years until he escaped in October 2008.
“We have decided as a family that we have pardoned the FARC... and that pardon is liberating, it is a virtue that renews societies and we are ready to make peace,” he said.
The senator will see FARC commanders at Monday’s peace accord signing ceremony, and possibly some of those involved in kidnapping his father, about which he said: “I feel strange because this is a day I never thought I’d see.”
“I’ve never been face to face with those who kidnapped my dad or ordered him kidnapped. This will be a moment of many conflicted feelings,” he said.
He added that from now on, he and his family will undoubtedly meet up with members of the guerrilla group that is now reinventing itself as a political movement.
“I guess we’ll have to shake hands and speak a few words,” the Senate leader said, adding that in the case of his father, there will probably be “a special meeting this week with the FARC on the subject of pardon, possibly in Havana.”
His father is not the only case of a kidnapping in his family – his brother Juan Carlos Lizcano was also held six months by the National Liberation Army, or ELN, after Congressman Lizcano had been held four years by the FARC.
The Senate leader hopes that his compatriots who are skeptical about the peace agreement being signed Monday will see that it is the best alternative for ending the 52-year conflict that has steeped the country in blood, sorrow and death.
“The first thing I tell them is that they must believe a country at peace is undoubtedly better than a country at war, and those of us who have lived through this war, who have suffered from it – in my case, both my father and brother were kidnapped – we know the value of peace,” he said.
With the wisdom of age, though he is only 40, Lizcano, father of three youngsters for whom he desires a country at peace and without such tragedies as his family has suffered, asks: “If we who lived through this with all its suffering are ready to pardon and be reconciled and make peace, why can’t people who never experienced it do so?”