BOGOTA – Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Sunday announced that he will donate the 8 million Swedish crowns (some $950,000) he will receive along with the Nobel Peace Prize to victims of the internal conflict in his country.
“We’re going to donate eight million Swedish crowns so that the victims get reparations,” said Santos at a religious ceremony held in the northwestern town of Bojaya, the site of one of the worst massacres committed by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, guerrillas during the conflict.
This is Santos’s first trip around Colombia since it was announced that he had been selected to receive the Peace Prize, and he attended Sunday Mass in Bojaya, accompanied by his wife and children, where he dedicated the award to the “millions” of victims of the conflict
“We’re going to decide on projects, foundations and programs that have to do with the victims and reconciliation,” Santos said amid applause from those in attendance, who – like the president – were dressed in white and many of whom carried signs alluding to the Nobel.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee on Friday announced that it was awarding the Peace Prize to Santos in support of the Colombian leader’s decision to invite all parties to participate in a broad national dialogue so that the peace process between the government and the FARC would not die, despite the recent “No” referendum vote by the Colombian people on the pact.
Santos will receive the prize on Dec. 10 in Oslo.
On May 2, 2002, FARC guerrillas fired a gas canister at the town’s church, where townspeople had taken refuge from the fighting that was going on in the area at the time. The attack killed 79 people in the church.