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Timochenko assures that facing the past made him discover a FARC that he came to hate

The leader of the FARC party, Rodrigo Londoño, ‘Timochenko’, during an appearance.Mauricio Dueñas Castañeda / EFE

Facing the past and acknowledging the mistakes, the crimes committed by the FARC, gave him back a different image than the one he had during the armed conflict. Less accommodating and more real. Rodrigo Londoño, Timochenko, The top leader of the extinct guerrilla, today a political party, said Tuesday that he discovered an organization that he came to hate. “FARC are being set up that I come to hate, because they have nothing to do with the FARC that I joined,” he said. in an interview on Caracol Radio. The former commander also apologized for the recruitment of minors and forced abortions carried out by the former insurgent group.

Londoño’s reflections, in a conversation with journalist Diana Calderón, have to do with the challenge of contesting decades of a life. With regret, but also with the vertigo of assuming moral responsibilities. The ex-combatant assures that the fact that he denied the recruitment of minors before the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), a version that circulated last week, was “a montage” interested in the sectors critical of the peace agreement, reached ago. four years by the Government of Juan Manuel Santos. Timochenko does maintain that there are facts that he did not know and that he still does not know. “You have to internalize things that one did not know […] When I heard for the first time that the FARC forced women to abort, I thought it was propaganda, that it was to disqualify us, but to the extent that I was able to talk and investigate, I am sure that women were forced to abort, that seems to me a crime that has no justification, no explanation, “he acknowledged.

The leader of the Common Revolutionary Alternative Force stated just a year ago in an interview with EL PAÍS that his organization committed “atrocities.” “That is the name, the atrocities that were committed. In a meeting with victims, I said ‘those are not the FARC that I joined’. Wars are having dynamics that even get out of the hands of their protagonists ”, he admitted. Londoño and the former guerrilla leaders who remain faithful to the agreements reached in Havana are reeling off their mistakes more directly. “Now we are beginning to learn to speak and ask for forgiveness,” continued Timochenko, who days ago learned that one of his current escorts was forcibly recruited when he was 13 years old. “It is time to ask for forgiveness with all my heart from Colombian society.”

These words are added to a statement in which, on Monday, the former guerrilla leadership apologized to its victims of kidnapping. “We want to tell you that the kidnapping was a very serious mistake that we can only regret,” say eight former commanders, former members of the guerrilla Secretariat, in a statement. “The kidnapping only left a deep wound in the souls of those affected and mortally wounded our legitimacy and credibility. Having made that decision, in the exceptional circumstances of the irregular war and seeking to balance forces, we had to drag this burden that until today weighs on the conscience and on the heart of each and every one of us ”, abounds in the text released by the party FARC.

The ex-combatants admit that the systematic kidnapping was an attack not only against freedom, but also the dignity of the victims. “Today we understand the pain we cause to so many families – sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, brothers and friends – who lived through hell waiting to hear from their loved ones; imagining if they would be healthy and in what conditions they would be subjected to continue life far from their affections, their projects, their worlds. We take away the most precious thing: their freedom and their dignity. We can imagine the deep pain and anguish of the sons and daughters of so many kidnapped by the FARC-EP, ”the letter states.

The process that victims, such as former presidential candidate Íngrid Betancourt, have gone through, actually reflects that this pain is unimaginable. But the admission of guilt, the signs of repentance such as those manifested to the microphones of Snail Radio, represent a decisive step so that, apart from forgiveness, which is an intimate and individual act of those affected, Colombia moves towards reconciliation.