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  • A man displays a banner promoting peace near the General Santander Police School in Bogota, Colombia, Jan. 17, 2018.

    A man displays a banner promoting peace near the General Santander Police School in Bogota, Colombia, Jan. 17, 2018. | Photo: EFE

Published 19 January 2019

Social leaders say continuing with the peace process talks is the best way to prevent further violence in Colombia.

Civil society's support for the continuation of Colombia's peace process became more visible Friday through the words of 'War Victims' in the Department of Casanare.

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Colombia: Duque Calls on Cuba to Hand Over ELN Peace Delegation

Previously, President Ivan Duque demanded that Cuba hand over the National Liberation Army (ELN) peace delegation. The president's request came after a car bomb exploded Thursday at the General Santander Police School (EPGS) in Bogota, killing 21 people and injuring 68.

"I get upset when I hear the dialogue will be broken. We feel very much the death of these people, but we do not want a labyrinth where our children will have to suffer again another war like the one we suffered... I do want no more war, please," Ana, a Casanare's victim of violence, pleaded with tears in her eyes, as reported by El Espectador.

According to this Colombian newspaper, the chairman of the Peace Commission, Senator Roy Barreras, stated that Casanare's social organizations advocate for a peaceful solution to the armed conflict.

"Mr. President Ivan Duque I share with you the pain, the indignation and the anger of the Colombians before the atrocious terrorist attack, but I ask you before your pronouncement that you do not close all spaces for dialogue. The dialogue deactivates car bombs and future violence!"

"Although what happened in Bogota is very painful, it would be more painful to see more deaths, difficulties and wars in Colombia. This would be much, much more painful for the farmers," Jairo Tapias, a Casanare's social leader, said from Yopal, a small municipality that suffered 405 targeted killings of social leaders during the last 60 years of the Colombian armed conflict, according to El Diario del Llano.

El Espectador also reported that Danilo Leal, another Casanare community leader, said that the EPGS tragedy "gives us anger but... we must make cold-headed decisions. If an eight-year effort to foster peace has already been made, the best thing to do is let waters calm down... afterward [President Duque should] make a decision that suits the country."

Senator Barreras, who contributed to the negotiation process between the Colombian government and the ELN, also joined the demands of the population.

"It is necessary to persevere in the quest for peace, maintain calm and keep going... We have no right to inherit our grandchildren and children a country full of violence, fear and attacks. We have an obligation to deliver them a better country."

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