Despite not having yet been formally signed, the peace agreement reached between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the government of Juan Manuel Santos is already making things that were once impossible possible again.
Fate of Colombia 'in Your Hands,' FARC Leader Tells Guerrillas
Hundreds of members of the rebel organization gathered this weekend in a remote region of Colombia in an area known as the Yari Plains to participate in the week-long 10th National Guerrilla Conference, their last as an armed movement.
Among those participating was Bladimir, a young combatant with five years of service with the guerrillas. His mother, Judith, had not seen her son since he left to join the rebels half a decade ago.
In an interview with Blu Radio, Judith said she suspected he would be at the conference and set out to find him.
Judith's journey to the Yari Plains would take her halfway across the country, including 10 hours of walking and a fortuitous encounter with journalists who were on their way to the same locale to cover the conference.
“And I said it, I'll go in a car, and I traveled with 40 journalists and they helped me arrive there because I said that I was searching for a son. I had faith that I would find him alive,” Judith told Blu Radio.
Sure enough, Bladimir was alive and well, participating in the conference that would see his rebel organization begin the transition to a legal political organization.
They embraced, marking their first encounter in five years with a long hug.
FARC Leader: Peace Deal Overwhelmingly Supported by Guerrillas
Judith, who lost four children to Colombia's five-decade long armed conflict, spoke in favor of the peace deal.
“As mothers we suffer for our children. Both the mothers of guerrilla fighters and the mother of soldiers, we all suffer the same. I am grateful for this peace that has happened. We are no longer going to suffer anymore,” said Judith.
The final peace agreement will be signed on Sept. 26 in a ceremony held in Cartagena de Indias after almost four years of negotiations between the government and the rebels in Havana, Cuba.
The peace accords will then be subject to approval in a plebiscite on Oct. 2 that will ask Colombians whether or not they accept the final deal.