On February 4th, 2008, millions peacefully marched in Colombia and in more than 140 cities around the world against FARC terrorists. After decades of death and destruction brought about by Colombian guerillas, the country, its people and the world made a unified stand demanding in a single voice, an end to the lies, kidnappings, killings and atrocities.
For over 50 years, a complex and violent tragedy has overwhelmed Colombia. I am delighted to finally witness extensive coverage by the international media of this terrible humanitarian crisis. With this march, all levels of society in Colombia and the world have unequivocally stated that the terrorism of FARC and other revolutionary groups does not represent the voice nor the will of the people. Over the recent past, we witnessed how the Colombian government moved to crush FARC terrorists on the border with Ecuador and how this created an unintended crisis in the region. For several uneasy days in the month of April, the outlook of war in South America was deemed menacing and very real as neighboring governments rattled sabers while ordering the movement of troops to the Colombian border. As this crisis unfolded and diplomacy ultimately prevailed, it brought about a most positive outcome in the fight against drug trafficking and terrorism. Colombia had the opportunity to clearly voice to the world the horror of the tragedy it continues to face.
It is important to mention that in May 2004, the UN announced that Colombia's 39-year-long drug war had created the worst humanitarian crisis in the Western Hemisphere. More than 2 million people have been forced to leave their homes. Colombia now possesses the third-largest displaced population in the world, with only Sudan and Congo having more. Several estimates also indicate that Colombia currently has over 5 million expatriates living abroad.
The predicament of recent days has become the catalyst Colombia needed to make a final case against the continued criminality of guerilla terrorists and those states that sponsor them. Like so many other Colombians, I too, was forced out of the country by the madness brought about by organized criminals such as FARC, which hide behind a deceitful and otherwise false political agenda. These and other narco-terrorists plunged my country into a period of utter darkness of which we are yet to surface. In a minor degree, I experienced in my own flesh the horror of the desolation of countless Colombians. The world does not understand the Colombian tragedy and diaspora. I was delivered from violence and death by a most unexpected hand. My memoir, "Blessings Given," hopes to be a voice for the many who have not.