Colombia celebrates 204 years of Independence in full military fashion
Thousands of police, soldiers and other military personnel were out in full force in Bogota and other cities on July 20 to mark Colombia’s 204th year of independence.
The expansive parade that puts the country’s military might on show with thousands of soldiers, sailors and aircraft fly-overs was matched only by the thousands of spectators who came out to show their support for their country and its armed forces.
Though Colombia’s military might is put on display every July 20 to mark Independence Day, this year had the special significance of being the first year where a chance at peace was possible, according to President Juan Manuel Santos, who presided over the country’s biggest military parade in Bogota.
Santos used the day to highlight his government’s drive for a peace accord with Colombia’s largest guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Such an accord would put to rest 50-plus years of armed conflict, and bring Latin America’s oldest insurgency to an end.
“We want to turn the page of war forever, to a new, blank page of the future, a future that will be bright and happy,” Santos said last Sunday.
The head of state also used Colombia’s independence day to highlight the progress he made with the rebels in his first term.
“Our peace will be a just peace, a peace with truth, peace with reconciliation,” Santos said. “I want to assure you that … we have a future of real freedom. Freedom from poverty, freedom from backwardness, freedom from injustice, freedom from the war.”
By Mark Kennedy