Posted by: Paula Delgado-Kling | December 6, 2011

“… do not make children like me suffer from this war.”

Today, Colombians and friends of Colombia march for a country free of violence.

It would be poignant to remember the words of 12-year-old Johan Steven Martínez, whose father, Libio José Martínez, a sargeant in the armed forces, was shot dead by the FARC when surprised by the armed forces. Martinez’s body, along with two others, were found November 26.

Johan was born soon after his father was kidnapped on December 21, 1997 in a military base in Patascoy, near the boundaries of Nariño and Putumayo departments.

Johan said, “Señores of the FARC, on November 26, you broke my wings, you broke my dream, my desire to meet my father personally, to give each other that hug I’ve most wished for during thirteen years, eleven months and five days.

Señores of the FARC, I did not expect that you would kill him, that you would send him to me in a coffin. I wanted to see him, I wanted him to give me that hug that I so desired. Those moments you took away from me, unfortunately, are no longer possible.

I say, free the rest of the hostages. Do not make Colombia suffer anymore, do not make children like me suffer from this war, this pain in which I find myself. It is time you put down your guns and free the hostages.”

To his father, he said, “I love you very much. I send you much strength, much, much strength. I send you the blessing of ‘Papito Dios.’ I am going to pray for your soul. That ‘Papito Dios’ receives you in heaven.”

In 2010, Johan wrote a letter to then-FARC leader Alfonso Cano. He wrote, “Señor Alfonso Cano, I know that you must have children, and at some point you share happy and sad moments in which you can give them your support.”

Johan’s father, Sargeant Martínez, was the hostage held for the longest time. Those still kidnapped are:

Sargeant Róbinson Salcedo Guarín
Sargeant Luis Alfredo Moreno
Sargeant Luis Alfonso Beltrán
Quarter Master General Carlos José Duarte
Sargeant César Augusto Lasso
Sargeant José Libardo Forero
Quarter Master General Wilson Rojas Medina
Quarter Master General Luis Hernando Peña Bonilla
Quarter Master General Jorge Trujillo Solarte
Sargeant Luis Arturo Arcía

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