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Jose Correa has grown up seeing bombings and bullet holes. For most of his life he’s lived in Toribio, a town of just 2,000 residents, that has been attacked some 400 times by Colombia’s FARC guerrillas.
“You can’t really say you get used to it,” said Correa, who now serves as the deputy mayor of this war ravaged town in southwest Colombia. ‘But we don’t lose the hope of staying here, and living in this town in peace.”
With elections coming up in Colombia this Sunday, we decided to visit Toribio to assess the damage that the decades long war between the Colombian government and the marxist rebels has inflicted on this population, caught in the frontlines of the war.
President Juan Manuel Santos is asking Colombians to re-elect him so that he can finish off peace talks with the FARC rebels, which have been going on for the past 18 months.
But the inhabitants of Toribio are not entirely thrilled with Santos’ approach to peace. They want the army and the guerrillas to immediately leave their region and many residents plan to cast a blank ballot on Sunday, to protest ongoing attacks on their town.
Resistance to traditional parties is such, that few of them have ventured into this town.