Colombian Cardinal: 'Drug trafficking has turned the country into a nest of death'

The newly appointed Cardinal Luis José Rueda has not lost hope of achieving peace in Colombia. The Archbishop of Bogotá says that the Church has a lot to contribute to the reconciliation process within the country, which the different governments have been trying to promote for years.

The Colombian cardinal expressed his regret that the country's internal conflict has turned farmers, indigenous people and Afro-Colombians into victims, and that it has made disappearances, kidnappings and homicides common.

"There is still much to be done," Cardinal Rueda said. "And there are two or three aggravating factors, but the main one is drug trafficking, which has turned Colombia into a nest of death, into an economy that destroys and into an economy that leads to clashes between groups in the regions for power in drug trafficking and puts the civilian population in the middle."

Faced with this situation, the new cardinal says that the Church plays a fundamental role in reconciliation because it can assist in the path that leads to acknowledging one's mistakes and making peace with one's personal history.

"The Church has always done this because she is convinced that conflicts—the social conflict that is at the root of armed conflict—can be solved through dialogue and not through weapons. And this has led the Church to commit itself to all peace processes," he said.

Cardinal Rueda encourages breaking the “unhealthy polarizations” that prevent people from seeing each other as brothers and sisters. He explains that this is fundamental for the reconciliation process in Colombia.