Pope Francis says he brings message of hope to Colombia

Rapping nun plans to welcome Pope Francis with a song during Colombia visit

Pope Francis set off on Wednesday for Colombia, a country plagued by violence for five decades that has since emerged as a regional leader following a hard-fought peace process with left-wing militias.

In a gesture likely to mark the deep symbolism of the trip, he was given a commemorative peace dove sculpted by an adolescent youth born in a jungle camp to a rebel father and a politician mother after she was taken captive by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia in 2002.

Uribe, along with many others, argues that the deal with the FARC isn't tough enough on the rebels, since it doesn't include opposition demands that they serve traditional jail sentences and be barred from forming political parties.

According to local authorities, an estimated two million people so far have welcomed Francis along the nine-mile pope-mobile route to the residence he's staying in while in Colombia.

His motorcade moved slowly from the airport to the Vatican embassy in central Bogota, the Colombian capital.

"It's not the law of the most powerful, but rather the power of the law, approved by all, that regulates peaceful coexistence", Francis said, adding that just as laws are needed that can ensure harmony and help overcome conflicts, there also are laws required not because they respond to a pragmatic need to order society.

On the first full day of his four-city tour, the Argentine pontiff, 80, is scheduled to meet with young people and with President Juan Manuel Santos to discuss his aim of sealing a "complete peace".

"This is the peace we are constructing", he told the Pope. "There's no point in ending a war, if we still see one another as enemies".

While trying to reconcile the country politically divided by decades of armed conflict, the church has insisted the visit has mainly religious purposes. He said Colombia's young must face the challenge of "passing onto us the youthful hope which is always ready to give others a second chance".

"I'm convinced that the only way out of the conflict is dialogue", said Dairo Usuga, appearing publicly for the first time, in a video published on social media.

Pope Francis will officiate today his first camp mass at Bogota's Simon Bolivar Park, in which about one million parishioners eager for his message of peace are expected to attend.

"I ask you to pray also for Venezuela, so that there may be dialogue and the country may regain a good stability through dialogue with all", Francis told journalists, as quoted by the ANSA news agency. He will travel later in the week to the cities of Villavicencio, Medellin and Cartagena.

On Thursday Francis will meet with Santos and Catholic leaders.

And the meeting will be framed by one of the most poignant symbols of the conflict: the mutilated Christ statue that was rescued from a church in the western town of Bojaya after a FARC mortar attack in 2012. At least 79 people died and 100 were injured.

"This trip is special because it is a visit to help Colombia to continue forward on the path of peace".

Pope Francis has arrived in Colombia. Both used their visits to show solidarity with victims of violence, discrimination and poverty and to urge government authorities to fix the structural and societal problems that have made Colombia one of the most unequal countries in Latin America.

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