ORIGINALLY FROM BOGOTÁ, COLOMBIA, DANIELA FRANCO IS FEATURES EDITOR FOR THE DESERT SUN, A USA TODAY AND GANNETT PUBLICATION, BASED OUT OF PALM SPRINGS, CALIFORNIA.

SHE HAS PREVIOUSLY WRITTEN FOR NBC NEWSTHE NEW YORK TIMES STUDENT JOURNALISM INSTITUTE AND TAKEPART.COM.

SHE STUDIED JOURNALISM, SOCIOLOGY AND LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES AT NEW YORK UNIVERSITY'S GALLATIN SCHOOL OF INDIVIDUALIZED STUDY.

Viewpoint: Colombia’s future rests in citizens’ hands

Viewpoint: Colombia’s future rests in citizens’ hands

This past Monday, I sat in front of a computer screen in California and watched as Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC leader Rodrigo “Timochenko” Londoño signed a peace agreement four years in the making, marking the end of a five-decade war, Latin America’s longest.

“We’ve lived, we’ve suffered for 52 years in an armed conflict between sons of the same nation,” Santos said during a ceremony with 2,500 foreign dignitaries and guests. “The horrible night of violence that has covered us with its shadow for more than half a century has ended.”

“Let’s open our hearts to the new dawn, to the bright sun and full of possibilities that are hovering Colombia’s sky,” he added.

olding back tears, I watched as the crowds dressed in white shouted “Si se pudo” (Yes we could) and wished I could have been there, surrounded by other Colombians.

I was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia, and I have never been in a warless Colombia. Neither has my mother.

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