Things you expect to happen: beauty queens to dream aloud of world peace. Things you don’t expect to happen: an armed rebel group to invite said beauty queen to crucial peace talks. Via Reuters:
Colombia’s Marxist FARC rebels have invited the newly-crowned Miss Universe Paulina Vega, a native of the country’s Caribbean coast, to attend their peace negotiations with the government, a bid to end 50 years of fighting. The 22-year-old Vega, a business student and model from the northern city of Barranquilla, was named Miss Universe in late January and has said in interviews that she would be willing to travel to the talks.
“We have read with interest your desire to contribute with your good works to reaching peace,” the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, said in a statement on their website late on Friday. “We salute your willingness to travel to Havana, at this time we invite you to make a visit,” added the FARC, which has been holding negotiations with the government in Cuba since late 2012.
The rebels did not specify how Vega’s presence would help things. Vega, meanwhile, hasn’t responded to the invite.
FARC has been waging guerrilla war against the Colombian government for the past five decades. More than 200,000 people—most of them civilians—are believed to have been killed since the group began their armed struggle in 1964. Recent years have brought signs of hope, however, with the rebels and the government engaging in peace talks. Those negotiations, which are being conducted in Cuba, have hashed out tentative compromises on things like land reform, according to the BBC, but have stopped short of brokering lasting peace.