Pope in Colombia: 3 highlights

Bogota (AFP) –


Pope Francis landed in Colombia Wednesday to promote peace after decades of war.

Here are three highlights from day one of the Argentine pope's fifth papal visit to his native continent:

- 'Child of war' -

After stepping off his plane in Bogota, Francis was handed a sculpted peace dove by Emmanuel, a child who is seen as a symbol of the war.

Emmanuel was born in captivity in 2004 to Clara Rojas, a politician kidnapped by FARC rebels. His father was one of her captors.

"He is a child of war... He symbolizes what we are living through in Colombia: a child who was born in war but now has every chance of living in peace," said President Juan Manuel Santos.

- 'Pope, help Venezuela' -

Though his trip will focus on Colombia, Francis's first words were for its neighbor, Venezuela.

Francis called for "solidarity, justice and concord" and dialogue to settle Venezuela's deadly economic and political crisis.

Francine Howard, 32, a Venezuelan opposition leader in Colombia, called for Francis to intervene to provide humanitarian assistance to Venezuelans fleeing to Colombia.

- In-flight papal reporting -

Francis's 12-hour journey from Rome was the first time the pope's words have been reported direct from his plane.

Reporters were able to broadcast from the skies thanks to wireless internet on the Alitalia flight.

Excited Colombian reporters sent papal quotes and anecdotes about the trip. AFP filed several photographs of the pope greeting journalists.