Colombia's foreign minister has addressed the Organization of American States in Washington, D.C., saying his nation is one of heroes and victims.

Foreign Minister Fernando Araujo told OAS delegates he himself was a victim of guerrilla violence in Colombia, held for six years by the FARC rebel group. He said his time in captivity taught him to believe in the importance of one's attitude when facing trouble.

Araujo said Colombia's problems have been generated by poverty, and he expressed confidence in that nation's people to overcome those problems.

The foreign minister said he meets many other people who tell him they, too, were victims of rebel kidnappings. He said Colombian soldiers are the heroes of the nation because they give their lives so other Colombians can be free.

FARC rebels have been fighting to overthrow the Colombian government for more than four decades.