With the playing of its anthem, FARC, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, opened its last general conference as a rebel army after more than five decades of conflict.
CCTV America’s Toby Muse reports.
FARC holds final conference as guerilla armyWith the playing of its anthem, FARC, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, opened its last general conference as a rebel army after more than five decades of conflict.
Hundreds of gun-toting rebels are here to vote on a peace process with the government. Such a vote will mean the FARC will lay down its weapons and become an unarmed political party, ending the longest-running civil war in the Americas.
“Those who doubt our struggle, come here and feel our willingness to give our all for the creating of a new county, the country the majority of Colombians dream of,” FARC Leader Rodrigo Londono, also known as Timochenko said.
FARC holds 10th conference, and last as guerilla armyCCTV America's Francis Kuo, Michelle Begue, and Toby Muse discuss FARC's last meeting as a guerilla army.
This is only the 10th conference in the FARC’s 52-year history.
The FARC’s leadership hopes the guerrillas will vote for peace.
“The biggest satisfaction will always be to win the peace,” Londono said. “The destiny of Colombia is in your hands.”
The guerrillas have been preparing for this conference for months, building dozens of huts, brick homes and giant mess halls.
They’re living in jungle camps that have served as their homes since the beginning of the civil war.
Here there’s the widespread hope this could be the end of life in the jungle. Everyone senses this is a historic moment.
The FARC has invited more than 1,000 guests and journalists to the rebel stronghold of Yair, a 22-hour drive from the capital.
There is a press room where there will be daily briefings, in addition to restaurants, meeting halls and a stage set for concerts. Some have joked it feels more like a music festival than a rebel conference.
Joseph Humire of Center for Free Society on FARC’s final conference
CCTV America’s Francis Kuo interviewed Joseph Humire, executive director of the Center for a Free Society about the significance of the FARC conference.