Colombia’s FARC guerrilla group is expected to lay down its arms and go into politics following the signing of a peace agreement. The first step is already underway.
CGTN’s Michelle Begue brought us this story from Bogota.
FARC to become a formal political party in ColombiaColombia's FARC guerrilla group is expected to lay down its arms and go into politics following the signing of a peace agreement. The first step is already underway. CGTN’s Michelle Begue brought us this story from Bogota.
With the signing of a peace agreement at the end of 2016, the Colombian guerrilla group known as FARC is figuratively marching into politics.
The peace accord granted the FARC six non-voting delegates in Colombia’s congress. A political movement called Voices of Peace and Reconciliation was created to represent those interests.
Jairo Andres Rivera, a delegate of this party, says they are not a part of the FARC but do represent their interests. Their job is to participate in the debate over legal and constitutional reforms needed to implement the peace accord.
According to Rivera, Voices of Peace and Reconciliation will dissolve once the FARC evolves into a political party only.
But what can Colombians expect from an FARC political movement? Political analysts say the guerillas will stick to a similar agenda.
Nicolas Pet, an investigator at Colombia’s National University, says “As an armed group they have been rooted in the agrarian movement. In their essence, they are former guerrillas. Their discourse has been around land rights.”
The challenge will be transforming their violent image. Even Rivera and the other five delegates – who are not FARC members – feel the social stigma.
“This does pose a challenge, but it is also an opportunity,” said Rivera “because we are not only trying to push these agreements forward through legislation but also pushing the agreements by showing citizens that we have an opportunity to modernize our country as we move from war to peace.”
FARC hopes to have its candidates ready for Colombia’s congressional and presidential elections in 2018.