FARC concert celebrates formation of political party, hopes to build trust

World Today

After a week-long political congress, former rebel group FARC has a new name and logo. They celebrated with a concert for both those who support the group, and those who have doubts about its future.

CGTN’s Michelle Begue reports from Bogota.

Music marked the launch of the new political party. Songs filled with heartache, forgiveness, and hope boomed in Bogota’s Plaza Bolivar.

The concert celebrated a new chapter in Colombia’s history. Attendees, mostly college students and politically left-leaning citizens, were happy to join in.

“I am here because this is a historic day,” according to college student Federico Maecha. “After 53 years, the party of the people can finally speak in the public light.”

The FARC’s transition into politics is happening while confidence in Colombia’s politicians is near an all-time low. A recent Gallup poll of the country’s urban population showed an 87% disapproval rating for all political parties. The same poll showed FARC’s approval rating was three points higher.

FARC hopes to widen that margin by taking advantage of the state’s battered image, inspiring the population and better representing the people.

“This is the aspirations of the proletariat, of the farmers and students and all those who have wanted to transform our country into the country of our dreams,” according to supporter Jose Fernando Ramiro.

After decades of fighting and brutal conflict, however, many have doubts the group will be able to make a transition into traditional politics. Addressing this concern as the concert closed, FARC leader Rodrigo Londoño gave a message of peace for all Colombians.

“We extend our hands without hesitation as a sign of forgiveness and reconciliation,” Londoño proclaimed. “We want a Colombia without hate. We come to profess peace and fraternal love for our compatriots.”