FARC voices security concerns after assassination of members

World Today

FARC voices security concerns after assassination of members

The international community is condemning the assassination of two members of the demobilized guerrilla group, FARC, in Colombia. Security is an important issue that FARC members have voiced in the past.

CGTN’s Michelle Begue has more from Bogota.
Follow Michelle Begue on Twitter @mbegue

The FARC guerilla group has moved into politics after the signing of a peace agreement in 2016.

But they may be receiving pushback – with the assassination of members.

Last week, two former guerillas were killed during a political campaign in Antioquia, Colombia. The FARC members were out campaigning with their candidate ahead of the March 11th congressional elections.

“We don’t have political guarantees, and we don’t have the personal security guarantees in many parts of the country, said Rodrigo Granda, a FARC member.

“This is a very large shortcoming of the Colombian state.”

According to the FARC, 36 former FARC combatants and 13 family members have been killed since they signed a peace agreement in 2016. However, authorities haven’t confirmed this.

The FARC also claims that they have received threats from the criminal group called Clan del Golfo, which was formed after the demobilization of right-winged paramilitaries more than a decade ago.

The Prosecutor General’s office said they would charge members of the Clan del Golfo for the death of the two FARC members killed last week.

“This lack of tolerance is what lead our country to 53 years of war,” Granda explained, “and we want to end that war, and we want to do politics openly and respecting all the different opinions.”

The last time FARC tried to break into politics was in the 1980s with the party called ‘Patriotic Union’. Between 3,000-5,000 members were killed by state officials and paramilitary allies.

The recent FARC deaths have sparked fears of history repeating itself.

Pedro Viveros, a political analyst, said that if the government isn’t able to curb these deaths, it could send a negative message to Colombians and other guerilla groups. The government is currently negotiating a peace process with the second largest leftist guerilla group – known as the National Liberation Army, or the ELN.

“Anyone who wants to reintegrate themselves to civil life can use the excuse that they can’t do it because the society doesn’t protect them,” Viveros said.

The United Nations Mission monitoring the implementation of the FARC peace deal called on authorities to “take the necessary measures to guarantee the free exercise of political rights during the election process.”

Colombia’s minister of the Interior said they “reject and condemn” the crimes and would “evaluate the situation of the former combatants.”