FARC rebels reborn as 'revolutionary force' party

Colombia’s former FARC rebel group has renamed itself the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force, as it transformed into a political party following its disarmament.

“By a majority decision in our congress, the name of the new party has been fixed as the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force,” the group’s leader Rodrigo Londono wrote on Twitter on Thursday.

In spite of earlier resistance from some members of the movement, the name retains the revolutionary spirit of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) Marxist rebel group, which fought a bloody 52-year campaign against the state before signing a peace deal last year.

In Spanish the new name, Fuerza Alternativa Revolucionaria del Comun, has the same acronym as the former rebel force’s title, so it can continue to be referred to as the FARC.

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Delegates from the newly demobilised FARC group have spent the week gathered in a founding congress to choose their political representatives ahead of next year’s general elections.

The party had yet to give an official English translation for its title.

The week-long congress comes after the group handed in more than 8,000 weapons and nearly 1.3 million pieces of ammunition as it demobilised, the United Nations said last month.

Roughly 7,000 FARC fighters have demobilised under the accord, which allows the group 10 unelected seats in Congress until the end of 2026 and grants amnesty to the majority of ex-fighters.

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The FARC was formed in the early 1960s by guerrillas affiliated with Colombia’s communist party intent on resolving longstanding issues such as land disputes and government neglect of rural areas, issues that still resonate in much of the nation today.

Over the next five decades, the conflict between the rebels, government forces and right-wing paramilitaries claimed at least 250,000 lives and left another 60,000 people missing. Millions more were displaced from their homes fleeing the bloodshed.

Londono said at the start of the congress that the group will advocate “a democratic political regime that guarantees peace and social justice, respects human rights and guarantees economic development for all of us who live in Colombia”.

Source: News agencies

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