A former leader of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, known by their acronym FARC, announced his intention to run for president in 2018, reports Reuters.
Rodrigo Londono, also known by his nom de guerre “Timochenko,” will be the 2018 presidential nominee for the Fuerza Alternativa Revolucionaria del Común, the political party formed by former-FARC members after the peace accords and know by the same acronym.
In addition to a presidential candidate, the FARC party will field candidates for House of Representatives and Senate. Under the 2016 peace accords, the party is guaranteed ten seats in Congress until 2026.
The trials of former FARC members has proven to be a sticking point in Colombian politics. A Transnational Justice Tribunal was established to try former rebels for crimes, including murder, kidnapping, and rape. Under the peace agreement, former guerrillas can run for office. However, it is unclear what would happen if the Tribunal convicted a member of Congress from the FARC party.
Canada recently pledged $2 million to support the Tribunals in addition to $12.4 million more to “support peace efforts and will aim to reduce gender-based violence and early pregnancy rates in Colombia.”
Not all of the more than 11,000 former guerrillas laid down their weapons. Around 1,000 fighters objected to the peace agreement with the Colombian government and remain actively hostile.
The largest active guerrilla force is the Ejército de Liberación Nacional, or ELN, which is still discussing a permanent peace agreement with President Santos’ government. The ELN’s forces are estimated to number around 2,500.
In order to combat the active guerrillas, the Colombian government authorized air raids against the former FARC and ELN soldiers, according to Voice of America.
The executive order authorizes air raids by plane and helicopter in areas away from civilian populations.
The FARC fighters that refused to give up their arms under the peace agreement and the ELN continue to engage in both the illegal drug trade and illegal mining operations in the Colombian jungle.