Colombia: FARC pulls out of presidential race

The Revolutionary Alternative Force for the Commons said it had decided to pull out of the entire process as the political situation did not guarantee a fair presidential race.

Colombia’s Revolutionary Alternative Force for the Commons (FARC) said on March 8 it was cancelling its presidential election bid.

FARC leader and former candidate Rodrigo Londono “Timochenko” pulled out for health reasons. But the new left-wing party, formed by the transformation of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia from a guerrilla army to a political group, said it would not replace him, citing negative political conditions.

After undergoing two heart surgeries in a week and being diagnosed with emphysema, Londono said he had decided to pull out of the presidential race due to health issues.

The FARC was expected to replace him with another candidate, but in a statement the party said it had decided to pull out of the entire process as the political situation did not guarantee a fair presidential race.

One issue it highlighted is that about 600 party members and former rebels did not benefit from the Amnesty Law as part of the peace process, remaining in jail.

Also, the FARC was not allowed to receive financing other than from the state, a measure the statement called a “discriminatory” measure.

The party reaffirmed its commitment to peace and its willingness to overcome any links between violence and politics. It said this was despite more than 50 former rebels or their families, and more than 250 social leaders being murdered since the former guerrillas began demobilising after the final 2016 peace deal was signed with the government.

This, together with continuous threats and hate speech sponsored by the right-wing political establishment, led the party to believe Londono could be the target of a high-profile assassination.

[Abridged from TeleSUR English.]

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