Colombia’s former FARC rebel group has relaunched as a political party, changing their logo of rifles for a red rose after disarming to end a half-century civil conflict.
“We want to build a new country together with you,” FARC commander Rodrigo Londono told a rally of thousands of supporters in the capital Bogota on Friday.
“A nation in which no one is persecuted or killed for thinking differently,” he continued.
The new party will have a “broad character, a new party for a new Colombia”, the group’s former military commander Pablo Catatumbo said at a press conference.
Former FARC members eye politics
It will be a movement “committed to guarantee social justice, peace, sovereignty and agrarian reform, for the defence of popular interests”, he said.
On Thursday, Londono announced the name of the new party: The Common Alternative Revolutionary Force.
The name controversially retains the same acronym (FARC) and the revolutionary spirit of the Marxist rebel group, which fought a bloody 52-year campaign against Colombia’s government before signing a peace deal last year.
FARC delegates spent the week in a founding congress to choose their political representatives and its new name.
Some FARC leaders wanted to keep the “revolutionary” element, while others wanted to soften the group’s image by dropping it in favour of “New Colombia”.
In the end, a majority voted to call it in Spanish Fuerza Alternativa Revolucionaria del Comun, meaning it will still be known as the FARC for short.
The logo for the new party is a socialist-style red rose with a star in its centre above the letters FARC in green.
The FARC formed as a communist movement in 1964 from a peasant uprising for rural land rights.
Over the following decades, the conflict drew in various rebel forces, paramilitary groups and state forces.
It left some 250,000 people confirmed dead, 60,000 unaccounted for and seven million displaced in Latin America’s longest conflict.
The new party will compete in next year’s general elections.