The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC, has officially changed its name to the Revolutionary Alternative Force of Colombia, maintaining the acronym that has identified the group for more than five decades.
The former rebel group’s new name reflects its current status as a legally-recognized political party.
“We do not want to break ties with our past,” FARC leader Ivan Marquez said, reaffirming his group’s commitment to revolutionary politics.
“We have been and will continue to be a revolutionary organization. We want to be the voice of the excluded, of the voiceless, of those who live in poverty, the voice of the honest and good people of Colombia.”
Tuesday also marked the end of the U.N.’s first mission in monitoring the Colombian peace process with the removal of the last container of arms from FARC demobilization camps. According to the U.N., 900,000 cartridges had been destroyed in 25 of the 26 military zones as well as ammunition and explosives from 304 caches of the 779 identified by FARC operatives.
With the FARC demobilized and disarmed after 52 years of armed struggle, its approximately 7,000 guerrillas and 4,000 militia members will now continue their reintegration process, which includes educational and work programs. The FARC has also announced plans to seek a 2018 election alliance with the Colombian Communist Party.
For this purpose, the demobilization camps have been dubbed “training zones,” where former guerrillas and locals alike can take part in peacebuilding and development projects.
The FARC agreed to end their armed conflict with the government after being granted temporary seats in Congress and after the Santos administration agreed to carry out far-stretching political reforms aimed at reducing corruption and political exclusion of minorities.
As an early phase, the government is to allocate at least five seats in the 166-member House of Representatives and five in the 102-seat Senate to the movement.