The leader of the newly renamed Revolutionary Alternative Forces of the Commons, or FARC, has proposed a transitional national government for 2018 during his presentation of the group's policies as it relaunches as a political party.
Speaking at a concert in Bogota's Plaza de Bolivar to mark the transition, Rodrigo Londono, also known as Timochenko, thanked the crowds for coming to mark the turning point.
He told them, "Our proposal is to unite for a better, just, democratic, sovereign and peaceful country ..Today we are a party that is born, in a tomorrow not far away, we will number millions in a new Colombia (where) violence definitively disappears from politics and in which nobody is persecuted, killed or disappeared from the political scene."
“We don’t want one more drop of blood for political reasons, we don’t want any mother to spill tears because her children suffer violence,” Timochenko said. “That’s why we don’t hesitate to extend our hands in a gesture of forgiveness and reconciliation. We want a Colombia without hate.”
The leader blamed the Colombian government for delays in implementing the full peace deal as agreed in Havana last November to end more than five decades of conflict.
He maintained that the FARC had kept to its side of the accord by turning away from violence and expressed his gratitude to all of the young Colombians for turning up at the celebrations.
Timochenko said the party would focus on fighting corruption and poverty, especially in rural areas, and that politics would not be easy.
“Our first step now is to present to Colombia our political party, its strategic program, our proposal for political action,” he added.
The concert in the Colombian capital was streamed live on Youtube and attended by thousands of people.
It featured performances by Jhonny Rivera, Toto La Momposina, Ky-Many Marley (son of Bob Marley), Aries Vigoth, Red Dragon and Orquesta Aragon.
The FARC will hold 10 automatic seats in Congress through 2026 under the terms of the accord and may campaign for others.
Both legislative and presidential elections are set for 2018 and the party plans to reach out to ideological allies to try to form a coalition, without abandoning its commitments to land reform and social justice, the group said.