Colombia's ex-FARC rebranded —again
Colombia's former FARC rebels voted to no longer use the acronym of their now-defunct guerilla army as that of their new political party. The change in name was proposed by the FARC's former military commander Rodrigo Londoño AKA "Timochenko," ahead of the leftist party's Second Extraordinary Assembly. It was approved by a majority vote among 250 participating delegates at the Jan. 26 assembly, which was held at Medellín's Hotel Chinauta Real and, via video link, at 12 other points around the country. Delegates agreed to change the party's name to Comunes (Commons). The former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia originally re-branded in 2017 as the Revolutionary Alternative Forces of the Commons. The full name and associated acronym were dropped to disassociate the party from the former guerilla army, which remains listed as a "foreign terrorist organization" by the US State Department, as well as from "dissident" guerilla factions that have remained in arms. The acronym dates to the founding of the guerilla army in 1964.
The change comes a year ahead of the party's second participation in national elections. The party will be guaranteed five seats in the Senate and five in the House of Representatives regardless of the outcome of the 2022 elections. After these elections, however, it will lose guaranteed seats and will have to maintain seats through voting like any other party.
The political future of Comunes is threatened by an ongoing campaign of assassinations targeting former FARC members, as well as community leaders active in supporting the peace process that seeks to end an armed conflict of more than half a century. (Colombia Reports, Las2Orillas, El Espectador, RCN Radio)