Leaders of the supposedly dissolved Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) resurfaced in a propaganda image on Wednesday to demand the resignation of President Iván Duque’s conservative government.
In a photo released via their social media accounts, the organization’s former senator Jesús Santrich and its leaders Segunda Marquetalia, Iván Márquez, Édison Romaña, and Óscar Montero are seen smiling in military uniforms and holding powerful assault rifles. The photo is accompanied by a statement accusing Duque’s government of being responsible for the current unrest afflicting the country.
“The Duque-Uribe Government made the destruction of the most beautiful dream of Colombians the main objective of its strategy,” the statement reads. “A couple of loose madmen acting against common sense, who are not only setting the country on fire but are also seeking, under the pressure of Washington, to set our neighborhoods on fire. This government’s soul is infected with drug trafficking, electoral fraud, and vote-buying, and its hands are stained with blood.”
The statement referenced former President Álvaro Uribe, a conservative whose major legacy project was the destruction of the FARC with the help of U.S. counterterrorism tactics developed for the war on al-Qaeda.
The statement goes on to declare that Colombia does not want the Duque “dictatorship,” despite his resounding victory in the 2018 presidential elections against far-left candidate Gustavo Petro.
“Duque must leave the presidency of the republic early because he is an illegitimate president because the highest office in the nation was too large for him,” it continued. “He wants to generalize chaos by destroying the balance of powers by incurring public contempt and questioning decisions of the Supreme Court of Justice, because it wants to wipe out the social mobilizations that are shaking the country today, and because Colombia does not want the dictatorship.”
FARC-EP, Segunda Marquetalia
¡Duque debe irse! pic.twitter.com/gF0P36OGz7
— Segunda Marquetalia (@SMarquetalia) September 29, 2020
The re-emergence of FARC’s terrorist leaders provides further evidence of the failure of President Juan Manuel Santos’s peace deal with the organization, which provided many of its leaders and militants with amnesty or reduced prison sentences, as well as guaranteeing Santrich and four other of its leaders a seat in the Colombian Senate. The FARC also received uncontested seats in the lower chamber of Congress.
Santos’s peace deal was rejected via a nationwide referendum in October 2016. He later forced it through the country’s Congress, a violation of the constitution, and went on to win a Nobel Peace Prize for it. Since the deal was approved, other Marxist groups such as the National Liberation Army (ELN) have filled the void left by the leadership of the FARC that went on to accept their new political power, carrying out multiple terrorist attacks across the country and continuing to earn their money in the cocaine trade.
In 2018, two years after the deal was signed, Colombia experienced its biggest ever cocaine boom, a large proportion of which was trafficked by FARC and other Marxist guerilla groups. The country has also seen a surge in mass killings, with the United Nations reporting at least 33 massacres this year, typically targeting community leaders and political activists.