Colombia’s FARC political party, formed after the guerilla group with the same acronym was disbanded, has announced that it is is changing its name to “Comunes,” or “Commons” in English.
“I want to inform Colombia and the international community that from today we will bear the name #Comunes, because we are a party of common people working for a just country with well-being for common people,” Rodrigo Londoño, the party’s leader, tweeted on Sunday.
The change signals a shift away from the country’s history of more than 50 years of armed conflict, which killed at least 220,000 people, including many civilians.
“It is time to create a great coalition of forces with all the democrats in the country,” Londoño also said on Twitter. “To build a Front that finishes consolidating Peace, giving satisfaction to all the victims, the uprooted, and thus being able to advance towards the construction of a just and democratic Colombia.”
The decision to change the name was made at a party gathering in the city of Medellín from Friday through Sunday. The party must now register the new name with the National Electoral Council.
Formed in 1964, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) aimed to overthrow the government, redistribute wealth and fight inequality. Over the years, it was also accused of drug trafficking, bombings, murder, extortion and kidnappings. Several attempts at a peace deal between FARC and the government failed over the years until a final accord was signed in November, 2016.
As part of the deal, members of the newly formed FARC party were granted seats in Congress. The demobilized guerillas decided to continue using the FARC acronym, but changed it to mean “Common Alternative Revolutionary Force” instead of the original “Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.”
However, Londoño has told CNN en Español in the past that he believed this was a mistake, because the name FARC would always be associated with history of violence and would not allow the party to have a real voice in Colombia’s politics.
Congressional elections are set to take place on March 13, 2022.