The leaders of the “National Renovation Movement,” a group composed of demobilized FARC and AUC members, claim to have secured nearly 40,000 votes, and hope to gain seats in the upcoming congressional elections.
Fernando Soto, spokesman for the movement, explained to Votobien that they are trying to gain the support of established political parties in order to have the names of its members on the ballots for the 2010 congressional elections.
The movement is composed mainly of former AUC and FARC members who have laid down their arms and entered a process of reintegration into society, following the 2003 passage of the Justice and Peace Law.
This law laid down the framework for the demobilization and amnesty of many illegal armed groups in Colombia.
According to Soto, the National Renovation Movement is hoping to enter politics in order to improve the reintegration process currently offered to demobilized fighters, which he claims is ineffective. “It was such a failure that emerging [illegally armed] groups are growing in the country today”.
Soto goes on to explain that the problems are a result of the program’s lack of geographical reach, in addition to a failure to provide adequate work opportunities to the demobilized.