The unit consists of between 60 and 400 men and is most famous for being the front that held three American military contractors and former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt hostage for years.
Earlier this week, the guerrilla’s iconic units released a pamphlet in Guaviare in which they announced not to take part in a pending peace process.
We have decided not to demobilize. We will continue our struggle to take power for the people, independent of the decision of the rest of the fighters or the guerrilla organization. We respect the decision of those who desist the armed struggle, abandon their weapons and reintegrate into civil society, we do not consider them our enemies.
FARC’s 1st Front
According to the dissident guerrillas, “the Colombian state and its allies only seek the disarmament and the demobilization of the guerrillas … They want to continue governing with the same economic model” the national FARC organization seeks to fight without arms and from Congress.
The 1st Front’s refusal to take part in the FARC’s pending demobilization and disarmament is a major blow for FARC leader Timochenko, who earlier this year claimed 99% of FARC fighters will obey orders to demobilize.
However, the refusal is not new. As reported by this website in November last year, locals from Guaviare said that the FARC’s 1st front had made it known that they will not take part in a peace process.
Until now, no other unit has openly disobeyed the order of FARC leader “Timochenko,” who earlier this week called on all guerrilla forces to end extortion.
The front, led by “Kokorico,” is one of the guerrillas’ main moneymakers, controlling one of the country’s largest coca cultivation areas. It also exercises control over parts of the trafficking routes to Venezuela and Brazil.
By not demobilizing, the group would keep the income of the local drug trade, this time without having to send contributions to the higher echelons of the guerrilla organization.