The former primary hitman of slain drug lord Pablo Escobar, who was released from prison in 2014, said Thursday he plans to run for senator in the 2018 elections.
The FARC last week signed a bilateral ceasefire with the administration of President Juan Manuel Santos that will allow members of Colombia’s oldest guerrilla group to take part in politics.
Since leaving prison, Popeye — whose real name is Jhon Jairo Velasquez — has dedicated himself to becoming an political commentator on YouTube.
His new calling has converted the former killer to a popular phenomenon on the video platform.
“I have a very strong following on social media,” Popeye told the radio station, calling himself a “political activist” dedicated to combating corruption in Colombia.
Popeye would be one of the first convicted criminals to run for public office, but — if elected — not the first to combine politics and crime.
Since 2006, dozens of lawmakers and former lawmakers have been sentenced to prison because of their ties to the AUC, the far right paramilitary group that took over Escobar’s drug trafficking business after the drug lord’s death in 1993.
While in prison, Popeye reportedly obtained a number of degrees.