Speaking at the forum titled “Reintegration, a business committed to peace,” the Colombian leader urged businessmen to ally with the state in order to achieve the economic reintegration of a majority of the 52,000 demobilized paramilitaries and guerrillas who have not been absorbed by the formal labor market.
The president explained, in a press release, his plans to enhance the reintegration initiative, make it more effective, and incorporate a greater number of people, and rejected rumors that the process was coming to an end.
“It is a public-private effort,” argued Santos, adding that at this point in time, only 6,500 former members of armed groups have been hired in the formal workforce by some 700 national and multinational companies.
Among them is Alvaro Perez, the former tailor of the late military leader of the FARC, “Mono Jojoy”, who died last September in the bombing of a military camp in southern Colombia.
Perez manufactures uniforms for Coca-Cola, and his case was cited as an example of the possibilities for integration by Philip Marquez, director of corporate affairs for the company’s Bogota branch, which provides opportunities for demobilized paramilitaries to learn about business operations through direct and indirect contracts.
Of the more than 52,000 paramilitaries and guerrillas that have been demobilized since 2002 in Colombia, 32,000 belong to the AUC, a paramilitary organization that was dissolved in 2006 following an agreement with former President Alvaro Uribe.