Nelson Ruiz, alias “Gonzalo Gondola”, the purported leader of FARC’s Abelardo Romero Front, spent over 20 years with Colombia’s largest insurgency group before formally demobilizing in the central department of Meta.
The 37-year-old Ruiz allegedly joined the rebels as a teenager and rose through the ranks assuming senior positions in the group’s Eastern Block.
“The best path I could take…is to start a new life, a new home,” said the demobilized guerrilla.
Ruiz demobilized alongside his girlfriend Diana Gutierrez, alias “Yaira”, who was forcibly recruited by FARC when she was 13 years old. More than a decade later she said, “There is no equality like they say…the leaders of FARC [have a good time] drinking liquor, meanwhile there are people suffering in the jungle, wanting something to eat.”
Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon took the opportunity to invite more FARC fighters to lay down their arms and demobilize. “There is no point continuing giving your lives for a cause that no longer makes sense, it’s time to demobilize,” said Pinzon.