A top-ranking political leader of the FARC turned himself into authorities in Colombia’s west-central state of Tolima on Saturday, after more than two decades with the country’s largest rebel group, according to local media.
Chaux Leonardo Hernandez, alias “Simon Bernate,” was reportedly the political head and chief ideologue of FARC’s Central Bloc, working closely with supreme FARC commander Alfonso Cano until his death in 2011.
Radio Santa Fe reported that the 54-year-old guerrilla leader demobilized voluntarily due to growing weariness from the ongoing military operations and in order to seek a better life for his family.
Three years ago, Bernate was captured by the military in the same region, but was apparently released.
According to Colombia’s Semana news magazine, his roles within the organization included creating ties to indigenous groups and farmers organizations, in addition to his duties advising the clandestine Colombian Communist Party in the state of Huila.
The FARC is in the middle of ongoing peace negotiations with the government after more than 50 years of hostilities.