Colombia's Revolutionary Alternative Force for the Commons (FARC) said Thursday they were canceling their presidential election bid a day after their leader and former candidate Rodrigo Londoño "Timochenko" had undergone an open-heart surgery at Bogota's Shaio Clinic following a heart attack late last week.
After undergoing two heart surgeries in just one week and being diagnosed with emphysema, Londoño said Wednesday he had decided to pull out of the presidential race due to his health issues. This was the second time “Timochenko” had been hospitalized in less than one year.
The FARC was expected to replace him with another candidate, but the party said in a statement to the press Thursday that its leadership decided to pull out of the entire process arguing that the current political situation didn't guarantee the necessary conditions for a fair presidential race.
One issue it highlighted is that about 600 members of their party and former rebels did not benefit from the Amnesty Law and are still in jail. Also, the FARC party was not allow to receive financing other than the state, a measure the statement called a “discriminatory" measure.
They also reaffirmed their commitment to peace and their will to overcome any link between violence and politics, even though more than 50 former rebels or their families and more than 250 social leaders have been murdered since the final peace agreement was signed.
This, besides continuous threats and hate speech sponsored by the the right-wing political establishment, has led the party to believe “Timochenko” could be the target of a high-profile assassination.
The party still will take part in next Sunday's legislative elections and called the Colombian citizens to vote for them by marking the red rose that now symbolizes the movement.
This year's elections are the group's first outing as an unarmed political party, after it demobilized under a 2016 peace deal with the government.