By Susana Noguera
The Revolutionary Alternative Force of the Common People (FARC) said Friday it is indefinitely suspending political campaigning because of demonstrations and attacks against party candidates for upcoming elections.
The group’s vice-presidential candidate Imelda Daza told Blu Radio protests against the party at its campaign rallies have not been spontaneous but a result of “vandal acts” promoted by political groups that are “afraid of its success.”
She demanded the government provide better security to “prevent such events from occurring without repression.”
Daza has campaigned alongside Rodrigo Londono, also known as Timochenko, the group’s former leader who is running for president in the polls to be held in May. Legislative elections will be held next month.
Londomo visited various regions this week as part of his campaign but his presence upset Colombians who demonstrated against him, blocking his path and pelting him with eggs, rocks and tomatoes.
Many in Colombia continue to view the group as criminals after a history of attacks, kidnapping and other activities while the guerrillas waged an insurgent campaigning against the state.
Londono’s candidacy has registered less than 1 percent approval rating.
The FARC political party emerged from the country’s largest armed guerrilla group, previously known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, and disarmed as part of plans to reintegrate into Colombian society.
“We are entering 2018’s political battle with our own candidates for the presidency and congress,” former FARC guerrilla and now senate candidate Ivan Marquez said in November when Londono’s candidacy was announced.
The FARC has promised to battle poverty in a nation that has a 23 percent unemployment rate. In addition to jobs - education, health care and political corruption are among the top issues for Colombians.
On Nov. 24, 2016, the government signed a peace deal with the FARC, ending 52 years of civil war.
The FARC laid down its arms after a decades-long conflict killed more than 260,000 victims and displaced 7 million.
*Daniela Mendoza contributed to this story.