EL DIAMANTE, Colombia – FARC guerrillas gathered to approve the peace deal finalized last month with the Colombian government are holding their own version of Woodstock, an improvised music festival to celebrate what they hope will be the end of the Andean nation’s longstanding armed conflict.
The proximity of a new era of peace is cause for joy at the guerrillas’ 10th national conference in southern Colombia’s Yari Plains region, where even the highest-ranking guerrillas can be seen swaying to the music in nightly concerts.
The top commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, Rodrigo Londoño, better known by the nom de guerre Timochenko, took the stage one night and danced to the beat of Los Rebeldes del Sur, a tropical music band that is made up entirely of guerrillas.
Cheered on by his fellow insurgents, Timochenko enjoyed the music but displayed a lack of rhythm that put paid to the notion that all Colombians can dance.
“We’re happy to usher in the peace by singing and dancing. It’s the best way to do it. We’re all happy. A new future is on the horizon for Colombia,” Paola Sainz, a member of the FARC’s Comandante Jorge Briceño bloc, told EFE.
The guerrilla, whose hopes of demobilizing will depend on the peace deal being approved in a nationwide referendum on Oct. 2, six days after the accord is signed in the northern city of Cartagena, said peace would bring “employment, equality and joy” and a world in which “Colombia’s children no longer die of hunger.”