Colombian Government Urges FARC Demobilization for Christmas
By Dialogo December 23, 2010I believe that any initiative that is for the demobilization of the armed forces is a positive one. The particular strategy appears to be quite novel and it gives us the Colombians the impression that weapons are not the only alternative in bringing about peace
By infiltrating close to 200 men into the mountainous jungle, the Colombian government paired with the military to establish a special four-day operation and ample advertising campaign to entice guerrilla members to demobilize and recover their freedom in the spirit of Christmas.
“Operation Christmas” was strategically developed in late December throughout the jungles of La Macarena, in Meta Department, one of the most important supply corridors of the FARC, according to information released by the Colombian Ministry of Defense.
Arriving in two Blackhawk helicopters in the middle of the night, military forces decorated a 25-meter tree with 2,000 Christmas lights that are automatically activated by a military device when guerrilla members pass by the area.
Next to it, a banner reading, “IF CHRISTMAS CAN COME TO THE JUNGLE, YOU CAN GO HOME TOO.”
The operation evoked December as “the most moving time of the year,” appealing to the Christmas Spirit to entice guerrillas to demobilize in a time when “anything is possible”.
In a video of the operation, released by the Ministry of Defense, the Military sends a clear message, calling on the guerrillas to go home and spend the holidays with their families. “You are in the middle of the jungle, far from home, from your parents, your children, and your friends. [You are] unable to spend Christmas time together.”
According to the source, the thousands of lights will remind them of the meaning of Christmas and allow them “to feel that it is the best time of the year to recover their lives.”
With the hope of achieving success, the Colombian Military is dressing up many more trees in areas populated by FARC guerrillas.
“We wish the guerrilla a Merry Christmas,” said the message, and “for your own sake, we urge you to demobilize. It is your only way out.”