The Christian Science Monitor

Yesterday, he sang for guerrillas. Today, he’s one town’s mayor.

Guillermo Torres walks around his hometown of Turbaco, Colombia on Jan. 19, 2020. The town suffers from mass unemployment, and many people rely on motorcycle taxi-ing to get by. Source: Megan Janetsky

Guillermo Torres walks the sweltering streets in this bustling northern Colombian town like a celebrity. Teenage boys ask for selfies, children hug him like family, and throngs of men and women earnestly shake his hand.

Mr. Torres has been famous for decades. Under the alias Julián Conrado and nickname “the singer of the FARC,” he was a key member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia for 30 years. The guerrilla group is accused of crimes ranging from kidnapping to drug-trafficking, and until a 2016 peace accord was locked in a bloody civil war with the Colombian government for half a century.

But last October, Mr. Torres made headlines for something new. He was elected mayor of Turbaco, becoming one of the first ex-FARC combatants to win an election by popular vote.

As Colombia struggles to emerge from years of conflict, the  singer is a symbol of these broader tensions as demobilized guerrillas seek to

Lasting ‘stigma’ of the FARC‘Armed with a guitar’Escaping his past?‘Tired of war’ – and the FARC

Stai leggendo un'anteprima, registrati per continuare a leggere.

Altro da The Christian Science Monitor

The Christian Science Monitor3 min letti
A Dimming Betelgeuse Has Stargazers Bursting. Three Questions.
Betelgeuse has been one of the sky’s brightest stars. But its unexpected dimming has raised speculation that it could be nearing supernova.
The Christian Science Monitor2 min letti
Sharing The Nile Beats War Over It
Egypt and Ethiopia appear near an agreement that would avoid conflict over a new dam’s effects downstream. Mediation and listening skills have helped.
The Christian Science Monitor5 min letti
Can Long-austere Russia Spend Its Way To A More Dynamic Economy?
Russia is adopting Keynesian economics and stimulus spending in an attempt to give its long-austere economy a boost.