BOGOTA — Freeze! The Mannequin Challenge, the latest internet craze where groups of people make a video of themselves frozen in time, has an unlikely new participant: the Colombian rebel army FARC.
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which has spent much of the past half-century waging a bloody insurgency and holding hostages for years at a time, is now expected to disarm and disband as part of a long-awaited peace deal in the Latin American country. Apparently in search of ways to soften their image, the Communist rebels have now turned to the viral Mannequin Challenge, which has been taken up by groups of people on social networks, as well as notables like Hillary Clinton and British singer Adele.
Ahead of their planned disarmament and transfer to rehabilitation centers, FARC members are effectively recording some final moments of their hitherto clandestine lives in jungle camps, with frozen shots of fighters handling tools, playing chess, cooking or cutting hair in a makeshift barber shop.
FARC has turned to social networks like Twitter to communicate their messages and ideology in recent years, but now are focused on using them to help reconcile millions of Colombians with the idea of their reintegration into civilian life. The Mannequin Challenge follows other recent PR efforts, including guerrillas singing the Colombian national anthem, paying homage to the late Fidel Castro — whose regime mediated in their peace talks — and guerrillas singing Beethoven's Ode to Joy.