Let there be lights: how Colombian government is trying to lure rebel fighters home for Christmas

It has to be one of the more unusual attempts from the Colombian government to put an end to Latin America’s longest standing armed conflict: scattering 10,000 LED lights over vast swathes of the country’s hinterland, in an attempt to lure FARC rebels home for Christmas.

The video, produced by advertising agency Lowe SSP3 and which launches next week, shows the innovation used in recent years to get the Marxist/Leninist revolutionary guerrilla group who have been involved in armed conflict with the government since 1964, to surrender.

As the second round of peace talks began in Cuba last month, many ordinary Colombians are hoping next year will see a complete end to the violence from both sides of the conflict, which has blighted the country for decades.

Using military intelligence reports, the agency found that the guerrilla command posts had been repositioned throughout different areas of Colombia, in an attempt to prevent desertion.

In Colombia’s ongoing effort to persuade guerrilla fighters hidden deep in the jungle to defect from the armed struggle, Bogota agency Lowe SSP3 is using the holiday season to literally light a path for them to follow in “Operation Bethlehem.”

Operation Bethlehem’s key objective was to give the FARC guerrillas a ‘guiding light’ which leads the way to freedom.

The team travelled with army and navy protection, to key towns located close to FARC camps.

The campaign uses TV and billboards, as well as powerful beacons of light placed in key town plazas. They are currently illuminating the sky every night giving the demobilising guerrillas a direction to go to if they manage to escape from their camps.

Over 10,000 LED lights were dropped by the Army on foot and from helicopters along key Guerrillas routes in the jungle, to guide those wanting to leave.

The agency created glow in the dark stickers, which the army laid out, on foot, on trees along strategic pathways.  Working in conjunction with Military Intelligence, the agency identified pathways where vehicles carrying supplies for the guerrilla pass and attached the glow in the dark stickers to them.

Taking into consideration that the rivers are the jungle’s highways, they also installed glow in the dark billboards carrying the following message: “Guerrilla, Follow the Light”

Since you’re here …

… we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading the Today Colombia than ever but advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. And unlike many news organizations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our site as open as we can. So you can see why we need to ask for your help. Updating reports on Today Colombia takes a lot of time, money and hard work. But we do it because we believe our reports matter.
If everyone who reads Today Colombia, who likes it, helps to support it by clicking our ads, our future would be much more secure. Do you part, click on an ad today.

Written by Rico


"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of onlinemagazines that includes Rico brings his special kind of savvy to online marketing. His websites are engaging, provocative, informative and sometimes off the wall, where you either like or you leave it. The same goes for him, like him or leave him.There is no middle ground. No compromises, only a passion to present reality as he sees it!