Colombian Ex-rebels Go from War to Fashion

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Former Colombian FARC rebels and paramilitaries put down their weapons and take up a new life in fashion. They're gearing up to display their work at a fashion show in the capital, Bogota.

Former FARC rebels and paramilitaries who put down their weapons have found an unlikely way to reinsert themselves into Colombian life by producing their own fashion line.

With the help of a government agency designed to ease ex-rebels back into society, Alvaro Perez a former FARC member and four other former guerrillas started up a clothing line called Chance.

Perez said he came out of the FARC camps with a special skill after making uniforms, adding that the freedom to choose clothing is a perk.

[Alvaro Perez, Demobilized FARC Member]:
"You have the same clothes; the jacket, camouflage pants, the cap, beret, the pouches, fatigues, tents, everything a guerrilla uses."

Other members of the group also have skills that lend themselves to the clothing line. Ciro Gomez made handbags and other luggage while Jorge Garcia, like many from his native Cordoba province, makes jewelry.

[Alvaro Perez, Demobilized FARC Member]:
"Chance means a new opportunity for people who were in the war. A combatant can change a rifle for clothes to wear and be useful to society."

Alvarez, a 58-year-old, put down his guns in 2006. Gomez is 47 and got out of a paramilitary group in 2003. A native of Cudinmarca, he said he joined a paramilitary group because of problems with a neighbour but said he always dreamed of another way of life.

[Cicero Gomez, Demobilized FARC Member]:
"Ever since I started I wanted to have my own [brand] and wanted to form a brand and be able to create jobs for people living within the law, following all the laws. This is what I always wanted."

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