Colombia's FARC leader Timochenko hospitalized with chest pains

FILE PHOTO - Colombia's FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) leader and presidential candidate Rodrigo Londono, also known as Timochenko, speaks during a news conference in Bogota, Colombia February 28, 2018. REUTERS/Jaime Saldarriaga

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombian former FARC rebel leader Rodrigo Londono, known by his nom de guerre Timochenko, was hospitalized on Thursday with chest pains and is under observation, the group said in a statement.

Timochenko, who in late 2016 signed a peace agreement with the government and is now a presidential candidate, suffers from heart problems and had surgery in Cuba while negotiating the accord.

The former rebel commander was taken to hospital with chest pains after conducting his daily exercise routine, the group said.

Timochenko is running for president for the group’s new political party, which kept its famous initials by renaming itself the Revolutionary Alternative Common Force.

He suspended campaigning last month due to security concerns after angry protests disrupted campaign stops.

Many Colombians remain angry at the FARC, infamous for kidnappings, bombings and displacements, and believe its members should be in prison, not campaigning. Recent opinion polls have shown Timochenko has as little as 1 percent support.

The party has focused its political platform on fighting poverty.

Reporting by Helen Murphy; Editing by Leslie Adler