Female Guerrillas of FARC
There is talk and much written about the guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - almost always slanderous - and little about the guerrilla. Most Europeans are unaware that thousands of women are fighting in 60 Fronts in which FARC is fighting in that country. I met many in 2001, lived for weeks in an Amazonian camp of the revolutionary organization. How will I convey in short space of a chronicle, which for me was my contact with these new types of guerrillas?
"Love is the only thing that grows as it is spread"
" No woman is born a prostitute. But many are born to fight! " (MMM)
GUERRILLAS OF FARC
There is talk and much written about the guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - almost always slanderous - and little about the guerrilla. Most Europeans are unaware that thousands of women are fighting in the 60 Fronts in which FARC is fighting in that country. I met many in 2001, lived for weeks in an Amazonian camp of the revolutionary organization. How will I convey in the short space of a chronicle, which for me was my contact with these new types of guerrillas?
I found the girls there so different that it would diminish the effort to outline the emotional shock caused by the discovery of the FARC fighters. Common among them only is courage, the ability to adapt to living conditions and an enduring total confidence in the justice of the struggle of FARC and the final undated victory.
I was not camped with only one companion. Only Eliana was over 40. The majority had not reached the age of 25 years. The ethics of guerrilla war imposed rules that were observed. If two lovers wanted to establish a loving relationship they had to inform the commander. Infidelity was not tolerated by the code of the guerrillas. The pair was allowed to sleep in the same caleta, the road-bed, under a canopy of plastic in the vast forest, as was often their home. Regulations also prohibit the guerrillas, men or women, to have sex with guests of FARC.
But there was no moralism. If a couple decided to end their relationship it was necessary to inform the commander of this decision. The gesture accomplished the separation.
Women held the same jobs as men, from military training to the opening the latrines. Equal rights, similar tasks.
Daily life in the camps did not allow the privacy that today we are used to in everyday life. In the jungle, infested by transmitters of dangerous diseases, the daily bath is essential for protection of health. Women were washing in the river alongside the men in an atmosphere of camaraderie and respect that impressed me. The standards of modesty, such as we know them, could not work there. But never, not in looks or in words I never witnessed anyone with a visible chauvinistic behavior.
Those, such as they, had different social origins. Some had come from great cities, others of the llanos or from the hot valleys, others still from the cold lands of the Chain of mountains. Social origins were more visible in dialog of than in behavior, because girls of peasant families had acquired a solid ideological training.
To my surprise almost all of them were pretty.
In the Classroom - the place where in the evening the group of guerrillas met to attend lectures and to debate the subject with the invited "professor" - I had the opportunity to talk more at length with some he barely knew, like Adriana and Jenny.
An army of heroes
My work demanded very frequent contacts with four: Gloria, Eliana, Yurleni and Isabel.
Gloria was the secretary without title of commander Raul Reyes. From small middle class origin, she had acquired an unusually broad Marxist training. She was the person responsible for the computers and the radio transmission services, installed in an "office" that was differentiated from caletas only by their larger dimension. They were sending encoded messages and were deciphering the ones received. Their intimacy with the world of computer science was to me as an inexperienced apprentice.
She was very beautiful and neither had the uniform affected her femininity. It was during the slow journey to El Caguan, through an unpredictable road breaking through the jungles of the region - she drove heavy cars in her past as a professional and knew that counted with me. Enough for me to glimpse at her as a character of a novel who was radiating an intense joy of living.
In Eliana I found a revolutionary of another kind. The person responsible for management, she occupied herself with zeal for everything that is related to the supply of the camp. Her beauty was not physical. By middle age, strengthened, brusque in movements, she had reached the level of sub commander and her combatant's curriculum was dispersing doubts about the merits of the guerrilla. It was a few words, but at the wheel of a truck, she responded with speed and security to the questions that I formulated on the history of FARC and the organization of the camp.