Congo RDC Colombia Today Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia- People’s Army Reply To: Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia- People’s Army


Having spent several days in Havana, Cuba, which certainly filled my life with rich experience, not only for having had the opportunity to meet in person most of our leadership, but to know that beautiful country and the people which is an example of dignity and resistance, we returned to the area where the pilot project would be brought forward.

My first experience in El Orejón (II)

In the new return to El Orejón, in Briceno, Antioquia, after a long journey back to the airport Caucasia, were taken to a makeshift site in order to hide our identity, and, of course, I imagined that too with the in order to avoid any incident caused by those interested in sabotaging the peace process. After a half hour wait on that site, we boarded the helicopter that took us to our destination.

After about forty minute flight note, finally, the place where we would stay in the company of people of different nationality, customs, cultures, ways of seeing the world, and why not say, and where they also would, now, sharing a specific task in building peace, with whom for more than 50 years we have faced death, that is, with members of the National Army. Without the pilot left off the machine, the three guerrillas of the FARC-EP and two Cuban journalists left the ship, and watched a short distance the presence of many people awaiting our arrival, including farmers, Norwegian People’s Aid APN, Government and Army.

We headed to the house where we would find other people who would be part of proyecto.Se felt a friendly atmosphere, the house was a little changed, was still under construction but looked different. There I was introduced to Lieutenant William Villanueva and sergeants Fredy Lozano and Luis Fernando Sosa, who share the house with us, but who at the time were staying in another house.

We were seated in the respective quarters. I remember a couple, Esteban Rueda and a young woman named Sara Marin, who gave us jackets that would identify us as members of the Pilot Project and blue shirts emblazoned with doves as symbols. Immediately we began to organize our stuff.

Although all the people who were with us showed very friendly, I felt a bit stressed, because although we and the soldiers were unarmed, many years of conflict end up creating in the head of one many questions that are not easy to clear. I like for example, if we would be able to agree on the task of decontamination born of de-escalation agreement? Yes it would be possible to share space as a dining table, a place to meet and concrete tasks within the framework of commitment? Are they would be able to look at us as equal persons and not as someone who submit to his will?

We met with the team to agree on the time it would convene the community with the idea of ​​informing of the steps that should be given. She would be the most benefited with decontamination of the territory. The meeting would be the representatives of NPC, DAICMA, soldiers engaged in demining, the FARC-EP and the community. It was agreed that would take place in the afternoon in a small school quite shabby.

When the time of the meeting, we left all to school. We begin with the presentation of the participants and those from that time would begin to be protagonists in the front line, something that was first seen in Colombia. Guerrillas, soldiers, government and community share the same stage to talk about the things that worried both about as others.

When the peasants took the word, I was thrilled to hear how strongly they spoke to without fear claiming government guarantees, so that they are not only decontaminated explosives its territory, but undertook to give them a life dignified, with profitable productive projects, road, education, health and recreation. And all in a demilitarized area that is free of paramilitarism. Demining then erradicarles the illicit crops without substitution plan, or for the company to continue moving the Hidroituango as so far not used.

After a long discussion in which government spokesmen pledged to promote social projects, productive projects and decontaminated sites that would not be used for military advantage for either side, farmers quieted a bit. Moreover, to largely ease tempers, government, warned of the lack of credibility enjoyed by the State, requested the delegate of the FARC to explain the purpose of the pilot project, as a gesture of de-escalation in the framework of Agreements Havana, in order to build confidence between the parties.

The next day decontamination work in different areas began. Every evening we met to balance the activities fulfilled. As three days, in the afternoon, we were surprised by an explosion in the High Captain. Immediately the military for the radios we were informed that a soldier had stood on a mine.

The news brought sadness to all that we were engaged in this task, because the boy had already shared several days of work and cheerful sports integration into a football championship.

The unfortunate accident with loss of life of this humble young man, forced us to pause for readjusting security measures. And it was in those days when I had the chance to see me again with Colonel Benitez, who I said I was impressed by his appearance rough and arrogant man. As already commented that treating him with more confidence, turned out to be a kind person, with whom you could talk a good way.

I think this experience all learned, because despite the differences between us, representatives of the State, APN, and guerrillas, including the difference in languages, customs and cultures, we were in the real field meet most of the agreed. Misunderstandings were handled with respect and with each passing day we had the ability and confidence to say things without affecting coexistence. A beautiful memory.

Por Cristina Ruiz, guerrillera de las FARC-EP