On 3 September this 2015 we were chosen three partners of the National Network of Women Veterans of the Insurgency to go to Havana to exchange experiences of our transition to civilian life, with women fighters of the FARC-EP who are members of the Bureau of peace talks in Havana.
The meeting between all, made possible through the support of Geneva Call, was loving, respectful and without the protocols used in these meetings.
Camilo Cienfuegos, who will turn 22 years of being a member of the FARC-EP, is a young, pretty, cheerful, simple woman, however, a sense of nostalgia it is perceived. His voice is soft and both expressed confidence in speaking: in his words denotes its commitment and responsibility towards the peace process. Comes from mother and father peasants. Grew between the countryside and the city in a small village in the Valle del Cauca, where he saw and suffered violence: “In Colombia many things are unknown and sometimes believe, because one is a girl or young that violence does not touch him and less as a woman, but it turns out that violence does not choose face or choose sex and will affect more exactly when you’re a woman.
MHR – When you talk about violence you kind of violence you mean?
At that time the drug was very strong, one was leaving school and unknown men lurked you, approached and told to which greetings commanded the pattern and you knew that was very strong, it was like an alarm because I do not I wanted neither marry nor have children, nor to be the lover, girlfriend or pattern for after a weekend appear beaten or bruised, as happened to some of my colleagues who were older to me.
MHR: What has been its performance in the guerrilla?
Photo: Notiamerica.comCC: In the guerrilla I was a radio operator, also spent a long time in public order and security. My biggest time has been in law enforcement. At the age of 17 years I had control, I was much reemplazante time squad, went along with the squadron commander to lead troops. That is a very complex task as a woman, because it is not the same as giving orders in a camp to manage and care for people. In combat’re responsible for the lives of all who go there and especially of the civilian population. You should also ensure health, so political. Men and women who are there are like your children, but on a scale more responsibility because you have to be an example, you can not break you and one woman that’s very difficult. I often cried, cried alone and not because he had the support, but because sometimes felt that I should be stronger, but had weaknesses.
In the guerrillas we speak of the equality of men and women, but this equality is not only that you do the same. We are equal in rights to them, but not the physical: always women are weaker because we have a face and a different structure to theirs, is not the same force of men and women and this is that I make the difference.
I also worked with the community in an area of Tolima. After a long march I met Victoria (Sandino) and there began a work with children, which is a wonderful thing because there’s an empathy that is very difficult to find with adults, because children there is much amplitude versus knowledge, besides being clean, pure and say what they feel mind. They pretend not know.
We were doing crafts with resources field, with the guasca banana, for example. He is working with teachers, in homes, with mothers and fathers in the evenings, because in the field schools are very poor, no resources, no how do pedagogy.
Then we decided to use the resources that we had available. We teach women with “knobs Water” could make dolls teach them to paint, to make carts cardboard, cardboard houses, began to liquefy the paper to make Christmas cards or for Mother’s Day . We caught the milk cans with moms and we put them eyes, mouth yarns with wool, and began to beautify schools, to beautify the houses, beautify children’s homes and began to involve dads and moms for under the road, for the meeting of the JAC, to have their oversight. the organization also promoted with other communities: we sent invitations to join because people lived very isolated. We organize sporting events with communities, bazaars and children were exhibitions of learning. And of course for moms and dads that was a pride.
We also did orchards, but this time were not the vegetable gardens but were orchards for traditional medicine: the basil, the rough … As women in the field, grandmothers, all, know of traditional medicine, everyone knows a recipe: this serves to stomach pain; this serves for menstrual cramps; this serves to toothache.
Then I would tell people, if you have a recipe type it. For example, how many flakes is poured, how many wells of water, how long to boil; and began to collect all those recipes and began to put together a book of what was called natural medicine plants and natural medicines. After we collected all that, we print each recipe and appeared with the name of the person who had given the recipe. And the surprised lady, oh, here I am! This is my recipe! and that was a boom. That was something wonderful and was increased with more people, we made a giant nursery, as shown for other communities.
Together with the communities we made bridges, sewer managed steps, improve the school. As there were no resources, did bazaars and profits bought sprigs, shingles. And the guerrilla lent tools to cut wood, on farms they disagreed. Gift a stick of my farm, another gift. And so, as people have mules then, some paid mules, others helped take down; others take the wood and started, in community, to build the school.
We did a health, build community booths and girls and children also were also helped firewood for cooking, helping to peel bananas, peel the yuccas, after we played a game with children, girls and community. It was a collective work from childhood to adulthood, it was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life guerrilla.
MHR: How has your relationship with women?
Photo: News yahooCC: Overall it has been a good relationship. It was not like those things that occur in civil there’s a competition that I know more than I do. I will not say that there are no problems, but that is the party meeting in the evenings, and these little squabbles that occur are addressed and solutions are sought.
I have also been very valuable partners in the decant unfortunately this war have I lost some because the unit have moved, others because they have killed. Losing someone is one thing that hurts a lot, that one is not accustomed.
I, Camila, I’m not used to someone dies, whatever that is guerrilla, who is a soldier, whether civil, man, is woman, whether child, whether the child. For me death is so hard, because you feel that never again will see that person, I’ll never again feel his look, his greeting, which will never be physically back to me. Although it is said that the dead never die because they live in our hearts and live in our thinking, but are not physically and that hurts a lot.
MHR: How is the relationship of command and intergenerational among women?
CC: It’s very complex, because everything you do is an example to follow. Because one is the command and you have to bite the bullet and have to stop. And sometimes speak loudly. When you’re a woman touches show double where it stands, whether in civil, whether in the disco, whether at school, and right here in the guerrilla and when we are military.
In addition, for the same patriarchal formation, sometimes it believed that older people have the right, and when women already have certain age look down involuntarily to the minors.
We must make a very widespread work to balance the load, which is also emotional. That burden has absorbed us patriarchal men and women and we can not ignore; there is a great Machismo both men and women in all aspects of society.
Within us it has been a very long and arduous struggle, because sometimes women are very macho, because we strive has also played twice. I come back and say, because it has touched us very strong stand against ourselves, against our mirror, to achieve the results we want and prove to ourselves that we are capable.
The years are an irreversible step; time does not stop because you’re good or you’re bad, that is not possible, and one is staying and that’s a very hard struggle of women. Women have actually been stuck in something: in love. We are very emotional, very emotional and always, we were waiting for the man. The man waits for no one.
MHR: Motherhood in the guerrilla is a sensitive issue: Camila states that the statutes of the FARC-EP establish the prohibition of childbearing due to war conditions in which they work are not favorable for parenting. Not on a whim, he says.
Being very young, Camila was pregnant and decided to give birth to her daughter. His immediate boss asked if she wanted to be a mom or guerrilla. Camila decided to be a mom and guerrilla, but was forced to give his daughter to a family that adopts its small with a commitment not to take the law as a mother.
DC. I had the support of the boss and the father of my daughter, but finally there are the established roles. The decision was mine, I was the woman was the mother. I felt that I would die. I started empacarle clothes until I stared at my daughter’s dad and I said everything I have to the baby, it’s your baby, it is also yours; have, I’m not going to deliver. And the Oscar deceased, or the father of my child was delivered and crying and saying not let me mourn. He wrote: Please, at this hour is given the baby bottles, at this time you wake up to that time the diaper is changed. He made a whole list.
I left some zapaticos my baby, some booties. I kept those boots inside the pocket and found me crying all the time with that bootie. One day I went for a pool and when I came back was not the bootie. It turns out that when they killed the father of my daughter that escarpín was wrapped in the back of your computer. So he kept him to have it and so was the break with my daughter.
MHR: After could have some communication with your child?
CC: I am currently grandmother, my daughter I’ve seen it three times in my life. I am the youngest grandmother of the delegation. She has been persecuted, very stigmatized by her mother, a daughter of guerrillas, also lives in an area where everyone knows my origin, who I am and who have been their parents. He has had to bear the stigma, with a crime that does not exist, but that the revolutionaries would apply, which is the crime of blood. My daughter raided the family home that she lived; later, when I lived with my mom, with the guys; my sister also raided the house. Fortunately that has already stopped, but the beginning was very hard. My daughter was 13 years old when they raided the house, showed him pictures of me and said that if he was not ashamed to be the daughter of a terrorist, I was killing children. It was very hard for her and my mom and sister. They told my daughter. His mother is not a terrorist, his mother is a fighter, is an extraordinary human being, his mother is worthy of the respect you, she will always be your mother. My daughter knows who I am and not ashamed of my past. Then my daughter shares if not all, not in the dimension that I want to share my struggle, but at least respect my decision.
My daughter has had to suffer many things: his grandfather was murdered, the family that was in charge was murdered. She suffered the displacement of my family, the uprooting of family ties, waking up in another house where they are not toys, where the bottle is not for her to take it. Because she moved her as a baby. All this has served to convince me again and again that we must stop the war and we are advancing this peace process here in Havana, which is very encouraging. For me dialogue is critical.
MHR Changing the subject a little, at this advanced stage of the peace talks between the government and the FARC, you comentabas that the key was peace with social justice and respect for life. Comentabas also that to achieve lasting peace much more progress is needed, can you explain to me what it is?
Photo: Anncol.euCC. The scheme of State has to give. We must eradicate paramilitarism, because paramilitarism has been one of the major obstacles to this peace breakthrough. We must fight against oblivion, against dehumanization, we must end the war. I do not agree that the war must humanize: war there is finish, must be eradicated because it is absurd.
MHR: Finally, can you tell me what your performance on the negotiating table?
CC: I feel very proud to come to lead peace, seek peace.
Here we do everything, but I have two very specific tasks within the peace negotiating table. One is the relationship with the media; to me it has touched me the part of Colombia, along with colleagues at the decanting of constant change. As I am not a journalist then I have had to study, research on the ethics of journalists, communication management, among other topics.
The relationship with the media has been hard, one thing is the nice talk with reporters, one on one, and another thing is when they spread the information, because the media is in Colombia does not belong to the people, they are private its corresponding guideline is to the oligarchy, to the media. We have shown as monsters, as the kidnappers and have misrepresented what they really mean these peace talks.
member of the Subcommittee on Gender also am. It has been a very important job, next to my colleagues I learned a lot, has sensitized me to understand women. I am very happy every time there is a meeting with women because I go more stronger and more knowledgeable and I reconfirm that we are not different from women who are outside, all feel the same needs, all fight for the same rights from different banks .
I think the fight is not only against sexual violence against women. From The Roundtable also we fight against the structural violence that exists without solution of (violence) having no political participation, have no real right to education, to health, to not have a good job, a good pension; that women must always prove that the man twice. We are fighting for the rights of women and the whole conglomerate of human society, the whole of society.