They are the second generation of the Colombia FARC. Both came to the guerrillas during the peace process Belisario Betancur and made part of its expansion during the truce. They saw the birth and death of the Patriotic Union. They have clear memories of the bombing of Green House, and gambled all encircle Bogota to seize power. They also knew that in El Caguan not achieve peace, and bit the dust during the Patriot Plan.
Kunta Kinte was born in Buenos Aires, Cauca, but met the FARC in Caqueta. Immediately he felt he had found his place. “This has been my school,” he says. His comrades christened him as the star of Real Estate, the television series inspired by the struggle of an African slave. “I fell into good hands.” It means that from its earliest days was with Jorge Briceno, Mono Jojoy. Kinte was one of his most loyal squires until his death.
At the same time Byron was incorporated. In his case, being a guerilla was almost inevitable. His father, Gerardo Gonzalez, was a renowned agricultural leader Sumapaz, member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party and founder of Fensuagro. “Growing up in a communist family is to have a different view to the common people. My father was an atheist. Learned to read in the newspaper ‘Voice’ “he says with a hint of pride. He was active in the Communist Youth, like almost the entire leadership of the FARC, and as almost all of them, abandoned his studies to take up arms.
In the late eighties both were part of the foundation of the Eastern bloc, under Jojoy, Timoshenko and Pastor Alape. This would become one of the most important theaters for the FARC, the epicentre of final battles. One can say that in their territories war and peace was defined. The most important milestone in its early years was the bombing of Casa Verde in La Uribe, Meta, during the government of Cesar Gaviria. Byron recalls that Defense Minister Rafael Pardo “went on to say that we had finished in 18 months. That raised our morale. ” In 1993, the FARC decided to take power needed to reach Bogota and delivered him to this block the mission to encircle the capital. Task attempted to blood and fire.
Kinte carries a gun with a telescopic sight. Although it has been in the front line, it is not considered a friend of the war. “Nobody understands the language of arms”. He admits to being tired. For as they have erased many limits in the war, they have also felt the overwhelming weight of enemy fire. “The bombings are a disproportion,” says Byron. The worst occurred has lived in Vista Hermosa, Meta, when he was attacked their camp. In total they killed 26 of their classmates. A butchery. Kinte stir a little in his wooden chair, looking throne, to talk about the pain. Reminds Yeimi, the woman he lived for ten years. “They ambushed and vandalized. I cried with anger. “
The story of how the war since the breakup of El Caguan until the death of Mono Jojoy is yet to be written. Hundreds of unidentified bodies in the cemetery of Meta and Caqueta witness battles. There are dozens of fighters buried in the mountain whose bodies will be impossible to find because the terrain changes over the years. “Life was in the war we built a vision of society. But through war we not achieve that goal of power. Have matured to understand that you need to find peace, “Byron says wistfully. The strategic objective remains to reach Bogota, but without weapons. No combination of forms of struggle.
As commanders of fronts and blocks that have been, Byron and Kunta Kinte carry on their shoulders an old iron. Not ignore be potential recipients of transitional justice. Do you like the agreement reached in Havana? “Why do we feel afraid to tell the truth if we are the least responsible for what happened?” Says Kinte. The FARC is repeated like a mantra that the State forced to take up arms. And if there was heinous crimes, all explains the armed conflict. “What happened, it happened in the war. There were difficulties and you have to talk with victims. Let’s tell the whole truth, “says Byron.
However, the history of the Eastern bloc has not been only battles. The FARC destroyed entire villages with cylinders, especially in Cundinamarca and Meta. Context Unit in the Prosecutor lie records of 44 shots. Byron broods when talking about the destroyed villages. “If I were to live rather that those things do not happen. We were in the middle of learning about the popular weapons. Yes, some of those things I look at it critically. ” It also supports bitterly that the killings of councilors and politicians in Huila and Caqueta were mistakes.
The two most difficult issues are the lowest in the war and kidnappings. According to the prosecution, this block recruited 7,867 children. During El Caguan entered en masse. “If I have to hang me because as a commander I picked a boy hit by violence, because they hang me. And if we have to put your face so we are going to put “says Kinte, emphatic. Kidnapping is even thornier. They are attributed to block 2,818 military and political, and calls miraculous catches. The hostages suffered cruel, surrounded by barbed wire and sometimes chained. “There may be an example of excess prisoners. But no policy or plan “riposta Kinte.
Drug trafficking lights alerts when mentioned. This block has on his shoulders 11 processes and conviction. Byron revira: “There is no one crystallizing”. The prosecution in an internal document recognizes that in this area there are more crop processing or trafficking. “We do not belong to the mafia, only charge a tax.” Ensure that the point of the agreements on drugs will be easy to apply in this territory if the government programs for farmers. But what traffickers who buy pasta? Will they contribute to dismantle their networks? The answer, for now, is no. “They come and go buy. Where to? Police do know “.
Life in the civil
Extortion is triggered in Caqueta and Meta. So many wonder if this block commanders are expanding their coffers, or doubt whether they can live with little money, like any Colombian. “With a very small budget we can survive. Revolutionaries do not need luxury … goods, “says Kinte. Both he and Byron have put their hopes on the “terrepaz” will be their workplaces. But how can they imagine? “The government is designing a plan to get us into the depths of the jungle. But we will not stay in an inert land. Come to where there is population, “says Kunta. Byron does not skimp on imagination. He believes that the future of the Llanos del Yari is in agribusiness. And he winks at Rafael Pardo, Minister of Post-Conflict today: “We will play to talk to him.” Sit with opponents would be a new experience. “We must stop the petty side, hatred and revenge that has thrown us into the abyss,” says Kinte. However, they know that reconciliation is still far away.
Would Kunta Kinte go out quietly through the streets of San Vicente del Caguan or Florence?
He thinks hard before answering. He laughs and then frowns. “We entered an unknown world. Trust and distrust at the same time. ” Byron, meanwhile, says the new party will live where available. He is willing to stay in the Llanos del Yari or return to Bogota, where it came from three decades ago. “These agreements must ensure that never again will use the weapons in politics”. Therefore he insists, the government must stop the paramilitaries, whose threat remains latent.
Both refuse to speak pardon, and at most say that we must acknowledge mistakes or to apologize. But they are emphatic in their commitment to non-repetition. Kinte closes with a heartfelt statement: “For me the first thing is this: not to this war.”
I Sambo, my mother was a Arhuaco Indian and my dad a black, “says Arley Biohó. At 30 vividly recalls his childhood. “I wanted to be a footballer. Also studying systems. ” But the life of his father conspired against his dream. Sixto Antonio Cabana was a trade unionist in the Magdalena banana plantations, councilman of the Patriotic Union, communist militant, ended in the late eighties become Biohó Sunday, a renowned commander of the FARC. Thus began a hellish persecution for Arley and three sisters. “I did not want to be partisan, not wanted.” When his father “enmontó” his mother also left them. The four children were rolling from house to house. “I was very desperate, I did not know where to hide. Relatives of my friends forbade them to go with me. ” Things got worse during the dialogues of El Caguan when his father was appointed to be part of the thematic team and his face appeared on television every day. The persecution of paramilitary Hernán Giraldo raged against his family. The father asked him to join the guerrillas but he resisted. Until one day he could not help, and February 20, 2001 he and his three sisters joined the FARC. “I was 14 and including 16, 12 and 11”.
Paradoxically, the guerrillas were almost always away from his father. “In 2003 we said goodbye with a toast” because he was traveling with Simon Trinidad to Ecuador. Not him again because he died in 2010 destroyed in a bombing of great magnitude. Now that an agreement is underway to find the bodies of-saparecidos in war, Arley hopes that will give him the remains of his father to the family to give proper burial.
“I want to be like him. My dad was a communist to die. ” So now reviewing the pages of the Communist Manifesto of Karl Marx. “One does not enter conscious, but over the years realize why there need to be Fariano. You know what the class to which one belongs: poor class “. Arley has had to accommodate their dreams to reality. “Since I can not be a footballer but at least I can study. I like to study. ” She wants to follow in the footsteps of his father, returning to Magdalena and become a political leader as he was when he was in the UP. “Being mayor of a town of Magdalena,” he says. Back to see friends from childhood and find his mother. “I’m very fond of the FARC because they were brought up me. My dad is the FARC “.