Martes, 24 de enero de 2017

| 2010/03/23 00:00

After the revolution: Why are Farc's young soldiers laying down their guns?

March 23--For more than 40 years, Farc's Marxist-Leninist guerrillas have waged bloody war against the Colombian Government. But now its soldiers are deserting in droves. Paul Bignell travels to the heart of the country to hear their stories of abuse and ideological betrayal and the difficulties they face in trying to reintegrate into society.

After the revolution: Why are Farc's young soldiers laying down their guns?

Bogota, Colombia. Yandri Gonzalez sits in a café, sipping at a can of fruit juice, pondering a question about her time as a soldier in one of the world's most notorious armed guerrilla groups. The 21-year-old is petite and timid, with a measured demeanour. She rarely makes eye contact, preferring to look at her hands when she speaks. But occasionally she will shoot a sharp glance that offers a glimpse into the world of violence and mayhem she was thrust into at the age of 13.

"My uncles and aunts belonged to the guerrillas. Then my brother enlisted and I started feeling lonely. I wasn't brought up by my family, as my mother abandoned my brother and me when I was a baby, so it was easy for me to join."

Until last December, Gonzalez had spent more than seven years of her young life living in the jungle as a soldier in the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, perhaps better known by its acronym, Farc. A Marxist-Leninist guerrilla organisation heavily involved in the country's ongoing civil war since the 1960s, its principal stated aim, which it shares with Colombia's other main guerrilla group, the National Liberation Army (ELN), is to overthrow the Government.
 
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