Peace process in Colombia: The five years of peace of a former guerrilla: “We will manage to understand each other about pain and blood” | International

A portrait of former combatant Doris Suárez.Camilo Rozo

I did not have to lose my freedom to value it in its full magnitude. Che used to say that jail was a work accident, and I assumed it that way. Seen this way, I was “incapacitated for work” for 14 years and one day. Saying it obviously has a different dimension to the one lived. I arrived at the jail smeared with mountains and camaraderie, I had it beyond my skin, that was my shell.

During that pocotón For years, they walked me through five prisons in the country. I had literature as a bastion, the good example that so many social fighters radiant with dignity and courage have left us, and perhaps also those arbitrary transfers helped me to survive without falling apart or letting myself be smeared with the public and secret vices that proliferate in all prisons . You cannot go through life carrying grudges for what I saw, what I experienced and those who remained there. Much less now that I am here, thanks to the peace agreement, free for four years and seven months.

I can hardly believe it. I remember that when I left I was amazed by the fruits, the colors, the red wine, the beer. Happy to the bone, a strange happiness that still covers me and even reaches me to not give up despite the murders of my comrades and the breach of the peace agreement.

The social struggle attracted me since I was a child, but my entry into the guerrilla is linked to dramatic events: the murder of more than 5,000 members of the Patriotic Union, the party that emerged with that small peace that was the truce in 1986, and the murder of some young communists, very close to where I was at that time. Before formally entering the ranks, I was flirting with the guerrillas in hiding. In addition to the mountains and their enchantment, I miss the camaraderie, the cold of the early mornings, the practical learning, the walks and even the stumbling and the occasional shot.

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When we were finally released from prison, I had every intention of going to an ETCR [Espacios Territoriales de Capacitación y Reincorporación]. Living in the countryside, on sovereign and self-sufficient farms that would become benchmarks of good living fariano with which we would infect the population. My dream was not so far-fetched, the peace agreement and the point of comprehensive reform heralded a new stage for the peasantry. But a comrade convinced me to stay in the city.

So being the only woman, I joined with nine other comrades to start our productive project and after fighting against indicators and figures that we did not understand very well, we presented our business plan to produce and commercialize craft beer that has the registered trademark of La Trocha. Now we also have a broader horizon, we have a surname: La casa de la paz, a place where we not only make visible the products of other ex-combatants and victims of the conflict, but is also becoming a benchmark for reconciliation and collective care where many cultural expressions converge. from the city.

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It has not been easy. During the pandemic, we dodged the situation so as not to let the fledgling project die. In August 2020 we got a house at a low price on the condition that the rent would be extended until it was sold. They did not and yet they evicted us. We had to make a complaint in the media so that they relaxed the requirements of landlords and real estate companies. And it worked. We succeeded, but it was not our sole merit, but that of civil society who, with many messages, pressed for the requirements of the insurers to be made more flexible.

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I am proud of this collective effort that we are making, but we do not risk our freedom and our lives just for this, but for a better future for the majority, that peace of tomorrow with social equity. We are facing great evidence, the violent, although few, are still powerful and resist losing their privileges, but an immense young and mature force takes more and more awareness and their indifference is broken. That encourages.

Now is what I have. And I am still here, stubborn in the house on the trail, the house of peace, with my team, with the certainty that in this diverse Colombia we will all fit, that we will manage to understand each other about pain and blood.

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