Sergeant (r) Gilberto Ávila Llano does not count the hours he has left to live. He is not interested. He says that he leaves this world with the satisfaction of having fulfilled his duty, but with the pain of feeling betrayed by the entity to which he devoted half of his life: the National Police.
Ávila Llano is 59 years old and is the first police officer in Colombia who will exercise his right to die with dignity next Monday and will receive euthanasia at 10 in the morning in Armenia, Quindío. His death will occur after a long struggle in which there were guardianships filed with the Police Health to receive the treatment that the same institution diagnosed him with in 2009.
“In that year they detected Parkinson’s disease while I was active, and yet they did not want to recognize the disease despite the fact that it appears on the medical board. They compensated me with 30 million pesos, but that’s like giving candy to a child so he doesn’t cry. They took advantage of my ignorance, ”says Ávila Llano from his house in the Boquía hamlet, in the municipality of Salento, Quindío.
Slow in words and with reduced mobility due to juvenile parkinsonism (it affects people under 50 years of age), the sergeant recounts that the disease has defeated him: he cannot go out alone, he depends on another person and he cannot do anything, “for That’s why I decided to practice a dignified death because I have no other recourse.
“Glyphosate is the culprit”
Sergeant Ávila Llano says that the Parkinson’s that keeps him tied to a chair most of the time is because of all the glyphosate that he had to swallow when he was part of the Jungla Antinarcotics group.
“We had the fumigations in Guaviare and in the country in 1995. We had to take care of the land before the aircraft entered to fumigate, all to prevent criminals from hitting the plane,” says Ávila Llano.
This Anti-narcotics policeman (r) expresses that once the aerial spraying was over “the chemical hit us and after fumigating we continued to breathe the glyphosate.”
After suffering the symptoms for three years without the Health doctors finding the causes of his pain, in 2009, while he was still active, a medical board diagnosed him with juvenile parkinson.
From that moment Ávila began a fight not only against his illness, but also against the police health system, which, according to him, denied him treatment and medication.
This was confirmed by the health inspector in Quindío, retired Sergeant Carlos López, who told this newspaper that if Sergeant Ávila Llano had not filed a guardianship, he would be without medication and medical treatment. “The most paradoxical thing is that he had to file a guardianship so that he could access treatment and undergo surgery,” says López.
A little less than a week ago, his classmates and unit mates met at Sergeant Ávila’s house. They tried to convince him not to receive euthanasia, but he responded as the policemen say when they arrive from a dangerous job: this is my mission accomplished.