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Speech delivered by a former FARC guerrilla at La Candelabra forum

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Last week several media, including RCN television and Blu Radio, reproduced the stories of a supposed FARC former-guerilla, who spent her time in smearing the commanders and guerrillas, for what she called permanent sexual harassment.

I dare to assure you that the story given by Mrs. Sara Morales, a deserter of the FARC organization, is a great defamation when she speaks to the media saying that the guerrillas recruited by force, that women were raped all the time and that the commanders allowed this.

I joined the FARC at 14. My dream was to study, but because I was the daughter of poor peasants, I could not do it. Besides poverty, my father was very strict with his children, and that I couldn’t stand when I was at home. When I asked to join the guerrillas, both men and women, told me: "Girl, this is very hard, you would suffer a lot, don’t come here. Wait a few years to think it over”. I stubbornly insisted, my thought being that the suffering should last for a while not all the time.

Finally they accepted me in. I came to the guerrilla, where no man disrespected me. On the contrary, they helped me a lot, because I was still a child, they advised me how to behave, how to do things. My commanders told me that I could not get a boyfriend until I was 16.

It is a great ignorance to believe that in an armed force, where women carry rifles, pistols and grenades, and where they are prepared for combat, they will be raped and outraged, without any reaction on their part. Who would think that if this really were the case there would be so many women in ranks in the FARC?

I stayed in the guerrilla for 26 continuous years until the abandonment of arms. I was a fighter, who, like all those I met in the guerrilla, enjoyed respect and consideration from men commanders and comrades. Like many other girls I had a son, nobody forced me to have an abortion.

Today I am really angry to hear statements such as those of this deserter and the campaign that right-wing politicians, who know nothing of respect for human rights, in alliance with various media, seek to discredit the struggle of an organization of sons and daughters of the people, who gave everything for a better future for their compatriots.

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