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gabriel.jpgRSS Gabriel Ángel

Gabriel Ángel is writer and guerrilla fighter of the FARC-EP
Friday, 08 December 2017 00:00

59 years teach to think

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Last Wednesday I turned 59. Forty springs had already passed since I was 19, being a law student of the National University, when, emotionally destroyed by the loss of my first love, I met Aracelly one night, a 30-year-old prostitute, who introduced me to the other face of the world, in the happy nights we spent among cafés and motels in the Santa Fe neighborhood, in the capital of the country.

The night I met her, in a tavern called San Carlos, Ninth and Fifteen, the first café I entered in my life, invited by a great friend who worked in a criminal court, we talked about many subjects under red lights and tropical songs like Roncola and Entre Rejas. Laughing loudly, between flirtations and dances, we talked about prostitution as a social disease and how the Cuban revolution had dared to confront it.

Neither then nor later did I participate in any political movement of the left. But I read with application the texts of Marxist philosophy and economics, which were responsible for chiselling in my brain a general view of the world and society, in essence rebellious with the established order of things.

Teacher Eduardo Umaña Luna was Dean of the Faculty, who incorporated an academic reform that sought to replace the model of doctor “codiguero” with that of the humanist lawyer.

Time goes by without you really noticing it. Only until now, when I am approaching 60, do I seem to perceive that the passage of decades really brings about deep transformations.

For example, I was born ten years after April 9 and exactly in the year in which the revolutionary triumph of Fidel in Cuba took place. I had not turned 6 when the FARC was born. I did not know how much that would influence me.

It had been 26 years since Gaitán's death when I entered the University. That fact, which I heard as a child spoken about by my parents at home, seemed to me too long ago. Like the fall of Batista. At the university it was already spoken about the FARC and the ELN as old guerrillas, just as the M-19 was new. Now, 30 years after the crime of Jaime Pardo Leal, it seems to me that it happened only yesterday. This was the case with other things for my parents, a matter of affection.

I heard Mono Jojoy making a comment a couple of times that I not only knew things because I had studied or read them, but also because I was old and had seen many of them. If I think in retrospect, seven years after his death, after almost 10 years under his orders, I can not deny that life has taken me to places and moments unsuspected in my childhood. When I was a child, I dreamed of being a priest, but it was my father who radically opposed sending me to the seminary.

My old man, who had been born in the north of Boyacá in 1923, in a conservative family, from where he came to Bogotá, like so many other young people from his village, attracted to the police of the 50s, reached his pension as a sergeant there in the year ’68. However, I assure you that he was one of the most decent men I have ever met. In his last years he defended my decision to join the FARC, he did not believe in the old country where he lived.

A few days ago I went to the funeral home, at a cousin’s wake. There I found the youngest of my father's brothers, more than eighty years on his shoulders. He also owed his pension to the police, although he never became an agent. They were first laurenistas, and alvaristas later. They always remembered Rojas Pinilla with affection. My uncle embraced me excited, we had won an amnesty, we were another legend in the history of this country, he did not hide his amazement.

Walking in Bogotá, one of my older brothers invited me to listen to music that would bring me memories, and proceeded to put the Beatles. While he was driving we went on talking about lost times. Of our years in San Bartolomé and education with the Jesuits. He graduated from high school in 1972 and one of his classmates was the current Prosecutor Néstor Humberto. I remembered that I treated him in Caguán, he was a minister and he laughed loudly at one of my chronicles.

On Tuesday I followed for a while the debate on the draft law on special peace constituencies. I was piqued by the hatred of his opponents. For them there were only a few victims in the conflict, the other country has never existed, the one trampled by them, the one martyred by them, the one that cries out for participation and justice.

Poor people, they consider themselves innocent, fear blinds them.

Last modified on Saturday, 09 December 2017 08:03