We have learned the news about the case of Héctor Albeidis Arboleda Buitrago, presented by the media as the FARC doctor and allegedly accused of practising 500 forced abortions in Fronts 7 and 49 of the FARC-EP between 1998 and 2000.
The facts mentioned in this story only deserve our full and decisive rejection as an organization, because it goes against our principles and guidelines.
The policies of the FARC-EP on contraception and sexual violence are no secret to anyone, but we believe it is necessary to briefly repeat them to the national and international public opinion:
Using contraception methods in our organization is a mandatory standard for men and women, because the conditions of war determine so. It is impossible to raise sons and daughters in the jungle, and this is thoroughly explained to those who want to join our ranks for them to have full clarity on the subject.
Sexual violence is a crime of the utmost gravity in our ranks, enshrined as such in our internal rules. Not only is it sanctioned with the procedure of a court martial, but there is also high probability that it is sentenced with the maximum penalty provided by our Disciplinary Rules.
Abortion is not considered a method of contraception. Performing it is the last resort to which we appeal when, in spite of the contraception measures taken, there is an unwanted pregnancy. In all cases, the risks for the mother, the future child and the rest of the guerrilla combatants is taken into consideration.
It must be noted that most of the world’s armies handle special rules for female combatants, including compulsory contraception or limiting physically intensive activities during pregnancy. Our insurgent army lives permanently in a state of total war. A pregnant guerrilla combatant means a certain risk of death for herself and the child she carries inside her, or, at best, of serious medical complications that endanger her life and that of her fellow fighters.
Taking into account the existing laws in countries that have legalized abortion and considering it is a fundamental right of women to decide about their bodies, the FARC-EP has been specifying its guidelines about the conditions and moments for performing the termination of pregnancy. This right of the combatants is now expressed by rules that prohibit any surgical intervention without the consent of the guerrilla combatant and put a maximum time limit of three months for it.
The female guerrilla combatants of the FARC-EP are women committed to the cause of social justice; they are political subjects, revolutionary women who fight consciously and freely for a better country. Each and every one of them voluntarily joined the organization, and in doing so they commit to comply with all internal rules. We therefore reject those voices that intend to disqualify them, either ignoring their contribution to the struggle or presenting them as victims of an alleged male violence within our organization.
Our national and local leadership has carried out the relevant inquiries in the two fronts cited by the news, and we certify that in none of them the mentioned individual has been a member; nobody even knows the man. Therefore it is clear that it is a judicial and media hoax.
We cannot tolerate the fact that some seek to dehumanize the revolutionary cause with syndications as false and infamous as the rape of women or the use of corpses of fallen guerrilla combatants to teach anatomy classes.
As female combatants who have chosen the legal path of armed rebellion, they have assumed great sacrifices. It is not our Organization that has taken away from them the right to be mothers, but the war, imposed on us by those who hold power. Out of respect for the victims of this conflict, we demand the Prosecutor’s Office, the Military Intelligence services, the Ombudsman and the media, to be professional and ethical in their research. Peace is not built on slander, it is founded on truth.
Our decision to struggle is unwavering. As we did during the war, we hope to build tomorrow a stable and lasting peace with social justice that will enable national reconciliation, together with the women and with all the Colombian people.
Secretariat of the Central High Command of the FARC-EP
January 2, 2016