Interview with Natalie Mistral, International Combatant of the FARC-EP

“I am a communist, I have always been, and as such I am internationalist; I don’t recognize neither the bourgeois concept of the nation-state, nor the artificial boundaries that want to restrict my identity. I am part of the people, a citizen of the world who decided to take part in a global war declared a long time ago by the big capitalists to the rest of humanity”.

This is part of an article written by Natalie Mistral, entitled “We are internationalists … so what!” in which she vindicates her status of internationalist combatant, while she extols the value and detachment for anything individual of so many men and women like her, who decided to expand their frontiers to give the best of themselves to the noble cause of the oppressed.

This statement is enough to know that Natalie is a woman who, like many other human beings on this planet, does not believe in borders when it is about defending issues of justice and human dignity. She affirms that feeling of solidarity when she says “Colombia deserves the world’s attention”. Another important aspect to highlight is that she used to be a labor activist and she participated in the different social struggles of her country.

Nearly two years after these statements, with the experience of more than twelve years of membership in the FARC-EP, a period characterized as one of the bloodiest in the fascist onslaught against the organization, Natalie speaks with mujerfariana, on foreign policy, Latin-American integration and feminism.

Mujer Fariana (MF): What do you think think of the foreign policy of the United States? What relationship do you see between the conflict in Libya, Syria, Ukraine and Venezuela, and in that context: what role does Colombia play?

Natalie Mistral (NM): The foreign policy of the United States is an aggressive policy aimed at the geo-economic control of the planet, in a colonial way.This means that the survival of the American way of life depends on its unlimited access to energy and biological resources produced by other nations, and all means to guarantee them seem valid.

What we are seeing now is the implementation of a strategy of destabilization against governments who do not submit to their interests. Therefore, they use and enhance an internal reactionary opposition, which they artificially organize and feed with the help of the CIA. This, with the help of paramilitary groups that generate street violence and with full support of the international media, gives an impression of chaos and lawlessness. It happened in Libya, Syria and Ukraine, among many sinister examples. The Venezuelan case is an example of heroism of a people that doesn’t allow anybody to pressure or manipulate it, despite the obvious and intense destabilization, which has increased since the death of Comandante Chavez.

In Colombia, the context is different, because the Republic has, since its inception, been subjected to the interests of Washington. Therefore there is no democracy but a masked dictatorship of changing faces. Here, the political opposition evolves towards a class struggle, and the highest expression of it is the revolutionary armed struggle, which arises from the impossibility of the existence of a true democracy. I am talking about an armed people, which has been resisting for more than 50 years and which has suffered more massacres and disappearances than during the dictatorships of the Southern Cone. The intervention of the United States in this case is to maintain the relationship of dependency, to avoid the fall of the government, at whatever cost. Without their intervention, Colombia would have had its revolution and established true democracy many years ago.

Colombia is a key player in the geo-strategic board of the continent. Its central geographical position, its water, its biological and mining- and energy resources are important for the United States, but also critical for achieving democratic consolidation in the region, once real democracy for the people is achieved. We can say that who controls Colombia, controls Latin America, and our commitment is to the people.

MF: What do Latin American integration processes, such as UNASUR, ALBA and CELAC mean, can these bodies contribute to peace in Colombia?

NM: I think they are important processes, from states, so that all of Latin America and the Caribbean can regain their sovereignty… for the construction of the Great Bolivarian Nation. And of course, the consolidation of a new power bloc to defend the well-being of its people and peace, changing the outlook for the colonialist and militaristic U.S. game, principles outlined in the Declaration of the Second Summit of CELAC held in Havana, Cuba in January 2013. ALBA is, moreover, an economically and politically independent body, in relation to the interests of central capitalism. I believe that they are some of the few international bodies that could be suitable to mediate in an armed social conflict, as intense and prolonged as the Colombian one.

MF: Let’s talk about being a female guerrilla combatant. Do you consider yourself a feminist?

NM: If we define feminism as critical thinking and political practice that rejects the unjust treatment of women and the domination of one sex over the other, yes. But above all I am a communist. I believe that the class struggle is anti-racist, anti-homophobic and anti-patriarchal and absolutely internationalist by nature. That’s not just a cute statement of principles, it is a necessity, because the capitalist system is based on racial, sexual and social division of labor; therefore capitalism won’t be destroyed without overcoming these misconceptions. Equity in all these matters is my aspiration for society.

Translated by FARC-EP