The Honor of Being a Woman in the FARC-EP

If for the totality of combatants who are part of this movement it is an honor to belong to the FARC-EP, it is much more so for women, not only due to the symbolic value of fully committing to the cause of the happiness of the Colombian people, but also because of the meaning that our work has in the revolutionary process, in which we are included under the same conditions as our fellow male combatants.

It is not easy to endure the physical conditions imposed by the armed confrontation in the insides of the jungle, but here we feel at home. We cover ourselves with an immense blanket of morality, of optimism and abnegation; because despite the rustic military environment, our organization gives us the opportunity to rebuild our feminine identity, which allows us to be political and military subjects.

We live and feel social equality within the ranks. In the political and military line of the FARC-EP there are no differences of any kind between women and men. Internally, and from the beginning, we have overcome the first obstacle to female liberation, expressed in the patriarchal system’s homemaker allocation of women, now aggravated by the capitalist voracity of making women the main consumers, one more commodity or cheaper labor.

Actually, here we breathe a different atmosphere over the years, not without pain or trouble, since all of us that are part of the FARC come from the same sexist and discriminating society. But we have understood that generating changes in the system depends on all women and men, we tirelessly struggle, on an equal footing, to make our homeland the best home for Colombians.

We have learned to live together fraternally, to the extent that by the prolongation of this struggle, we can say that male and female FARC-EP combatants are not only soldiers of the revolution, but also a large family. We look out for each other every single day, and women can be sure that we will always find in our companions their solidarity and protection. In the same way we are ready to protect them when the opportunity comes, as in fact it has always happened. In the vicissitudes of our activity we have acquired an immense and unbreakable force, and deep down, an energetic sensitivity that springs even more in the critical moments where we are all one and all.

Here we all agree that without the participation of women in the ranks, the resistance and tenacity that the FARC-EP has shown during more than half a century of struggle would have been unthinkable. And despite the difficulties inherent in the war, we have all managed to print our seal on the face of the FARC-EP, in which we appear together and equal to our comrades, brothers, friends and companions. That is the full face of the FARC, for which we will always fight without rest.

I bring up the words of comrade Manuel Marulanda Vélez, our leader, driver and teacher, who in 1993, referring to the petition to appoint a woman in the Central High Command –and in order for it not to be said that the FARCE-P discriminated against women- responded that the day that a woman were to belong to the Central High Command, it would not be because of pity, charity or a simple formalism, but because that woman had the merits to exercise the position that was being given. That shows that we have indeed gained the places we now occupy [as there are woman in the Central High Command]. In all units of the FARC-EP feminine capacities shine, which are not different from masculine capacities, or at least, not in essence.

Let me now repeat, with my heart in my hand and feeling it from the depths of my being, the words expressed by comrade Mariana Paez in the presentation of women from the Thematic Commission for the Caguán dialogues: “I am a Colombian woman and a guerrilla combatant of the FARC, the two things that most fill my life with pride”.

To her and to all the revolutionary heroines of Colombia and the world, thank you, because they taught us all that “woman participation is essential to achieve the noblest goals of the nation and of human kind”.

¡Camarada Mariana Páez!… ¡Presente, presente, siempre presente!