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gabriel.jpgRSS Gabriel Ángel

Gabriel Ángel is writer and guerrilla fighter of the FARC-EP
Sunday, 16 April 2017 00:00

The ordeal of mothers of the FARC

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The Peace Agreement provided for the widest possible amnesty for FARC guerrillas in accordance with Geneva Protocols, which was implemented in detail in law 1820 of last year and with decree 277 of this year, consecrating at the same time the freedom for all our prisoners.

For them, some procedures were envisaged which -as defined by the aforementioned regulatory decree- must be fulfilled within ten days, under the responsibility of the Execution Sentencing Judges and the Prosecutor's Office. From then on we have lived a true ordeal. The reasons are the sum of the most unprecedented pretexts by public officials.

Just to give an idea I will quote one. Our people were deprived of their liberty in different circumstances, accused of various illicit acts because of their membership to the FARC. Many of them were presented to the press as such and then tried and convicted. They were humiliated in a thousand ways for refusing to give up on the organization and become informants.

And in prisons they were granted the most unworthy treatment for being of the FARC. Now it turns out that some of those in charge of defining their freedom cling to the fact that it cannot be granted because they are not proven to belong to the FARC and that they will not release common criminals. The most inhuman campaign seems to have been unleashed to prolong the imprisonment of FARC members.

The previous is exemplified by the stories of the three girls I bring as a sample and who should move the decent people of our country to complain about the viciousness demonstrated against them. The first is Deisy, that’s her name within the guerrilla, and was part of the 37 Front for many years. I saw her during the 10th Guerrilla Conference in the Yarí [which took place September 2016 before the signing of the Final Peace Agreement with the Colombian Government]. She was part of the prisoners who were authorized to go to the event.

And as a sign of the seriousness of the FARC, they all returned to their seclusion once the event ended, with the assurance that in a couple of months their freedom would be materialized. Her civilian name is Lida María Urrego Lascarro and she has a girl who in a few weeks will turn three years old, the age in which prison authorities no longer allow for the child to be with her mother.


She expressed it in a public letter the following: "... don’t allow me ... to separate from my daughter, she everything to me, my friend, my partner, my life, my strength to endure prison, and my breath". No one is moved. By law and in strict sense she should have already been released, either through a provisional release or in a Transitional Zone with the rest of the guerrillas and in companionship of her daughter. But the reality is that her daughter will be taken away because she is still in prison and her daughter will be 3 years old.

Her file rests in the Criminal Court of the Specialized Circuit of Cartagena which must decree another amnesty, since one was already granted by a court of Montería. We do not rule out that if the amnesty is granted by the Cartagena Court, another charge would rise in another court in an incomprehensible sequence. A woman, a mother will lose her daughter, they will take her away even though according to the laws her freedom should have already been granted.

Another similar and endless ordeal occurs with Mayerli Becerra Muñoz, FARC guerrilla deprived of freedom in the women's prison of Cúcuta. Despite her advanced state of pregnancy she was not granted house arrest, and only when she imminently entered into labor she was finally transferred to the “Erasmo Meoz” University Hospital, where she gave birth to a child that she named Myker Farley.

The birth occurred on February 13 of this year, and the amnesty law is in force, this means that she should have already been released. With this line of argumentation it was requested to the Judge of Execution of Penalties to at least grant her house arrest, to which a negative response was obtained. She was transferred to the prison where she was confined in a pavilion that serves as nursery.

Her longed freedom, to which she is entitled by virtue of the law and the amnesty decree, remained elusive. A month and a half later, her baby suffered an ear infection and was ordered to the hospital where her immediate hospitalization was arranged. Her mother was not able to go with her, and the ICBF [Family Wellness Institute] advised her to appoint a guardian to take care of the child.

Without any relatives in the city of Cúcuta, Mayerli´s attorney requested the appointment of a third party who in the name of the mother would act as caretaker. The request was denied and instead another person was appointed to take care of the child until it recovers and then returned to her mother in prison. The mother's release order is still pending.

None of this should happen. Mother and baby should be together, but the reality is the opposite. For comfort, the Office of the High Commissioner for Peace says that they are monitoring the case on a permanent basis.

More painful due to its fatal consequences is the case of Mariana, from the “Teofilo Forero” column of the FARC-EP, who was captured while wounded with her partner and then condemned for the crime of rebellion and other related offences back in 2014.

Her real name is Rocío Cuellar Guevara and is in the women's prison of “El Buen Pastor” in Bogotá. Her amnesty and freedom sleeps in the dream of the just in the 21st Court of Execution of Penalties of Bogota. She conceived a son whose father is her partner Luis Alberto Mora Ramos, prisoner in the “La Picota” penitentiary, to which the amnesty is not yet granted either.

Rocio’s attorneys appealed to all possible variants to request her freedom, through the amnesty law or her advanced state of pregnancy, even to at least achieve for her to be translated to a Transitional Zone where all the FARC-EP guerrillas are grouped. Nothing was granted. Affected severely in her health condition she was sent from prison to the Engativá Hospital in Bogotá, where she was hospitalized in complete isolation.

No one could visit or assist her as ordered by the INPEC [prison authorities]. Doctors warned of the need for special treatment in a higher-level entity insisting on the fact that mother´s condition was getting worst and that this was a risk to the baby that she was about to have. It was necessary to arrange her transfer for which the presence of a relative was required in order to take care of the matter.

Following the FARC's negotiations with the high government, the Office of the High Commissioner for Peace reported on April 4 that they were managing the situation so that she could receive visits. The mother of Rocío and the Legal Corporation were authorized to enter. To their surprise, the permit expired a week later, the offices were closed for holly week holidays and it was necessary to wait until Easter.

On 7 April, the Office of the High Commissioner for Peace replied that the case was under permanent monitoring. When the baby arrived prematurely on the night of April 11, no one could enter the hospital to see the girl. Due to her premature condition, the baby required to be transferred to another hospital. And just like her mother, there was no human power able to achieve that.

They simply said that where they were trying but that there were no beds available. They were struggling. They demanded for the mother of Rocío to go with her to the transfer of hospitals, but when she finally arrived they told her that there were no beds available. The wall was insurmountable. The baby passed away on the dawn of the 14th. Then the excuses came, no one recognized any fault, “they had done everything they could in any case”.

Now Rocío must return to her prison cell. Her mother, her attorneys and perhaps some supporters are making the process for the baby’s burial to take place, to which Rocío will surely want to attend and for which maybe she will be granted permission to go. Her mourning is also the mourning of the FARC as a whole and of all the noble and good people of Colombia. Another country is possible, we will build it.

Havana, April 15, 2017.

Last modified on Sunday, 16 April 2017 14:51