The participants came from Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Kentucky, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas, as well as from Colombia, Costa Rica and Puerto Rico.
The meeting treated issues like gender perspective at the peace talks, the role of women in the FARC-EP, but also general topics like why the guerrilla forces exist in the first place, the role the guerrillas play in the areas where they are in charge and the FARC's viewpoint on LGBT, to mention just a few.
It became clear that there exist a lot of misunderstandings about the FARC-EP, especially in the United States. Many people don't know why we are at the peace talks; if we have or not a political program; if we see our families; if we are or not a political party, among many other issues, whether they be personal, political or military.
The reason is that people don't have access to information about the FARC-EP. Without information, no balanced opinion can be formed. The media could play an important role in providing information, but they have a clear political framework within which they (have to) operate. Terrorist organizations fall outside that framework and are considered groups of outsiders with unacceptable political (!) viewpoints (if it were about methods, many countries and organizations in the world would have to be on the list).
But the most important aspect, I think, was for people to see that we are ordinary people. They asked a lot about the backgrounds of the guerrilla fighters, why we joined, etc. I think that some of them "discovered" that we are actually people, with viewpoints, with dreams, who had no other option than to join the guerrilla forces. If the mainstream media have to be believed, guerrilla fighters are all playing the role of the bad guys in this terror movie called Colombian Conflict. We are the cause of it. The ones who, for some reason that never becomes clear, want war. Otherwise, we wouldn't be on the list of terrorist organizations, would we?
The reality isn't black and white though, and I think this meeting helped a lot in providing information so that people can make a fair judgement of the conflict in Colombia. But it also helped us, female guerrilla fighters of the FARC-EP and members of the Gender Sub-commission, to open our view and see that there is a lot of solidarity out there with Colombian people.
The delegation also met separately with negotiators of the FARC-EP and the Colombian Government, and with the guarantor countries Norway and Cuba.