Interview with ex-FARC commander: ‘No instruction manuals for peace’

By bogotapost February 5, 2018

Video: Danny Concha, Cuentos Colombianos

This video interview visits a reintegration camp and speaks to an ex-FARC Commander who gives his perspective on what peace could mean for Colombia.

“There are no instruction manuals, no encyclopedias on how to build peace,” an ex-guerrilla fighter and military FARC Commander tells Danny Concha in a moving interview. “You can read the works of Sun Tzu, Clausewitz, Sun Bin and a handful of others who have written many books about waging war. But for peace? Nothing.”

He is speaking from ‘The Citadel’ – a reintegration camp where 250 ex-combatants are shedding their lives as fighters and adapting to their new lives as citizens. “It’s not easy, you can’t just adapt overnight,” he says, explaining that every day the community is learning. “We are coming out of a confrontation where you are trained with army-like discipline and when you enter back into civilian life you have to behave differently because it’s no longer about obeying orders.”

“In many ways, the end of the conflict is the reunion of families,” says the bespectacled former fighter who is being interviewed against a rainy backdrop. “Around a month ago, my son visited. He’s 30 years old and that was basically the first time I met him.”

He emphasised the importance of dialogue, stressing that, “Confrontation and conflict only brings about death and pain and tears. Over the course of this 53-year conflict, how many widows? How many orphans?”

“It is obvious that our bullets caused suffering too,” the ex-FARC commander reflects. “That is why dialogue is more important than confrontation.”

“Why are we killing each other?” he asks. “We’ve found that apart from demanding land for farming, education and a roof over our heads, what we want is to express our political views – to dream up the sort of country we want to build and to speak out publically.”

Danny Concha’s Cuentos Colombianos channel offers the opportunity to meet some of the fascinating characters in Colombia and understand more about the country. This short documentary was taken with permission from United Nations Peacekeepers.