The Base of the Mountain: THE RAPPROCHEMENT BETWEEN CAMPESINOS AND EX-COMBATANTS

Formulario de búsqueda

As part of its commitment, the ERA of Miranda promoted the rapprochement of actors who were conceived as like-minded from the beginning, but it also integrated other stakeholders who had antagonistic relationships. This space even gathered people who clung to feelings of pain and resentment, caused by the experiences lived during the most intense years of the armed conflict. However, the definition of shared objectives and the commitment to achieve them through daily discipline, encouraged a change of perspective about the other among participants, thus enabling processes of reconciliation, dialogue, and joint work in new areas for peacebuilding.  

On the other hand, for campesinos in ASPROZONAC, the arrival of PASO Colombia and the development of the ERA opened up a concrete chance to settle definitively in La Elvira and entertain a real possibility of living from agriculture. This happened because, once the received the land they had fought for, faced with the lack of technical assistance and technological tools (included in the guarantees negotiated with the state), they came to think that it would not be possible to transform a land exhausted by sugarcane production into a space for family agriculture. Today, the 25 campesino families have been able to establish their productive lives based on land improvement. To do this, they have relied on their individual empirical knowledge, in trainings developed in the ERA, and in the resources, infrastructure, and institutional support that has been expanding along its development.

In hindsight, we can affirm that having a portion of land where they were well received for the development of the ERA experience, became a key factor in proposing a project to support the reincorporation of ex-combatants. Likewise, the farm La Elvira served as a device of territorial anchorage required by ex-combatants to replace those years of itinerancy –even if, during their lives in the guerrilla, this itineracy was circumscribed to the same territory– with an individual and collective appropriation of a specific space.

These are some of the testimonies from campesinos and ex-combatants, that underscore the integration process and the transformation of relations encouraged by the ERA of Miranda.

  • At first, it was tough to see them here, because my mother-in-law died in a FARC attack. So, there was a resentment... But then, after seeing them working every day, we started to understand that it was better for everyone to have them here and not like before. (Campesino Woman, ASPROZONAC, March 5, 2020).
  • We’re the campesino association and we desire integration. We work together with reincorporated ex-combatants and we don’t have any problem with them being here. We expect the best results and we hope to develop the projects, both for those who are in the reincorporation process and for the campesino movement.” (Man, ASPROZONAC, date 2019).
  • “Recently my colleagues asked me, “Don’t you want to go to back to the mountains?” I told them, “No, what am I going to do there, if I’m already working here!” There’s a lot of work here, there’s a lot to do. For example, right now, you were looking at the fertilizers, and if you “Recently my colleagues asked me, “Don’t you want to go to back to the mountains?” I told them, “No, what am I going to do there, if I’m already working here!” There’s a lot of work here, there’s a lot to do. For example, right now, you were looking at the fertilizers, and if you
  • Let’s say that there’s a sense of fellowship. And I admire that here, because when you lose that, it’s difficult to recover. When you come to this space, you feel at ease with everyone, you feel safe, you feel good. We listen to each other and dialogue, and that is what allows us to have a collective. Because there may be flaws in all the work that we do, but if we dialogue and try to improve every day, then we’re moving forward (Woman, reincorporated ex-combatant, CEPRODET, September 18, 2019).
  • “Once, when he was a commander, he went to my house and sat down in the doorway. He said he was going to lead an attack from there! And I was about six months pregnant! And I asked him, “Are you going to stay here?” And he said, “Yes.” So, I had to take my daughter and go out to the mountain, to look for shelter! That time I was very angry! But you see him now and you know he’s having a hard time. So, as I’ve always liked politics, I represent campesino women, and now I go with him to the meetings.” (Campesino woman, ASPROZONAC, March 5, 2020).
  • “With the help of MM, we installed the coat rack, and we told them that it was meant for organizing bags, shoes, and shirts, but they continued to be messy. One day, I grabbed everything I found and put it in a sack, and at the time of departure, there were some of them who were confused and looking for their belongings. I laughed because I had taken the sack to the tool room. Finally, I told them that if they did not make a mess again, I would tell them where their things were. From that moment on, they started being orderly with their belongings.” (Campesino woman, Farmer, October 2020).
  • At first, it was tough to see them here, because my mother-in-law died in a FARC attack. So, there was a resentment... But then, after seeing them working every day, we started to understand that it was better for everyone to have them here and not like before. (Campesino Woman, ASPROZONAC, March 5, 2020).
  • We’re the campesino association and we desire integration. We work together with reincorporated ex-combatants and we don’t have any problem with them being here. We expect the best results and we hope to develop the projects, both for those who are in the reincorporation process and for the campesino movement.” (Man, ASPROZONAC, date 2019).
  • “Recently my colleagues asked me, “Don’t you want to go to back to the mountains?” I told them, “No, what am I going to do there, if I’m already working here!” There’s a lot of work here, there’s a lot to do. For example, right now, you were looking at the fertilizers, and if you “Recently my colleagues asked me, “Don’t you want to go to back to the mountains?” I told them, “No, what am I going to do there, if I’m already working here!” There’s a lot of work here, there’s a lot to do. For example, right now, you were looking at the fertilizers, and if you
  • Let’s say that there’s a sense of fellowship. And I admire that here, because when you lose that, it’s difficult to recover. When you come to this space, you feel at ease with everyone, you feel safe, you feel good. We listen to each other and dialogue, and that is what allows us to have a collective. Because there may be flaws in all the work that we do, but if we dialogue and try to improve every day, then we’re moving forward (Woman, reincorporated ex-combatant, CEPRODET, September 18, 2019).
  • “Once, when he was a commander, he went to my house and sat down in the doorway. He said he was going to lead an attack from there! And I was about six months pregnant! And I asked him, “Are you going to stay here?” And he said, “Yes.” So, I had to take my daughter and go out to the mountain, to look for shelter! That time I was very angry! But you see him now and you know he’s having a hard time. So, as I’ve always liked politics, I represent campesino women, and now I go with him to the meetings.” (Campesino woman, ASPROZONAC, March 5, 2020).
  • “With the help of MM, we installed the coat rack, and we told them that it was meant for organizing bags, shoes, and shirts, but they continued to be messy. One day, I grabbed everything I found and put it in a sack, and at the time of departure, there were some of them who were confused and looking for their belongings. I laughed because I had taken the sack to the tool room. Finally, I told them that if they did not make a mess again, I would tell them where their things were. From that moment on, they started being orderly with their belongings.” (Campesino woman, Farmer, October 2020).