February 27, 2021

FARC ex-guerrillas graduate as heavy machinery operators



65 FARC ex-guerrillas graduated Thursday as heavy machinery operators after more than three months of technical and academic training in the municipality of La Unión, in the Colombian department of Valle del Cauca (southwest).

In total there were one woman and 64 men graduates, including Hernán Alirio Montes Vega who belonged to several fronts of the former guerrilla for 20 years and highlighted “this type of training” that the ex-combatants requested a year after the signing of the agreement of peace between the Government and the FARC in November 2016.

“We left (with the war) with the intention of training ourselves in other types of experiences to learn more about working life, about how the employment and unemployment system works and this gives us the results we could see today: we received training extensive in three months, “Montes told Efe.

He said the goal of the 65 graduates, who received a certification from the Heavy Machinery Association of Colombia (Asomap), is to take advantage of the opportunity to get a job and “contribute to society” in the country.

“Not only contribute to the internal family within each one of us, but it is to contribute to society in the reconstruction of the country, of conscience and of the strengthening of peace,” he said.

Until the hotel “The Vineyards”, in La Unión, the 65 ex-guerrillas arrived dressed in black boots, bluyines, white shirts and yellow helmets, own garments of the work in which they were trained and to which they will now dedicate their lives.

AN OPEN DOOR

This productive training project is a joint commitment of the Agency for Reincorporation and Standardization (ARN) and the Society of Farmers and Livestock Producers of the Valley (SAG) and has the technical support of the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

All these entities are aware of the importance of continuing to bet on ex-guerrillas, since the program allowed “that they develop specific labor capacities in this sector that has a very important demand both in the Valle del Cauca and in the rest of the country”, the programmatic director of the ARN, Nelson Velandia, told Efe.

“We already have approximately 10 institutions or entities that have an interest in linking ex-combatants or continuing to strengthen them. Next week (…) another work table will be developed with another group of businessmen to be able to specify labor links for people who they were formed in this environment and they were formed in Valle del Cauca, “he explained.

THE ONLY GRADUATED

Carmen Rosa Granados Peña, the only woman who graduated and who was part of the Front 19 of the FARC, described the training she entered as very important because “this is something that I liked a lot from the beginning, since I was in the guerrilla “.

“I was fascinated to be mounted on such a machine. I think that in the environments I was the only one who decided to do this. I came and thank God I learned, I fulfilled my dream that I longed to be in the guerrilla; I always wanted these trainings and I had this opportunity, “he told Efe.

The woman also highlighted the new life that began after the signing of the peace agreement: “I have seen that it is very different to be in war than to be in peace.”

“Reaching civil life for us was not easy because (…) we already see that the 100% peace process has not been perfect, in every process there are difficulties and there are many things that one fears, such as people and former combatants that we are, which are the deaths of many leaders, “he said.

According to the quarterly report of the UN Verification Mission released on December 31, 2019 was “the most violent year” for former FARC guerrillas who accepted the Colombian peace agreement, as they suffered 77 murders .

REINCORPORATION

So far, the authorities have implemented 18 “Models of Productive Environments” for ex-guerrillas who are in the process of reintegration that have benefited 936 people, including 37 who are part of the communities in which ex-combatants live.

The training they have received is from the agricultural, fish, livestock, coffee, tourism, clothing, pig and yellow machinery sectors, according to the ARN.

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