Former FARC guerrillas who are in the process of reincorporation make face masks to donate to rural populations in central Colombia, while Army soldiers manufacture them in various parts of the country to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
With masks and gloves on, the ex-guerrillas work in their makeshift factory in the La Fila reincorporation zone, in the municipality of Icononzo, in the central department of Tolima, where they decided to stop their production of women’s clothing since last Monday to dedicate themselves to manufacture this production item.
As for the Army, the Las Juanas Quartermaster Battalion, in Bogotá, in charge of making the soldiers’ garments, stopped that production and now works fully in the masks to fight COVID-19, of which there are already 491 confirmed cases. in the country, of which 6 died and 8 recovered.
Ángela María Herrera, who with her venture “Manifiesta. Made in Colombia” works with ex-combatants in the production of women’s clothing, assured Efe that they decided to stop its production “to start making masks that we are going to donate to the most vulnerable communities “as” sample of reconciliation “.
“This was a decision we made in common with the Tejiendo Paz Cooperative, which is the association that groups them (the ex-guerrillas),” said Herrera, who last December brought the clothing produced to the Colombian Congress during a peace fair. and reconciliation.
Gonzalo Beltrán, former FARC guerrilla and legal representative of the Tejiendo Paz Cooperative, told Efe that they received 10 meters of fabric with which they could produce 300 masks so far.
According to what he said, there are six people dedicated to production, since there are some of his colleagues who have not been able to go to work because they have to take care of their children, at home since last week when the National Government ordered the suspension of classes in public schools. and private by COVID-19.
He also blamed it on the quarantine decreed by Colombian President Iván Duque, which began on Wednesday and will last until April 13 and which the residents of La Fila have taken “with great calm.”
“That has been one of the most important things, because people have faced it with a lot of responsibility. We hope that (the quarantine) will be the best,” he assured.
Beltrán warned that at this time they lack materials such as “surgical or special” fabrics that are required to make the masks.
“We require rubbers or springs, the accessories to make the masks. That is what we are asking for, those are the basic things that we need to continue with this work, this work that is so important at the moment and due to the situation we are experiencing “added the representative of the cooperative.
Beltrán explained that at this moment they have “too much demand” for masks and called on the citizens to “put your hand on your chest and say: we are going to support not only the cooperative but we will do it for the benefit of many persons”.
Herrera, who also brought the garments made by the ex-guerrillas in a “PAZarela” at the Universidad de Los Andes in Bogotá last September, assured that they are receiving donations of materials or money through microfinance platforms such as Vaki.
On the other hand, the Army decided to stop its production of endowment garments and start that of more than 50,000 masks with “a minimum” of its operatives.
“A halt was made in the production of our men’s crew, this in order to protect our operatives in this situation from the coronavirus and with a minimum of them begin the production and processing of more than 50,000 masks,” said the commander. Army logistics officer, General José Walteros.
In this sense, sources from the institution explained to Efe that the majority of the employees of the Las Juanas Quartermaster Battalion are mothers of families and that, as part of the quarantine, they are not working, for which reason the soldiers themselves are the who are in charge of making the masks.
The uniformed men, added the source, comply with all the protection protocols established by the health authorities to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.