April 15, 2021

Sustainable livestock, the commitment of a group of former FARC guerrillas

There was a time when the FARC controlled San Vicente del Caguán, a town embedded in the banks of the eastern mountain range of Colombia, but today the situation is different and a handful of those guerrillas learn to live in society through sustainable livestock .

That municipality, located in the southern department of Caquetá, has a long cattle tradition, although it is remembered mainly because it was the heart of the demilitarized zone that was created for the failed peace talks with the FARC during the government of the conservative president Andrés Pastrana (1998-2002).

There were also members of the mobile column Teófilo Forero, one of the most bloodthirsty of the FARC and who are credited with attacks such as the murder on December 29, 2000 of Congressman Diego Turbay Cote, his mother and five others in An ambush on a road.

He is also accused of the bomb attack on the El Nogal club in Bogotá, in which 36 people died and 200 more were injured on February 7, 2003.

Leaving those dark times behind, 21 ex-combatants, most of that column, exchanged weapons for udders and are taking the course "An entrepreneur in milk production with good livestock practices."

Despite all the difficulties faced by the implementation of the peace agreement, both former guerrillas and the Government are still working to comply with what was signed.

The evidence of this is that the Office of the High Commissioner for Peace has 13,200 ex-combatants accredited in the reinstatement process, of which 1,506 have benefited from financial support to undertake their own projects.

The place chosen for the course is the farm "La Siberia", nestled in a gigantic land that is a few meters from a mountain, about 30 minutes by car from the municipal seat in the village (village) of La Cocha.

The land is owned by Lucia, a woman who opened the doors to the initiative led by the Agency for Reincorporation and Standardization (ARN) and the National Learning Service (Sena).

Among the beneficiaries is Wílmer, a man who, after leaving armed life, has dedicated himself to working on the farms "scythe (mowing the grass)" and arranging the land for agriculture and livestock.

"Two months ago we started and the teacher has taught us many things. After the course (I have to do) what is required to move forward, strive (fight) to get our project out of us, not to live on others , strive to make capital, "he told Efe in" La Siberia. "

The ex-combatant had a son after the signing of the peace agreement, since since then a rule was broken that was in force within the guerrillas since 1992 that prohibited women from becoming pregnant and forced those who did so to abort.

His firstborn is the main reason why Wílmer seeks stability and a better future so that his son does not take wrong paths.

And training is key to achieving this, because once he finishes he will try to find a better future for himself and his family.

"Already with the child one comes to find a stable place to live, because in the guerrillas it would not have occurred because one since entering knows that there can be no children, one does not start looking for it because there all the women plan and Everything is under control. "

The person in charge of dictating the course is Floro Penagos, a professor at the Caquetá del Sena section, who sees this program as an "opportunity to contribute and transmit the knowledge" that he has acquired throughout his life.

Floro has seen very good will in the former combatants who participate in the course with 10 farmers from the region, who work shoulder to shoulder to get ahead in their company.

The ex-guerrillas have told him that what they have learned is being put into practice on the farms where they work.

"They are being taught that they can improve livestock practices, that they can improve feeding through proper management of pastures, fodder and make dietary supplement programs to improve milk productivity," he told Efe.

To do this they use the more than 20 cows that are on the farm, located in one of the areas furthest from the land that can be reached after crossing a quagmire, usual in that rainy area of ​​southern Colombia.

The objective is that they do not have extensive livestock, but intensive livestock: that they take better advantage of the space with new techniques to improve the pastures of that area of ​​"humid tropical forests".

In spite of everything, Wílmer is aware that the situation for the ex-combatants is not easy and as an example of this he puts the 140 ex-insurgents who have been killed after the signing of the peace agreement.

"With what has been seen, with the death of so much comrade who is in the peace process, he gives one as a pod (scare) because one does not know if they put him on the list. You feel afraid."

Jorge Gil Angel

. (tagsToTranslate) livestock (t) sustainable (t) bet (t) ex-guerrillas (t) FARC

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