topics
tools
Expatica countries
Index Last Var.(%)
BEL 20 3083.51 0.32
DAX 9605.08 0.17
IBEX 30 10058.5 -1.04
CAC 40 4387.61 -0.20
FTSE 100 6806.86 -0.05
AEX 397.5 -0.20
DJIA 16272.65 0.46
Nasdaq 4318.933 0.63
FTSE MIB 20298.33 -0.11
TSX Composite 14214.35 0.18
ASX 5415.4 -0.10
Hang seng 22836.96 0.04
Straits Times 3110.78 0.45
ISEQ 20 836.3 0.23
EUR / USD 1.37976 0.67
EUR / GBP 0.82571 0.59
USD / GBP 0.598544 -0.10
Gold 1329.6 -0.13
Oil 108.9 -0.76
Silver 21.28 0.08
You are here: Home News Dutch News Colombia's Dutch rebel says she's...
Enlarge font Decrease font Text size


22/11/2012Colombia's Dutch rebel says she's 'married' to the cause

After fighting alongside Colombia's leftist FARC guerrilla for a decade, Tanja Nijmeijer says she is "married" to the cause and the 34-year-old Dutch woman sees no other way of life for herself.

"I can't go back, nor do I want to go back," Nijmeijer told AFP in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of peace talks in Cuba between the rebel group and the Colombian government.

The long-haired brunette, the group's only known European member, has become the public face of the Revolutionary Armed Force of Colombia (FARC) since the rebels and the government launched the negotiations last month.

"I feel fulfilled as a FARC guerrillera and I don't know what else I could have been," she said in Havana's Revolution Square, under a giant image of Argentine revolutionary Che Guevara, who like her fought far from his homeland.

"I would probably have been a housewife, I'd have three kids, a husband, and I would've been divorced. But this would not have fulfilled me in the same way as being a guerrillera," she said.

"I have been married to the people's army for 10 years and it has been good for me."

Known by her nom de guerre Alexandra, the Dutch linguist has served as a translator, spokeswoman and Marxism teacher for Latin America's oldest insurgency, which is considered a terrorist group by the United States and European Union.

"I'm with the FARC because it is the way of fighting that the Colombian people have chosen, because they were left with no other choice but to fight with weapons," she said in Colombian-accented Spanish.

She admitted that adapting to the rebel life in the jungle and Colombian peasant culture was "very hard."

"It has been a sacrifice, but I feel very fulfilled and very content in its ranks," Nijmeijer said.

As the rebels and representatives from the administration of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos held a third day of talks in Havana on Wednesday, Nijmeijer said the FARC wanted peace in Colombia.

The conflict has left 600,000 people dead and millions more displaced in almost half a century of fighting. The rebels say the unfair distribution of land -- a key point in the talks -- is at the heart of the conflict.

"We fight with or without rifles. And here in Havana we are fighting without rifles. We want to fight for a peace process, we want the Colombian people to be able to live in peace," she said.

Nijmeijer, in Cuba since November 5, was able to travel to the communist island after the Colombian authorities lifted a warrant for her arrest on rebellion charges.

The United States has charged her with terrorism and conspiracy to commit hostage taking in the kidnapping of three American contractors in 2003. The three men were freed in a military operation in 2008 along with former Colombian presidential candidate and French citizen Ingrid Betancourt.

Nijmeijer said she hopes to be able to visit her native Netherlands one day to explain "the reasons for the battle in Colombia."



© 2012 AFP


0 reactions to this article

0 reactions to this article

 
Discussion Forums

Legal Problems in the Netherlands

Unmarried Status Visa

Business and Finance in the Netherlands

Expatica's Midweek Currency Update

Learning Dutch

EXTRA course Dutch for non-Dutch at Volksuniversiteit Amsterdam

Community Noticeboard The Netherlands | Expat Events

US CPAs presenting at the "i am not a tourist" Expat Fair

Sport in the Netherlands

Any powerkiters out there?

participate in the forums

 
 
 
 
 
Inside Expatica
Setting up home in the Netherlands

Setting up home in the Netherlands

A guide to telephone, internet and television along with utility services water, electricity and gas in the Netherlands.

Dutch immigration and residency regulations

Dutch immigration and residency regulations

Lost in the Dutch immigration system? Look no further than this guide compiled for our Survival Guide 2012.

A brief introduction to the Netherlands

A brief introduction to the Netherlands

Expatica offers a whistle-stop tour of life in the modern Netherlands.

Giving birth in the Netherlands

Giving birth in the Netherlands

The challenges and benefits of the maternity system in the Netherlands and how it differs to other countries.