Colombia

Worse than the jungle? Colombian guerrillas chafe under new living conditions

For more than 50 years, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, guerrillas have lived in some of the most inhospitable places on the planet: deep in the jungle, surrounded by threats and far from the nearest amenity.

But almost four months after the government and the FARC signed a historic peace deal, some of the fighters are chafing at living conditions in government-provided camps that they say are, in some ways, even worse.

In an extensive interview last week with La FM radio in Bogotá, guerrilla commanders said the administration’s inability to provide the demobilized guerrillas with even basic amenities at “concentration zones” is undermining morale.

The peace deal has helped bring Colombia’s murder rate to its lowest levels in 40 years

Under the peace deal, almost 7,000 FARC members have moved to 26 rural camps scattered across the country where they will be spending six months receiving training and counseling as they prepare to reenter civilian life.

Read More: The FARC’s ‘final march’

But despite months of planning, many of the camps don’t have adequate potable water, bathrooms, cafeterias, recreational facilities and other amenities that the guerrillas say they were promised.

The perception that the government doesn’t care “is a matter of daily and permanent discussion” among the troops, said FARC Commander Carlos Antonio Losada. “It has been creating tensions inside the rank and file.”

In one of the transition zones, known as La Lima, in Tolima state, about two hours south of the capital, 287 guerrillas were living in makeshift tents on the side of a bare hill.

Paula Sáenz, a spokeswoman for the group, said they didn’t have…

Categories