When photographer Juan Arredondo first met with Esperanza Medina in December 2016, Medina was eight months pregnant. In Colombia die-hards marxist rebel group members after 26 years, the revolutionary armed forces of Colombia medina is in preparation for the mother, even if she wouldn’t be allowed to do this in a year ago. (reading about postwar Colombia)
During the conversation over the next few months, Arredondo learned her story.
Twenty-six years after the farc rebel fighter jet, esperanama, wearing a uniform, began her life with a weapon as a civilian.
When she was 14, medina left home to join the farc. The rebel group had already appeared in her village, attracted by the promise of a good and exciting life as a fighter. Her parents want her to stay at home. One night, while taking care of her neighbors, she slipped the baby into her bed and slipped out of the window.
Three months later, she returned to her village with a new FARC device.
Medina has her first child – a son – at 16. Her commanding officer told her that if she wanted to remain a member, she could not let her son, so she found a farmer’s family to raise him.
Life as a FARC fighter means a full commitment to the cause.
Despite the farc’s offering of contraceptives to women – about a third of its soldiers – medina’s seven pregnancies. Every time she had an abortion, she chose to leave a soldier.
She was seven months pregnant with a particularly harrowing event. Her troops were on high, surrounded by Colombian paramilitary forces. The crying baby will give up her unit position. She couldn’t walk to a nearby village to find a family that could bring her children. It would be treason if she gave up her army. She chose abortion. The next day, she put on her clothes and went into battle.
In the farc’s world, commanders have provided everything from whether soldiers need new boots to whether they can be romantic partners. That loyalty may seem extreme to the outside world, but in Arredondo’s story, for medina, it’s not a compulsion, it’s loyalty and respect.
So, when she was pregnant for the last time, she asked them to allow the child again. The peace agreement reached with the Colombian government in June 2017 means that units like medina are demobilizing and beginning to transition to civilian life.
The Times are changing, so the commander says yes.
Arredondo returned to Esperanza after the birth of her daughter, Desiree. She was the first person in her unit to have a baby, so the commanders built a small house for her. Although he paid for their visit, she was separated from her father. The rest of her former members acted as unofficial uncles and aunts.
Although many of her comrades were reunited with their families and moved to civilian life, Esperanza wanted to stay.
“She said she would miss the fight,” Arredondo said. “but it was interesting to see how her ideas changed. She wanted to raise the child more and more. ”
After Desiree’s baptism, Esperanza and her daughter Desiree stood outside the church in La Guajira’s Conejo village. The village is the nearest church to the current Pondores transition zone. Despite being identified as an atheist, all members of the farc rebel group believe that esperansa wants her daughter to be baptized. Desiree’s godfather is the former commander of Esperanza and his wife.