By Rocio Arango Giraldo
COLOMBIA: Before the liberation of the two women that FARC had held captive since 2001, Venezuelaâ€™s President, Hugo ChÃ¡vez, said to the international community that â€œthe FARC arenâ€™t terrorists and it is necessary for us to negotiate a Humanitarian Agreement, to liberate the other hostages, more than 700 people that this guerrilla (group) has in captivity in the Colombian jungle.â€
Venezuela Pres. Chavez stands in the middle of (L-R) Consuelo Gonzalez and Clara Rojas, rescued after 6 years in FARC captivity.
Iâ€™m going to talk in name of my generation â€” those born in the 80â€™s: â€œThe Generation of Fear.â€ Iâ€™m going to write in first person because this is my story and the story of many others too.
We wonder now and want to pose this question to ChÃ¡vez: If what we have lived through is not terrorism, what IS terrorism?
In 1985, when my mom went with my daddy to pick up the pregnancy test results that would announce my birth 9 months later, my father was busy seeing the siege of the Supreme Court palace in Bogota by the M-19 guerrillas, the same ones who in 1980 took the Dominican Embassy during 61 days, taking as hostages the diplomats that occupied it.
While I was feeding from my bottle, rivers of blood were shown running on the TV, caused by drug trafficking. It was the time of Pablo’s Escobarâ€™s reign, who had allied with the guerrillas to finance their attacks. The guerillas took care of the drug cultivation plots.
As the bombs the guerillas placed put my dadâ€™s life at risk, and that of my sister as she left school, and worried my mother but only interrupted my dreams â€” my family decided to move to Argentina with my grandfather.
At the same time, I took my first steps during the autumn afternoons in Argentina, in Colombia, the drug lords killed a presidential candidate everybody supported. The Extradition bill was the topic of public debate. The universityâ€™s students promoted a new bill of rights that was proclaimed on 1991.
When I was 6-years-old, I moved back to MedellÃn, Colombia to start school. But I couldnâ€™t play outside my house and I didnâ€™t understand why not, when in Argentina, I could go to my neighbor’s house to ask him for alfajores?
The M19 guerrillas dropped weapons and Escobar was killed by the military in 1993. I was only a child at that moment but I was really glad the â€œbossâ€ was dead, the policeman that killed him said: “Colombia Lives!”
I thought that the nightmare had finished, but it didnÂ´t happen that way. I grew up seeing how the guerrillas dominated the drug trafficking, killing innocent people, placing bombs, destroying towns, recruiting children, kidnapping citizens and buying off politiciansâ€™ consciences… and the governments, they could not stop them.
Now, after seeing so much blood, after crying for all those kidnapped and for the murder of my countrymen, friends and family, these guerillas want to tell me that they are not terrorists?
Now, when the people of Medellin and Colombia are slowly passing from fear to hope with the help of a moral government that is dealing with the guerrillas, my generation is supposed to support the statement that establishes that they are not terrorists?
The victims, those who have been displaced, the families, the Colombians, ask the international community for help, but also respect for our pain â€” because if that what we have suffered is not terrorism, and the FARC are not terrorists, then what are they?
Mr. ChÃ¡vez, We, The Generation of Fear, ask you: What is Terrorism?
Learn more about RocÃo:
RocÃo Arango Giraldo is 21-years-old and lives in MedellÃn Colombia. She studied Political Science at the University of Colombia, as well as, Social Communication, Public Management, and Strategy and Public Knowledge at the Mexico City campus of the Technology Institute of Monterrey.
RocÃo is a member of the Conservative
I am member of the Colombian Conservative Party (Partido Conservador Colombiano) where she works in political marketing, social and policy investigation and foreign affairs.
She also works as a young democratic participant with the Democratic Christian Organization of America and has written for such prestigious Colombian publications as El Colombiano, El Tiempo and others.
But something she is most proud of is her advocacy for people with disabilities.
I fight for the rights of disabled persons like me.