No Peace in Colombia as ex-FARC Guerrilla Sonia Awaits Release From US Prison

On joining the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in 1990, Anayibe Rojas Valderrama, became “Sonia.” By then the insurgency had already, for 26 years, been fighting Colombia’s rich and powerful over their control of land.

Colombian soldiers captured her onFebruary10, 2004. Charged with drug trafficking, Sonia was extradited to the United States on March9, 2005. Convicted by the U.S. District Court in Washingtonon February 7, 2007, Sonia is serving a 16 year, eight month sentence at the Carswell woman’s prison in Fort Worth, Texas. She leaves prison on August 18 and presumably will be deported to Colombia. Her experience illustrates aspects of revolutionary struggle in Colombia and U.S. intervention and points to the currently dim prospects for peace there.

Humble origins

Sonia told an interviewer in 2005 that “I lived in a distant part of the country where there was no presence of the state. I couldn’t study and attended school only through the second primary-school grade. There was no work. My family is honest and very poor. They are workers. That’s why I decided to enter the FARC, because [I] saw in them the prospect of change for this country.”“It [still] pains me every passing day to see so many injustices and so much abandonment on the part of the state. There are so many people dying of hunger, with no jobs, no education, and no health care …The FARC has every reason to exist.”

Sonia performed “routine tasks” in FARC…

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