Posted by: Paula Delgado-Kling | November 27, 2012

A former FARC hostage says Tanja, the Dutch guerrilla, is a “real-deal terrorist.”

Tanja Nijmeijer, the Dutch FARC guerrilla who is the only woman now involved in peace negotiations, has been a subject of books and movies in both her homeland and in Colombia. She is an enigma: how does a middle-class Dutch girl end up in the FARC?

A comment on this blog reads: “Tanja is so beautiful she is a heroine of our days, she is so strong, so brave sweet lost heart, How can we help her?”

Tanja speaks German, Dutch, Spanish, English, French and Italian, and so she has become a useful public relations tool for the FARC, specially during the latest negotiations now taking place in Havana. Here, watch a FARC propaganda video of her rapping  — “.. I also go to Havana, I have gained that honor ..” and “.. born in a foreign country, I had no doubt, I had to become a guerrillera. ..”

In the propaganda video, she also plays the guitar and strategically wears a blue T-shirt imprinted with the face of Che Guevarra. “El Che” has become the international emblem of the gentle soul who unselfishly gives himself to help the poor. But, now, even the Dutch left-wing Christian Democrats are angry to see Tanja’s image molded into a romanticizing of “the terrorist.”

Marc Gonsalves is an American who was held in captivity by the FARC for more than five years.

He told the Miami Herald, “I hate to see people being tricked by this romantic ideal of a guerilla group that strives for social justice. The argument is wonderful and, if it was true, it would be something. But it’s a lie, a total farce.”

Marc met Tanja, and he refers to her as a “real-deal terrorist.”

When the two met, Tanja was acting as a translator for a Colombian journalist. Marc approached her, and asked what she thought would happen to him and the two other Americans held alongside him. Marc was hoping to appeal to a cultural connection.

Marc recalls her taking a drag on a cigarette, shaking her head, and telling the men that they would be executed if there were any attempts to rescue them.

“I can never duplicate the way she said it. I don’t have that terrorist thing,” Marc said. “But the way she said it was very threatening. It was meant to scare the s— out of us. And it was meant to let me know that ‘We’re going to kill you.’”

Tanja went on to explain how the FARC was simply an answer to the terrorism of the Colombian state. And she said the United States would never lift the embargo on Cuba because it was scared its citizens would flock to the island paradise “because it’s so great there.”

“The more she spoke, the more I realized she’s insane and the more frightened I became because these are the people holding us,” Marc said. “That was really my first taste of the FARC leadership.”

Marc has little hope that the current talks in Havana will result in peace. He added, “I see her (Tanja’s) future as death in the jungle, or one day she will be captured and brought here to the United States.”

Tanja was indicted in 2010 by a grand jury in Washington along with 17 others for alleged hostage-taking and other crimes related to the kidnapping of Marc and the other three Americans held with him.

Here, read Marc’s words about why his captors should face U.S. justice.


A Dutch woman who FARC include in talks will be a “pretty face of international solidarity.”

Tanja’s diaries.

Two Sisters: One with Ak-47, Another with a Peace Plan


  1. when I was a very young guy I tried to be in yugoslavia to help peolpe in the war, but it was not possible, Then my life became stupid and useless, maybe because I went not to Bosnia, yeah I think so. Tanja is so beautiful she is a heroine of our days,she is so strong, so brave sweet lost heart, How can we help her? please forgive my terrible english, I’m half american but I spent all my life in Italy

  2. Paula soy Colombiana estudiante en la Universidad de oxford. Estoy siguiendo tu blog. Me parece muy interesante. Te quera preguntar si lo haces en espaol tambin o solo en ingles? Estoy haciendo mi MPhil disertation sobre el rol de los medios en el desarrollo de polticas de adaptacin al cc en Colombia y quiero incluir el anlisis de algunos blogs. El tuyo me gusta mucho pero solo veo artculos en ingles. me podras informar por favor? Mil gracias. Maria Teresa

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