Alias “Sureshot,” born Pedro Antonio Marin, was the FARC founder and leader until he died of a heart attack in March 2008 at the age of 77. Sandra Ramírez, 48, was his “sentimental compañera” (read: wife or long-term lover) for twenty-eight years. She has been in the FARC for thirty-two years. She was born into a family of 15 children, and joined the guerrilla when she was 17 years old. During her early life in the FARC, she was a nurse. She became romantically involved with Sureshot when she was promoted to be his personal communications aide and then a member of the corps guarding him. He came to have such trust for her that he only ate food she prepared and cooked for him.
During the failed peace talks in El Caguan ten years ago, Sandra appeared side-by-side Sureshot when he gave interviews and received foreign delegations. She now forms part of the FARC’s negotiating team in Havana. Of the 32 FARC negotiators in Havana, there are 13 women.
In the video above, Sandra Ramírez speaks from Havana to Dick Emanuelsson, a Swedish reporter.
The Q and A seems staged, and her answers rehearsed — is she a politician-in-training?
I was interested to hear her answers to some gender-related questions.
The interviewer asked, What of the estimated 35 to 45 percent combatants who are women. What of the reported sexual abuse?
Sandra Ramírez said, “Since we began, the guerrilla are combatants, we have equality in rights and chores. Women and men share everything. .. I want to say, in all daily activities, men and women participate equally. .. This development makes us have mechanisms to show that women are able to do everything. That women can do the same things as men, because we, too, go to battle. … This dilutes the machismo … I have not heard complaints of sexual abuse from women. Women choose to be a nurse, a web site developer — according to her abilities. She is free to be what she wants to be. … free that she is not attached to a husband .. because to have a husband, she is not free to do a mission or a chore.” (Abbreviation and emphasis mine.)
(See: Report finds members of FARC Secretariat involved in sexual violence, and If Colombian authorities do not address gender violence, ICC will, and Women as war trophies: Impunity and sexual violence.)
The interviewer also asked, How do you see women’s role in a new State?
Sandra Ramírez said, “Women have always fought for the liberation of their people. .. It is capitalism that has made women into an object, since she’s born, women are told you do this, and this, and this, and this. Women prepare themselves for that model and tell other women they have to be like that. That is not women.”
Listen to an interview of Sandra Ramírez with Radio Nacional de Venezuela here.