Alias “Simón Trinidad” was the head of the FARC’s Caribbean Bloc and a FARC spokesperson during the failed peace talks of 1999 to 2002. He was born Ricardo Palmera and his parents were wealthy landowners in the city of Valledupar in Cesar department. He studied business at Harvard. For some time, he worked as the bank manager for Banco del Comercio in his hometown. In 1987, he stole 30 million pesos from the bank, and joined the FARC. He took with him the clients’ financial records, which the FARC later used for extortions and kidnappings.
He was captured in January 2004 in Quito, Ecuador, and charged with the kidnappings and assassinations of his former banking associates, childhood friends, and relatives. On December 31, 2004, he was extradited to the U.S. on charges of drug trafficking and money laundering. He is incarcerated in a high-security prison in Washington.
He left behind in Colombia a “compañera sentimental,” alias “Lucero Palmera.”
The video above is of an interview of Lucero Palmera done by Dick Emanuelsson, a Swedish reporter, in April 2005.
Lucero Palmera was born María Victoria Rubio Giraldo and was affectionately known in her hometown as “La Toya.”
There are two versions of her story. In the interview above, she said that when she was 15 years old, she was a member of the Colombian Communist Youth, known as JUCO. She was a student leader who promoted FARC propaganda in the school were she studied in Colombia’s coast. During this time, while she was still a civilian, she met Simon Trinidad, who spoke in schools about the FARC’s cause.
In the interview above, Lucero Palmera said, “During that time, I used to see the guerrilla and it was pure Che Guevarra. With Simon, it was more than physical attraction, it was an admiration toward him because of his political clarity and the strength he transmitted when he spoke.”
In the second version, told by her relatives and former friends, she was the fifteen year-old daughter of Fernando Rubio, the owner of the farm “La Lucha,” who was killed by the FARC in 1983 because he refused to pay an extortion. She was the youngest of five daughters, and she lived a comfortable life in Becerril, a town in Cesar department. She was very beautiful. She was in ninth grade at the Julio Ceésar Turbay school where she was in the basketball team.
One thing is certain: She fell in love with Simon Trinidad and she went to live with him in the jungle.
Prior to her sixteenth birthday, Lucero formally joined the FARC. She was very skinny, and during the first few months, she had a hard time physically. It was then her relationship with Simon Trinidad formally began.
She told the Swedish reporter, “Between us, there was courtship. I was far away from him but I would receive letters with seeds, whatever kind of seed. He would say ‘this little seed, you can plant this seed anywhere and it will bloom. Well, I have placed my love inside you and that is where love must bloom.’”
Soon after she joined, Lucero became pregnant. Abortion is a policy in the FARC, and she fought to have her baby, a girl they named Farela Palmera. The baby remained with Lucero in the FARC camps for four months until she was given to Lucero’s mother to raise.
In the interview above, Lucero said, “When a woman has her child and is not in the guerrilla, her desires were one day to have a child. But when one has a child (in the guerrilla) it’s more sacrifice, all that suffering that one has, with the child, with one’s family. So one understands why the superiors say not to have children. It is not because here we are assassins. … What weighs more: to be a mother or a revolutionary?”
Birth control is mandatory in the FARC, and years later, as a result of prolonged use of Norplan, Lucero suffered from colon problems and cysts on her right breast.
Fast forward … 18-year-old Farela, who’d taken on the name “Maria Alix,” was visiting Lucero in a FARC camp. Lucero was in charge of the radio station of the FARC’s southern bloc, “Voz de la Resistencia.” Her radio name was Mariposa Cano.
On September 18, 2010, the Colombian Air Forces bombed their camp. Mother and daughter were killed, alongside 26 other FARC members.