More women are demobilizing from armed groups. Now, one out of four who demobilize is a woman. Forced abortions — which can be as many as five for a female guerrilla fighter — are the main reason for desertions.
The FARC’s law states its members cannot have children — though the leaders and their women do have children. (See Lucero Palmera, the “sentimental compañera” of FARC leader Simón Trinidad. Also of interest: Son of FARC’s Alfonso Cano has humanitarian work experience abroad.)
Former FARC Paola Díaz told Infosurhoy.com she first became pregnant while in the FARC when she was 15 years old. She told the commanders about it, but they let time pass until she reached eight months and they forced her to abort.
“My son was born alive. I held him in my arms, but then I fainted. They took him from me and drowned him,” she said.
Her second abortion was induced last year, also while in the FARC, using drugs mixed into a drink. It was then she started planning her escape. She is now in the government’s program for demobilized.
Between 2012 and 2013, 244 demobilized female fighters reported 43 abortions to the Ministry of Defense’s Humanitarian Care Group for the Demobilized, GAHD.
From a total of 26,704 demobilized FARC members since 2002 when the demobilization program started, 5,138 were women (19.2%), according to the Ministry of Defense.
So far this year, 261 of a total of 774 demobilized fighters are women.
The government offers pregnant women a transition home, and stipends to ease them into motherhood and civil society. After nine months, mother and baby move onto the government’s program for demobilized, which provides psychological support, and helps former combatants attain a basic high school education and vocational training.
Former combatants in the reintegration program receive a monthly $480,000 Colombian pesos, about US $267, as long as they continue to participate in at least 90 percent of the lectures, courses and community services in the program.