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Tuesday 30 September  
Tanja Nijmeijer
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Bogota, Colombia
Bogota, Colombia

Jorge Enrique Botero searched for - and found - Tanja Nijmeijer

Published on : 4 November 2010 - 11:06am | By RNW News Desk (Photo: RNW)
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FARC facts

The FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) was founded in 1964 and is the oldest guerrilla movement in Latin America.

The FARC is often described as a Marxist organisation and its supporters profess revolutionary ideals, such as land reform and combating poverty. In practice, the FARC's current activities focus on cocaine dealing, kidnapping, extortion and violent attacks.

The FARC is on the blacklist of terrorist organisations compiled by the United Nations, the United States and the European Union.

The rebels have abducted thousands of people in the hope of exchanging them for jailed FARC fighters. One of their most prominent hostages was the French-Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, who was freed in 2008 after six years in captivity.

Dutch woman Tanja Nijmeijer joined the FARC voluntarily in 2002. Initially she worked as an interpreter and translator, but she later became a guerrilla fighter.

In recent years, the rebels' power has declined dramatically. The FARC has been dealt a number of blows by the Colombian Army, with the backing of the United States. Growing numbers of guerrillas are deserting: of the estimated 27,000 militants who belonged at one point, there are now only around 7,000 left.

Human rights organisations are asking the FARC to enter into a dialogue, but so far the rebels have shown no willingness to lay down their arms, halt the kidnappings or free their hostages.

An interview with Tanja Nijmeijer. It took Colombian journalist Jorge Enrique Botero several months of prodding and pleading, but he finally succeeded in persuading the FARC to grant permission for the interview. “I thought I was facing a phantom.”

Over the past 24 hours, Radio Netherlands Worldwide has published parts of the extensive interview Botero did with Tanja Nijmeijer shortly before her camp was attacked by the Columbian army. In it, she says she misses the Netherlands, but does not want to be rescued. The Colombian journalist is convinced she is still alive.

Jorge Enrique Botero is working on a documentary about Tanja Nijmeijer. He has good contacts at the FARC, but an interview with the Dutch guerrillera took months to arrange. Eventually, members of the FARC took him into the jungle. After walking for 11 days, Botero finally reached the camp and met 'Holanda', as Tanja has been nicknamed by the FARC.

“There had been so much speculation about her, I almost believed I was facing a phantom. I had been told so many times that she was dead. At first I thought she was Colombian. She spoke Spanish with the accent of a person from the region of Caquetá, which is primarily inhabited by day workers. People who were forced to flee the violence in other parts of the country.”

In the interview with Botero, Nijmeijer openly discusses her support for the FARC. The journalist did not get the impression that Nijmeijer was under pressure from the guerrilla movement. After her diary was found in 2007, reports appeared in the media suggesting that Nijmeijer was being held against her will. However, Botero believes she was speaking “from the heart”.

“All those stories about her have been manipulated. So many things were made up. In particular, after her diary was found, in which she complained about some aspects of daily life in the guerrilla. This was intended to support the notion that she had in fact been abducted by the FARC, which is not born out by the facts.”

Botero interviewed Tanja Nijmeijer three weeks before the Colombian army attacked her camp. Senior FARC leader Mono Jojoy, who was also Nijmijer’s former commander, was killed in the attack. The attack was followed by widespread media speculation about her possible death.

“A few days after the attack I pulled out all the stops to find out whether she was still alive, and eventually I received confirmation that she was.”

 

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

 

Related articles:

Tanja Nijmeijer: I don't want to be rescued

Tanja Nijmeijer: why I joined the FARC

Confirmed rebel Tanja Nijmeijer gets her own back

Dutch guerrilla's sister: “Leave the FARC!”

Tanja Nijmeier sings for her parents

Discussion

Aboriginal 11 November 2010 - 6:01pm / Netherlands

Hi looking for contactinfo ...

Understanding a part of the reasons why she is doing this i like to setup some sort of online correspondence with her. I'm just an ordinary Dutch citizen ...

Anonymous 12 December 2010 - 7:56pm / Colombia

You want to share some information whatch this....and make your mind, pleas use the reason
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpDRh24MXv8

christel 5 November 2010 - 6:46pm / COLOMBIA

JESUS, AMIGO DES ALZADOS EN ARMAS,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
HE IS THE ONLY ONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
WHO CAN GET HER OUT OF THIS MESS,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
LET´S BELIEVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

christel 5 November 2010 - 6:43pm / colombia

jesus is the only one who can free her from this awful situation she got herself in,,,,,,,,,,,,
we have a GOD who is a specialist in the impossibel,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
let´s believe,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
HE came to save and that no one should be lost,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
what a saviour!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
JESUS,,,,,,,,,,,AMIGO DE ALZADOS EN ARMAS,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Nicolás Arias 5 November 2010 - 7:19am / Colombia, Brazil & USA

I wont judge. Iwont give an opinion about if Tanja is right or wrong. What I want to say is her life is so interesting for me, and that her life, her choices and her convictions are a very interesting history. I don't agree with FARC, but I don't agree with colombian and venezuelan governments either. For me, Tanja is the portrait of an absurd war that have been mantained in Colombia more than 62 years, and a human consecuence of this issue around the world.

Tanja: I wont judge you. I can see your human face instead your guerrilla face or your dutch face. So deep in your thoughts and your heart, you are facing your convictions, even if they are right or wrong. That's charming!

Colombian guy 5 November 2010 - 4:49am / Colombia

Hi, I'm Colombian. This girl has no idea how the real situation is, unfortunately she's been brain washed by the Farc. Now she has the same speach as they all do, it is something they learn literally blaming the government and all that. However the true is the Farc is a true terrorist group which is financed by drugs and kidnappings, that is why Colombian citizens are all tired of it and that is why we support our government and army forces. I only feel bad for her family, because guerrilla finish all dead or in jail.

Rafael Lopez Mejia 4 November 2010 - 7:21pm / Mexico

Thank you Journalists committed to the exposition of different points of view and issue them as such, is a rare virtue in these times manipulated by the market and social indolence.

Allow me to increase my knowledge about this courageous woman, every time I know more about it I'm surprised your actuaciion to Life, would like to have even a little of that value which it has plenty.

Thanks Journalists broadcasters as Human Person as Tanja who gives everything for nothing

Mauricio 5 November 2010 - 11:14am / Colombia

There is not any courage in coming to another country to take a gun and shoot. There is courage in coming to another country to teach to their children, to try to help in hospitals, to try to make a change of mind. Excuse me, but I'm thinking that you don't know waht are you talking about.
She has not given anything to us, maybe if she continues teaching english at Pereira she will be really giving us a lot.

Anonymous 7 November 2010 - 8:16am / Colombia

Unfortunatelly the brain of this beautiful and intelligent woman has been washed deeply. We need people like her teaching colombians to keep away from violence. This woman on the contrary decided to joint the most dangerous and criminal terrorist group in the world. I pray for her. She is in great danger. On one side she is surrounded by criminals, on the other she is confronting a highly trained contraguerrilla fighters who are decided to stop this criminal guerrilla.

Anonymous 7 November 2010 - 8:16am / Colombia

Unfortunatelly the brain of this beautiful and intelligent woman has been washed deeply. We need people like her teaching colombians to keep away from violence. This woman on the contrary decided to joint the most dangerous and criminal terrorist group in the world. I pray for her. She is in great danger. On one side she is surrounded by criminals, on the other she is confronting a highly trained contraguerrilla fighters who are decided to stop this criminal guerrilla.

Anonymous 7 November 2010 - 7:52am / Colombia

Unfortunatelly the brain of this beautiful and intelligent woman has been washed deeply. We need people like her teaching colombians to keep away from violence. This woman on the contrary decided to joint the most dangerous and criminal terrorist group in the world. I pray for her. She is in great danger. On one side she is surrounded by criminals, on the other she is confronting a highly trained contraguerrilla fighters who are decided to stop this criminal guerrilla.

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