Questions for Tanja Nijmeijer

She said she saw herself enter Bogotá in victory, just like Fidel Castro and his rebels took Havana in triumph in 1959. It kept bothering me, Tanja Nijmeijer, Dutch member of Colombia’s FARC, said this to Jorge Enrique Botero, Colombian journalist. It sounds absurd and arrogant, especially if you contrast it with the information of Colombia’s army. The FARC are said to be running constantly for the army, their ideology is dead and they eat the roots of the trees to feed their hungry stomach. As always the truth must be somewhere in between.

It’s quite easy to laugh out loud when Tanja says she’s going to conquer Bogotá, but it’s much more interesting to take it seriously. I write this post because of what she said about Bogotá and because of an excellent feature made by Karl Penhaul and Carlos Villalón, which shows that the FARC’s situation is difficult, but not as difficult as they want us to believe. By the way, I’m convinced the FARC lie as much as the army.  That’s part of war management. Of course it would be wonderful if Tanja reacted, within the possibilities she has, naturally. I will not ask about why she joined the FARC anymore. Jorge Enrique Botero did that extensively.

1. When do you think to enter Bogotá victoriously? Is that within months or years? How do you see your own future after that? Will you be a minister or will you go to another country like Che Guevara? I think you are more like Che Guevara, but of course it’s better to hear your answer.

2. Is Cuba an example of how you would arrange it? Or would you do it differently? Do you discuss it over there? How would you do it yourself?

3. How many meals do you have in a day? One, two or three? What do you eat? And something I always think of when I hear about FARC and food: do you eat meat there?

4. How often do you have to pack and flee because the army is on your heals? Does that happen several times a week or several times a month?

5. How often do you attack the army yourselves? Is that several times a week or several times a month?

6. How many times do you perform assaults? Several times a week, a month, a year?

7. Do you have contact with your highest commander Alfonso Cano? And if so, how and how often? Do you have contact with other FARC units?

8. How many mines have you laid as long as you are with the FARC? Tens or hundreds or none? What do you think of this weapon on which everybody can step including you?

9. Do you have shortages of arms and ammunition? What do you do if it’s finished? How long does it take before the merchandise arrives?

10. Where do you get most of you income from? Drugs trafficking? Revolution taxes to the people? Kidnappings? or also other things? Do you have enough income?

11. Are there children younger than 16 among you and if so, what do you think of that?

12. How big is your influence at universities? Are they important spots to recruit?

13. How many Colombians support you? Is it a couple thousands or millions?

14. How many foreigners joined the FARC? And how many foreigners are among them?

15. Do you have contacts abroad? To promote the FARC for example?

16. My impression is that since they found your diary in 2007 you made progress in the FARC. Is that right? Is there a difference between what you did before and what you do now?

17. The diary gave me the impression that you were very lonely. Is that true? How do you feel now? Are there many university educated fighters in the FARC? The eighth part? A quarter, half?

Enough for now. Maybe I think of more. I will add them and I invite everybody who has questions to put them in the comments. No insults, only questions about this subject. I’ll throw away the rest. Of course it’s possible Tanja never answers. But then we did the exercise to think and to imagine how it is to be in the guerrilla. Then I am prepared in case I meet her in the jungle, in jail or on the street.


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