Rebel without a cause
Sargento Pascuas is the longest-serving active member of the Farc guerrilla, responsible for the death of dozens of soldiers and civilians. He is 76 years old and has been fighting for over 50 years. Now, as the Farc is giving up the armed fight, he wonders what do to with his last years of life. He hasn’t learnt anything else than fighting.
In 1960, Pascuas joined a troupe of insurgent peasants and cadres of the Communist Party. They fought for a land reform and for more equality in one of the most unequal countries in the world. Six years later, they renamed themselves Armed Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – Farc for short. 48 men and four women were there at the beginning. Of this founder generation, only two have survived. One is in medical treatment in Cuba. The other is Pascuas.
Pascuas has seen thirteen Colombian presidents come and go. All of them sent soldiers and fighter planes against him. “I survived the twenty air raids,” he says. He spreads his arms wide open to show how the deadly bombs got bigger over the decades. Half a meter, one meter. The last bomb the government threw on him was bigger than he can spread his arms.
Pascuas is wanted by the US-authorities for the production, trafficking and distribution of a hundreds of tons of cocaine in the USA. There are two photographs in his profile. They seem to belong to two different man. In reality Pascuas doesn´t look like neither of them.
The armed rebellion of the Farc has ended. An estimated 6,000 rebels will give up their weapons in the coming months, and the guerrilla will to turn into a political party. President Juan Manuel Santos and the Commander-in-Chief of Farc, Timochenko, signed the historic peace treaty at the end of November.
Pascuas has three children. He had to leave them with her mother, “because of the war.” Pascuas does not like talking about his family. His family are the Farc. The veteran would not say no to a post in the new political party. “I have the strength”, he assures.
He still has a seat in the General Staff, the second highest executive body of the Farc. But a younger, eloquent and media-savvy generation has replaced him. Victoria Sandino belongs to this generation. During the peace talks in Havana, the 50-year-old woman led the gender commission. Pascuas is a “hero”, a role model for his comrades, she says. But after years of armed struggle he has earned himself “peace and active recreation”, for example on a ranch up in the mountains. It does not look good for Pascuas. The eternal rebel is maneced by forced retirement.