FARC members retrain as tourist guides

FARC former combatants have retrained as tourist guides in San Vicente del Caguán, Caquetá. Exchanging guns for oars, several now lead whitewater rafting trips and other activities in the region. They have retrained as part of the reincorporation process that prepares them for civil society.

In a United Nations-backed project, FARC members also act as tour guides for visitors to the region, which is notable for its striking scenery, where they provide oral histories of the armed conflict as they take them to important sites, including a FARC cemetery. They have been based at the special camp Óscar Mondragón en Miravalle, one of 24 such camps around Colombia where former combatants are based during the reincorporation process.

Generating new vocations for people who, in many cases, have spent most of their adult lives engaged in armed conflict against the Colombian state is critical to consolidating a stable and lasting peace in the country. In the majority of cases, this requires programmes to develop skills training, while other reintegration-focused forms of peace-building include development of sustainable agricultural and productive projects.

To support the Colombian peace process, Cuba has awarded medical scholarships to 1,000 FARC former combatants and conflict victims, whose newly-acquired skills will be put to important use in communities affected by poor access to essential services such as healthcare.