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Dutch Farc rebel addresses news conference

Thursday 08 November 2012

The Dutch Farc guerrilla Tanja Nijmeijer has taken part in a news conference in Cuba on behalf of the Colombian rebel group.

Nijmeijer, who joined Farc 10 years ago and is the subject of two arrest warrants for terrorism, was part of the news conference held by Farc to outline their position in pending peace talks with the Colombian government to end the 50-year conflict.

During the news conference, Nijmeijer said that peace for the rebel group is ‘food, a roof over your head, education, the right to land and family, freedom with social justice’.

‘We are ready to do whatever it takes to reach this,’ Nijmeijer told reporters in fluent Spanish.

Charm offensive

There has been much criticism of the involvement of Nijmeijer in the peace talks by experts who say she is being used as part of a charm offensive.

Dutch aid organisation Pax Christi said on Tuesday the interests of victims of the guerrilla war risk being forgotten because of the media interest in the Dutch woman, who is called Alexandra by the rebels.

And the Telegraaf said on Thursday the press conference had been carefully orchestrated. Access to Nijmeijer, who is staying in a heavily-guarded house, is also restricted, the paper said.

Last month, Leiden university professor Beatrice de Graaf told website nu.nl Nijmeijer is one of the most dangerous women in the world. The Netherlands has a far too romantic image of Nijmeijer because she is pretty and has ideals, De Graaf said.

In 2010 the US issued arrest warrants for Nijmeijer and 17 other Farc members in connection with the deaths and kidnapping of Americans and a Colombian.


Nijmeijer, who graduated in Spanish from Groningen University in 2002, hit the headlines in 2007 when her diaries were found after government troops attacked a rebel camp. In the diaries, she was very critical of her life with the Farc movement.

In 2010, she was thought to have been killed in a government raid, but that later turned out not to be the case.

In 2011, she gave a television interview explaining her full commitment to the cause, which was broadcast by the Nos.

Your thoughts? Use the comment box below.

© DutchNews.nl


Readers' Comments

Maybe the gov should employ her as one of their advisors to improve the lives of their own people.

By ufo | 8 November 2012 9:07 AM

It is true, had Tanja Nijmeijer been a fat and unattractive Dutch girl she would not have been given the support she has. The fact is that she is a suspected of kidnapping and murder and should be arrested and tried. The Dutch are far too whimsical in ethics and sense of right and wrong. How the Netherlands came to be chosen as the home for the Int. Criminal Courts is a question in many diplomats mind.

By Quince | 8 November 2012 12:23 PM

As a Colombian, I'm quite concerned of the publicity the FARC are gaining with Ms Nijmeijer portraying the terrorist group to be the "army of the people". Although I do believe my country should work towards more social equality and opportunities, the FARC at no time represent our people. They run a criminal organization, including drug trafficking, earning millions of dollars that I dont see them investing in any social development.... I do want peace for my country, but the FARC are not the "Robin Hoods" they are trying to picture themselves as, don't be fooled...

By CEB | 8 November 2012 3:27 PM

@Quince, a few days ago you argued that the ICC should move to Norway. Tanja Nijmeijer was in Norway only recent. And the Norwegians didn't arrest her.

By pepe | 8 November 2012 3:37 PM

I find it hard to reconcile the 'strumming guitars, surviving in a jungle camp' image we see on TV with a lady that has an obvious veneer of regular, pampering beauty-treatments that are usually the preserve of the rich and famous. I wonder if she has anything in common with the poor that she says she fights for, or if she is just another statistic capitalising on looks to gain fame, power and wealth. By the way, why was the Red Cross transporting this wanted criminal in their helicopter?

By jaycee | 8 November 2012 3:51 PM

After comparing the "attractive" crimes of Tanja to those committed by the wrinkled and ugly Hillary Clinton, i could understand why the ICC is based in Haia.

By Kimbozeiro | 9 November 2012 2:24 AM

Yes, of course this is a cynical ploy by the FARC to gain sympathetic press coverage by using an attractive European as a spokesperson, and it's working here in the Netherlands at least.

But all this talk about how she should be arrested is naive. She's acting as a negotiator in peace talks, so arresting her would be counter-productive. If you want peace, you have to allow some space for both sides to negotiate without arresting them...

By Ryan B | 9 November 2012 8:08 AM

Ms. Nijmeijer is simply delusional: after 10 years fighting with the FARC and she still believes that they fight for what they say they stand for? No progress, in any sense, has taken place in Colombia thanks to the actions of the FARC, on the contrary. When is she going to make a reality check?

By the way, in her diaries she is not speaking against the FARC. The diaries were manipulated to give that impression: please check the translation.

By Miguel Mejía | 9 November 2012 11:34 AM

She is not attractive. She has killed for an organization that deals in drugs with the delusional wish to appear sympathetic to the poor. She is an ugly, pitiful representative of the dutch people who have been disgraced by her middle class, educated upbringing in a tolerant nation.

By roland | 10 November 2012 9:04 PM

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