Diary divulges disillusionment of Dutch woman in FARC rebels

CONTENTS of an intimate diary chronicling the declining morale of Tanja Nijmeijer, a 29-year-old Dutch woman who joined the FARC rebels in Colombia, have been released by the Colombian government.

The diary had been found during an army raid on a rebel camp in June. Ms Nijmeijer became the first person from outside Latin America to join FARC, the region's largest rebel army, but ultimately came to realise she was "more or less a prisoner".

Ms Nijmeijer, who, as a student, wrote her thesis at Groningen University on the FARC, describes the rank-and-file as hungry and bored.

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She condemns the strict discipline imposed by the male commanders - no smoking, no phone calls and no romantic relationships without their consent - while portraying them as materialistic and corrupt.

Juan Manuel Santos, Colombia's defence minister, said he hoped the diary would help counter "guerrilla chic" in Europe.

"In certain circles in Europe, there still exists the romantic image of the guerrillas as Robin Hood, or Che Guevara, fighting the bad guys for the benefit of the poor," he said. "Nijmeijer fell into this trap."

According to extracts from the diary, she wrote:

I want to leave here, at least this unit. But for the time being, you know that you're more or less a prisoner. What can you do?

I don't want to hear any more about being a communist. And then see how hypocritical the commanders, like braggarts and traitors, show no mercy if you dare to criticise them.

Today there was a party. Of course the commanders and their wives had their own private party, which I think is totally corrupt.

The rest, the troops, the regular guerrillas of lower rank, were allowed to finish the alcohol that the commanders couldn't finish yesterday. I've lost interest in partying. Maybe I'll go and sit alone, a kind of silent protest.

The offensive is coming up, today or tomorrow we'll leave for another site.

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I have five stitches in my thigh from where I hit myself with a blade ... it's not fair, right? I don't know where this project is going. How will it be when we come to power?

Bored and hungry. We can't find the enemy, and so I have to study FARC documents for the millionth time. Repeating what they've already said 30 times before.

I made the mistake of daring to criticise one of the commanders and yesterday I was seriously humiliated in public.

But it doesn't matter to me. I'm used to the hypocrisy of the FARC and their story, and I have no illusions about them.

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