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Abelardo Caicedo, leader of former ETCR Tierra Grata, in Cesar, has become an example of perseverance given to his academic excellence as a college student. Photo: UN Verification Mission
Tierra Grata, 08/14/2020
Caicedo Colorado was the head of the 41st Front of Farc-Ep; he belonged to the organization for 40 years. He joined on June 17, 1977 and laid down his arms on June 16, 2017. Today, he is one of the 209 people who are carrying out his reincorporation process in the department of Cesar.
This ex-combatant is clear about the goal he wants to achieve: to be a professional in Public Administration. He started in 2019 motivated by his colleagues, Carolina Vargas and Germán Gómez, also former members of Farc-Ep and students at Escuela Superior de Administración Pública – ESAP University.
"The support of my colleagues and the facilitator at the Agency for Reincorporation and Normalization (ARN), Celina Zambrano, was essential for me to join ESAP. Not only did they motivate me to pursue a career; they also helped me with all the registration and enrollment process"- said Caicedo.
The leader at former ETCR Tierra Grata also pointed out that, to join college, he had to complete high school education – a goal which he achieved and materialized thanks to the reincorporation process and the Arando la Educación (Ploughing for Education) program, developed by ARN, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), the Ministry of National Education, the FARC component, and the Colombian Foundation for ex-combatants and peace promoters (Fucepaz) with the purpose of educating ex-combatants committed to a new legal life.
"Before joining the ranks of Farc-Ep, I had completed fourth elementary grade. I was tested under this education program I started in 2017, and given my good results I was in tenth grade; therefore I attended eleventh grade in 2018. I took the Saber (National High School) tests, I enrolled with ESAP College thanks to ARN, and I started the first semester in February 2019" - said the ex-combatant.
Angélica Patricia Agámez, ARN coordinator for the departments of Cesar and La Guajira, stated that the Arando la Educación (Ploughing for Education) program is a training strategy and an academic model that allows ex-combatants to access literacy programs, basic and secondary education, technical training and technological workshops.
"It is the opportunity that ex-combatants have to develop their life projects and achieve a successful reincorporation process like Abelardo Caicedo's," said the ARN coordinator.
Abelardo Caicedo stands out for being one of the best students at ESAP, and his grades bear witness to this. His GPA is 4.49 (out of 5.00), and he was awarded Enrollment of Honor by the University. According to the former leader of Farc-Ep, what motivated him to study Public Administration was to learn more about the functioning of the State and contribute to generating social changes in favor of those less favored.
"I am fulfilling one of my mother's wishes, she says she wants to be alive for my degree and that is my biggest dream," said Abelardo, who believes in the reconciliation of Colombians and in a more just and equitable state promoting collective well-being.
Abelardo Caicedo wishes to see his community overcome situations of vulnerability, by becoming involved in the political and productive development of the municipality, department and nation. Caicedo has become a role model and a benchmark for self-improvement for all the ex-combatants at former ETCR Tierra Grata.