Peace with Legality goes on in San Jacinto, Bolivar Over 70 years old and during the pandemic, ex - combatant married couple remain 'connected' to their education


In the courtyard of their home, in the municipality of San Jacinto (Bolívar), the married couple carry out their tasks to continue with their academic training process. Photo: Courtesy.

Cartagena, Bolivar.  June 17, 2020.

José Beltrán, 79, and his wife, Betty Arrieta, 75, are the main characters of a love and reconciliation story. Now, neither the difficulties and changes generated by the pandemic have taken away their enthusiasm to continue with their academic training processes. Thus, they hope to become an example of perseverance for the new generations of the country.

In 57 years of marriage, Don José Beltrán and Doña Betty Arrieta have known the most genuine face of love, but also the regrets of when some of the most violent pages in Colombia's history were written.

After leaving the ranks of the Farc - Ep and taking up the reincorporation process, they did not have among their plans that, over 70 years old, they would be between pencils and notebooks, resuming those school days they stopped in the past and on the verge to complete them.

Joseph is 79 years old, and his wife Betty is 75. Neither the difficulties, nor changes generated by the Covid - 19 emergency, have taken away their enthusiasm to continue with their academic training processes, thanks to the accompaniment provided by the Agency for Reincorporation and Normalization (ARN – Agencia para la Reincorporación y la Normalización - for its acronym in Spanish) in the  department of Bolivar.

Three days a week, in the midst of their chores and their productive livestock and 'sanjacinteras' hammocks (woven by Dona Betty) projects, they attend their virtual classes of the Pius XII Educational Institution, as part of the cycle 3 of the adult education program of the Ministry of National Education and the public offering of the municipality of San Jacinto. They receive their assignments and through video calls or by phone, they clarify the doubts with their tutor.

"When we were told about classes to finish school, we thought that, because of our age, it was something that would be exceedingly difficult. But, at our own pace and thanks to all the support we received, we have moved on and look forward to completing this process. The secret is to organize our time well and be focused", José Beltran says.


Love, violence and reconciliation

The main characters of this story met at the Corregimiento de Arenas, jurisdiction of the municipality of San Jacinto, in 1963. At that time, Don José worked as a farmer with Betty's father and brothers.

That same year, between their days of tilling the land and hard work, they married with the approval of both families. Jose was a 22 – year - old boy and, Betty, 18. Both from the countryside and full of dreams to fulfill.

Don José says that they initially lived in his in-laws' house, in the Corregimiento de Arenas, but later they had their first children and bought a property in the county seat of San Jacinto, where he still lives with his wife today.

About how was their entry to the Farc - Ep, they prefer not to give greater details. They only say that their children "were already grown men" when they made the decision to do so. These were violent and very convulsed days. However, after taking over the reincorporation process, they say there are sufficient reasons to be grateful for life.

"We are happy to be part of the country's reconciliation. Currently, thanks to this new path, we can study and we also have our productive projects to continue growing. Maybe, a few years ago, this was something that seemed unthinkable, but today it is a reality", Don José concludes.

He adds that, through the efforts he and his wife have devoted to their training processes, they hope to become an example of perseverance for the new generations of the country.


Interesting Data

  • In addition to accompanying them in their academic training process, the ARN in Bolivar provides guidance to José and Betty for the development of their individual productive livestock projects, for which they received financial support from the national government. These are located on the Palo Negro village and the Altamira village in El Carmen de Bolívar.
  • Throughout the reincorporation process, resources for individual and collective productive projects benefiting 4,184 ex - combatants and their families.
  • To date, 18 ex - combatants in the reincorporation process carry out their academic training processes at the Pius XII Educational Institution, in the municipality of San Jacinto, with the accompaniment of the ARN.
Created at 10/8/2020 5:48 PM by Adrian Mauricio Rojas Maldonado
Last modified at 10/8/2020 5:48 PM by Adrian Mauricio Rojas Maldonado