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Former members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC, in Spanish) are building a hotel that aims to attract tourists interested in living a few days “as rebels”. The hotel offers the experience of living the way the ex-guerrilla members used to do it.
‘Casa Verde’ hotel (Green House, for its English translation), is a simple one-store building located near the hamlet of ‘La Guajira’ in the eastern Meta providence of Colombia. The hotel was named after a former FARC headquarter, located in the same province.
Almost 30 ex-combatants work in the lifting of the project, and they assure that the hotel will tell the history of the rebel group to the world. Furthermore, the project will provide in the future their main source of income.
Tourists who arrive at Casa Verde will be able to sleep, eat, and live as ex-guerrilla members used to do, but without arms or confrontations with security forces. Those who wish a total immersion will even have the possibility of staying in camps or basic shacks that were used as shelter to spend their nights. Instead of comfortable beds, visitors would sleep in improvise rubber mattresses, covered with plastic sheets, palm leaves, and a mosquito net.
The menu offered by the hotel is also aligned to the real alimentary customs of the former guerrillas. Dishes commonly cooked by the rebels will be served; for example, ‘Cancharina fariana’, a wheat-based fried tortilla that can be wrapped in leaves and preserved for several days. Also, visitors will be able to try and ‘guerrilla rice’, a carbohydrates-heavy rice that is stewed with fried pasta.
According to explanations of the demobilized working in the ‘Casa Verde’ project, during the stay at the hotel, tourists can take walks to beautiful waterfalls, which were closed to citizens long ago due to the exacerbated armed conflict in the area.
Visitors will also learn details about the agriculture and fish farming advances ex-guerrillas are accomplishing and their strategies to rejoin society, after leaving the lists of the armed group.
What happens after demobilization?
After signing the peace agreement between Colombian government and FARC, the State, among other conditions, committed to grant each demobilized guerrilla member 620,000 Colombian pesos per month (USD 215) for two years. It aims to help former FARC members to make their transition to civil life.
With this money, which is a little less than the minimum wage in Colombia, ex-combatants have created co-operatives in the areas they used to control, have started agricultural labor, and projects to disseminate FARC’s memory, as the Casa Verde hotel.
Another project of a similar nature is found in Cauca. It is a museum that tells the history of the Colombian insurgency and where visitors can know facts about guerrilla. Visitors can find the uniforms they wore and the codes they used to avoid being discovered by the authorities of the country.
So far no details are known about the cost to stay overnight at the ex-members FARC´s hotel. However, it is known that the State approves the initiative, since part of the materials used in the building of the hotel, were granted by Colombian Government with the purpose of helping with the construction of rural and reintegration zones that facilitate transition to civilian life.