RealNews

A coed's path from poli-sci major to leftist guerrilla

Ivon Barragan Tovar seemed like a normal 22-year-old still living at home with her parents. Her bedroom in a lower-middle class Bogatá barrio still bore marks of innocence: a heart-shaped pillow and stuffed Winnie the Pooh. But A.A. Milne wouldn’t recognize the rest of Ms. Tovar’s room decor. Police found intelligence documents, maps, and political propaganda supporting the Marxist-inspired rebels known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or by their Spanish acronym, FARC. Tovar was allegedly a FARC rebel. Last October, she was shot in a police shootout during an attempt to assassinate a prominent businessman in downtown Bogotá. The assassination attempt failed, and young “Juana” – Tovar’s nom de guerre – is now dead. But her story offers a glimpse into the shadowy world of FARC’s urban recruitment and how a seemingly average young woman became an alleged terrorist. “Juana is more or less the typical young person recruited” by the FARC, says a police captain who supervises antiterrorist probes. “That stage of youth is so romantic.” Full Story

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