My Life as a Colombian Revolutionary

Reflections of a Former Guerrillera

Book Cover

PB: $30.95
EAN: 978-1-59213-101-3
Publication: Jan 05

HC: $81.50
EAN: 978-1-59213-100-6
Publication: Jan 05

312 pages
6 x 9
22 halftones

A gripping memoir of a woman who left middle-class life to become a member of a Colombian militant group


Q&A with María Eugenia Vásquez Perdomo, 2005.

In My Life as a Colombian Revolutionary, María Eugenia Vásquez Perdomo presents a gripping account of her experiences as a member of M-19, one of the most successful guerrilla movements in Colombia's tumultuous modern history. Vásquez's remarkable story opens with her happy childhood in a middle-class provincial household in which she was encouraged to be adventurous and inquisitive. As an eighteen-year-old university student in Bogotá, María Eugenia embraced radical politics and committed herself to militant action to rid her country of an abusive government.

Dedicated and daring, Vásquez took part in some of the M-19's boldest operations in the 1970s and 1980s and became one of its leaders. She was able to avoid detection for nearly twenty years in the movement because she was both clever and considered too attractive to be a guerrillera. Her vivid narrative brings to life the men and women who were her comrades and conveys their anxiety and exhilaration as they carried out their actions. When she tells of her love affairs with some of M-19's top leaders, she cannot separate romance from camaraderie or escape a sense of impending tragedy.

If Vásquez gave us only a rare insider's account of youth culture and a guerrilla movement in a Latin American country, this would be a book well worth reading. But she also gives us an unsparing analysis of what it meant to be a woman in the movement and how much her commitment to radical politics cost her.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments Introduction – Arthur Schmidt Prologue: Memory, the Thread That Weaves Life 1. Family Portrait 2. Turmoil at the Nacional 3. A Criolla Guerrilla 4. The Alliance with ANAPO 5. The Face Behind the Mask 6. Operation Colombia: Weapons for the War 7. We Risked It All Photograph gallery 8. An Army in Deep 9. Bars on My Soul 10. Singing to the Sun Like a Cricket 11. Mortal Wounds 12. Reinventing Life Epilogue Chronology of Major M-19 Actions Index

About the Author(s)

María Eugenia Vásquez Perdomo is currently coordinating an NGO project in conjunction with a UN organization, which serves women forcibly displaced by the armed conflict. The Spanish-language version of this book, published as Escrito para no morir: Bitácora de una militancia, was awarded the Colombian National Prize for Testimonial Literature in 1998.

Lorena Terando is Assistant Professor of Translation at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.


In the Series

  • Voices of Latin American Life edited by Arthur Schmidt

    Voices of Latin American Life, edited by Arthur Schmidt, aims to bring the texture and humanity of Latin American experiences to English-language readers through translations of works that impart direct voices. Through testimonial literature, interviews, and essays, the series will present important Latin American views from the famous and the anonymous that reflect the immense challenges of fundamental issues and of daily life in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.