In My Life as a Colombian Revolutionary, Mar\u00eda Eugenia V\u00e1squez 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. V\u00e1squez'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 Bogot\u00e1, Mar\u00eda Eugenia embraced radical politics and committed herself to militant action to rid her country of an abusive government. Dedicated and daring, V\u00e1squez 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 V\u00e1squez 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.
Maria Eugenia Vasquez 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: Bitacora 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.
AcknowledgmentsIntroduction - Arthur SchmidtPrologue: Memory, the Thread That Weaves Life1. Family Portrait2. Turmoil at the Nacional3. A Criolla Guerrilla4. The Alliance with ANAPO5. The Face Behind the Mask6. Operation Colombia: Weapons for the War7. We Risked It AllPhotograph gallery8. An Army in Deep9. Bars on My Soul10. Singing to the Sun Like a Cricket11. Mortal Wounds12. Reinventing LifeEpilogueChronology of Major M-19 ActionsIndex