The cause has been a constant. What has changed is how that cause has been advanced. In his search for social justice in Colombia, Yezid Arteta has passed from student activist, to guerrilla fighter, to committed promoter of a peaceful solution to the Colombian conflict.

In 1984 Yezid Arteta decided to cut short his university studies and take up arms as a member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC. After more than a decade fighting the Colombian state, he was captured in 1996 and would go on to spend ten years in prison.

In 2006 he regained his freedom and he had by now decided that the cause of social justice in Colombia was best advanced through nonviolent means. He would announce his abandonment of armed struggle and dedicate himself to promoting dialogue, negotiation and a peaceful solution of the Colombian conflict. In this task he continues today.

The Story of an ex-Guerrilla

In the first of a two-part series, we speak with Yezid Arteta about his motivations to join the guerrilla struggle, his experience as a guerrilla fighter, his time in prison and his decision to dedicate himself to the promotion of peace in Colombia.

Peace in Colombia

In the second part of our two-part series, we speak with Yezid Arteta about the current state of the Colombian conflict, his optimism in relation to a recent announcement by the guerrilla group FARC, the requirements for a successful peace process, and the role of civil society in the advancement of peace in Colombia.