by Tomas Ayuso and Magnus Boding Hansen
GAITANIA, Colombia—In 2000, Cmdr. Wilson Ramirez, a senior explosives expert for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, better known as FARC, left his infant daughter on a stranger’s doorstep for her to look after. Ramirez, commonly referred to by his nom de guerre, Teofilo, has seen her only a handful of times as he continues the armed struggle against the state. Today, his daughter, Laura, now 16, still lives with Orfany Neira, the woman who raised her as her own in this small village in the remote mountains of central Colombia, where Communist peasants inspired by the Cuban Revolution took up arms 53 years ago.
But Laura and her father could soon be reunited for good. Despite missing a March 23 deadline, the guerrilla group and the government are closing in on a historic peace agreement that would end the FARC’s historic insurgency. Ever since the government entered negotiations with the guerrillas in 2013, a tense but steadfast truce has kept hostilities under control, giving way to a growing police and government contingent in previously impenetrable FARC strongholds like Gaitania. But the agreement has detractors as well as proponents on all sides.