Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Keep CounterPunch ad free. Support our annual fund drive today!

Colombia’s Forgotten Prisoners


Along with dozens of other female political prisoners, campesino leader Luz Perly Cordoba lives behind bars in the Bogota women’s prison, El Buen Pastor. They are forced to sleep in the dirt of the floor, and their babies will grow up in confinement.

“These women live each day as if it were their last” says journalist Sara Cifuentes of the Colombian weekly VOZ.

Cifuentes follows the desperate situation of the women imprisoned in the “Buen Pastor” prison closely. The women lack milk, towels, linen and toys for their children. They sleep bundled together on the floor.

According to Cifuentes, “they are an example of tenacity, valor and solidarity. They preserve for themselves and for their children the hope that the world can be made better, even though it today denies them milk, linen and medicine for their babies.”

84 women are confined in Yard Six of the “Buen Pastor”: “The Good Shepherd” in English. Of these 84, 54 are accused of various crimes such as rebellion and terrorism, and only 29 have been convicted–ten to terms between 16 and 40 years. The remainder have not been judged guilty, but remain detained, many together with their small children.

Several are victims of so called “miraculous fishing expeditions”, massive detentions carried out by the Armed Forces with the objective of capturing opponents of the regime.

One of the prisoners is Luz Perly Cordoba, a leader of the National Trade Union Federation of Rural Workers, FENSUAGRO. Known as an energetic defender of peasant rights, she is now imprisoned, accused of rebellion.

In a letter sent to ANNCOL from The Good Shepherd, she writes: “Today, there are hundreds of leaders from the rural workers’ movement and other popular movements who, like me, are denied their liberty, torn from their families and their communities, accused of rebellion. This is the product of the intolerance of a regime which has taken to demonizing and stigmatizing as rebels all those who dare to differ and to dissent from their unacceptable social and economic policies.”

She adds that, despite the persecution, “we will not renounce our struggle and our dreams, which are more alive today than ever.”

Two women share each of the cells of Yard Six in the women’s prison, one sleeping on the floor and the other on the bunk. There are six mothers with babies between two and nine months old, and one with a girl of three years.

“But the circumstances are more difficult than one would think”, explains Sara Cifuentes.

“Of the 84 prisoners, 63 are single parents. There are 20 women with one child, 17 with two children, 11 with three, nine with four and three with five.”



More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine


Weekend Edition
October 21, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Wight
Hillary Clinton and the Brutal Murder of Gaddafi
Diana Johnstone
Hillary Clinton’s Strategic Ambition in a Nutshell
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Trump’s Naked and Hillary’s Dead
John W. Whitehead
American Psycho: Sex, Lies and Politics Add Up to a Terrifying Election Season
Stephen Cooper
Hell on Earth in Alabama: Inside Holman Prison
Patrick Cockburn
13 Years of War: Mosul’s Frightening and Uncertain Future
Rob Urie
Name the Dangerous Candidate
Pepe Escobar
The Aleppo / Mosul Riddle
David Rosen
The War on Drugs is a Racket
Sami Siegelbaum
Once More, the Value of the Humanities
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
Neve Gordon
Israel’s Boycott Hypocrisy
Mark Hand
Of Pipelines and Protest Pens: When the Press Loses Its Shield
Victor Wallis
On the Stealing of U.S. Elections
Michael Hudson
The Return of the Repressed Critique of Rentiers: Veblen in the 21st century Rentier Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Drumbeats of Anti-Russia Confrontation From Washington to London
Howard Lisnoff
Still Licking Our Wounds and Hoping for Change
Brian Gruber
Iraq: There Is No State
Peter Lee
Trump: We Wish the Problem Was Fascism
Stanley L. Cohen
Equality and Justice for All, It Seems, But Palestinians
Steve Early
In Bay Area Refinery Town: Berniecrats & Clintonites Clash Over Rent Control
Kristine Mattis
All Solutions are Inadequate: Why It Doesn’t Matter If Politicians Mention Climate Change
Peter Linebaugh
Ron Suny and the Marxist Commune: a Note
Andre Vltchek
Sudan, Africa and the Mosaic of Horrors
Keith Binkly
The Russians Have Been Hacking Us For Years, Why Is It a Crisis Now?
Jonathan Cook
Adam Curtis: Another Manager of Perceptions
Ted Dace
The Fall
Sheldon Richman
Come and See the Anarchy Inherent in the System
Susana Hurlich
Hurricane Matthew: an Overview of the Damages in Cuba
Dave Lindorff
Screwing With and Screwing the Elderly and Disabled
Chandra Muzaffar
Cuba: Rejecting Sanctions, Sending a Message
Dennis Kucinich
War or Peace?
Joseph Natoli
Seething Anger in the Post-2016 Election Season
Jack Rasmus
Behind The 3rd US Presidential Debate—What’s Coming in 2017
Ron Jacobs
A Theory of Despair?
Gilbert Mercier
Globalist Clinton: Clear and Present Danger to World Peace
James A Haught
Many Struggles Won Religious Freedom
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Dear Fellow Gen Xers: Let’s Step Aside for the Millennials
Uri Avnery
The Peres Funeral Ruckus
Tom Clifford
Duterte’s Gambit: the Philippines’s Pivot to China
Reyes Mata III
Scaling Camelot’s Walls: an Essay Regarding Donald Trump
Raouf Halaby
Away from the Fray: From Election Frenzy to an Interlude in Paradise
James McEnteer
Art of the Feel
David Yearsley
Trump and Hitchcock in the Age of Conspiracies
Charles R. Larson
Review: Sjón’s “Moonstone: the Boy Who Never Was”