There is no better way to learn about historical experiences of others than to hear about them through the actors' own words. In Latin America, there is a continuing history of political upheaval. In many countries, ordinary citizens are repressed by the elite government, and there exists an intricate system of guerrilla rebellion to injustice. Political "subversives" are treated as common criminals, and an ideological war confronts anyone who wishes to publicly hold a view different from the national government. Fortunately, there are brave citizens who choose to fight for their beliefs and braver ones still who write about it so the world may know. Maria Eugenia Vasquez Perdomo of Colombia has done this with My Life as a Colombian Revolutionary: Reflections of a Former Guerrillera. And Alberto Ulloa Bornemann has done this with Surviving Mexico's Dirty War: A Political Prisoner's Memoir. These two autobiographies/memoirs have provided insight into each country's struggle for and against freedom, and what it may have been like to be on the front lines of this conflict.
[...] When Vasquez Perdomo and Ulloa Bornemann joined the guerrilla movements in their countries, they participated in many of the same types of training and missions. Vasquez Perdomo was a member of the M-19, which was a highly militant guerrilla group. Ulloa Bornemann belonged to a group he referred to as the “Organization,” which was less militaristic but had the same goals of social revolution. Vasquez Perdomo and Ulloa Bornemann both engaged in military training and physical fitness preparation. They gave of their time and possessions, such as using their homes to house organization members who were often wanted by the government, despite the risks it may have brought to their families. [...]
[...] When she was enrolled at the Universidad Nacional for her studies, she was encouraged by a teacher-mentor and numerous friends to study socialism. She was entrenched in an atmosphere of revolutionary ideals and met the friends that led her to guerrilla involvement. Ulloa Bornemann, on the other hand, had parents who were not particularly supportive of revolutionary political ideals. When he attended the Iberoamericana University, he said it not the best place in which to become concerned with the social and political issues of Mexico” (101). [...]
[...] In addition, Vasquez Perdomo eventually rose to the leadership of the M-19, while Ulloa Bornemann had a smaller role. He often simply drove the leader of the Organization around, waiting in the car while he attended meetings, and security was not always the utmost priority. When he was included, his role was smaller than that of Vasquez Perdomo in the M-19. Both did things such as transfer arms and deal with the peasantry, but the M-19 and Vasquez Perdomo also did things such as take hostages. [...]
[...] She lived a transient life and had a very difficult time coping with the sudden loss of all prior inspiration. She did not immediately reconnect with her baby son, and it took years for her to find a new purpose in women's advocacy. Vasquez Perdomo and Ulloa Bornemann both turned their life stories into priceless testimonies of Latin American history. Their experiences have been made into education for others, at the same time that they enabled each author to reconcile a life of passion and pain. Vasquez Perdomo tells her life in a chronological [...]
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