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Women Tell their Experience in Guerrilla Struggle
Guillermina Cabañas, former guerilla fighter in the 1960s. Photo: INAH/M. Tapia.

MEXICO CITY.- In late 1960’s decade, Guillermina Cabañas, then 18 years old, summed up to Guerrilla in Guerrero Mountain Range, leaving behind her childhood, the feasts where her father and brothers played music, and the work at the fields.

She recalled her experiences with other ex- fighters of armed organizations during the second half of 20th century, at the academic gathering “De Niñas a Guerrilleras” (From girls to Guerrilla women) which took place on March 8th 2010 at the National School of Anthropology and History (ENAH) as part of the Permanent Seminar of Armed Movements in Latin America and the commemorations of the International Women’s Day.

”The aim was to gather their testimonies to contribute to the memoir of women’s participation in social struggle. A dozen women shared their experiences and the facts that led them to take up arms, to fight for a better living”, explained Raquel Velazquez, from the Social Anthropology Bachelor Degree Coordination, and organizer of the encounter.

Guillermina Cabañas Alvarado is one of the participants. She mentioned her childhood in Atoyac de Alvarez Guerrero, Guerrero. “My father was a farmer who grew beans, rice and maize. We were very close, and he used to build games for us, like swings. He was Felipe Cabañas Ocampo”.

Guillermina recalled her first contact with Lucio Cabañas: “He was a teacher; up in the mountain range he began organizing people to avoid deforestation and its consequences. He said we ought to ask for health centers, drinking water and highways. My father assisted to those reunions and that is how I met him”.

“Lucio began organizing parents to protest against bad management at the school, and at one meeting, they opened fire, but some persons covered him and 5 of them died”.

Afterwards, he left town and began organizing clandestine groups. He sent letters to relatives to warn them about possible persecution. He asked Guillermina to warn young people and to raise awareness of the situation.

“That how I began. Then persecution started, helicopters flew over the town, they took people out of their houses to basketball courts, and sent women to one side and men to the other. They wrote down names and if your last name was Cabañas, they put you against the wall with hands on the back.

“We women yelled and tried to release the others, but they hit us with the grip of rifles, taking them away without arrest warrant. The military committed outrage, many people are still missing”.

Her family left the town. “I asked my parents to let me stay and take care of the fields, and then I got into Guerrilla organization. It was not easy: I had to learn how to use weapons, I was afraid, but here I am, telling the story”.

She remained hidden in the mountain range for 5 years, sometimes eating only fruit and roots, under the rain. “Sharing whatever we had got, we were like siblings”.

Two months before Lucio Cabañas was killed, she quit because she was two months pregnant, and her husband asked her to. She was 23 years old.

“I saved myself but I have a brother still missing. He had to hide our identity for a long time, until early 1990’s decade. I had to explain my children why in some neighborhoods I was called with other name”.

The academic gathering had the presence of other ex-Guerrilla women, like Maria de la Luz Aguilar, Alejandra Cardenas Santana and Marta Piña Barba.

Mexico | Guillermina Cabañas | Guerrilla Struggle |

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