A Journey To Marquetalia: Bringing Together All The Actors Of The Colombian Conflict For A Unique Trip
ETIC (Extreme Travelers International Congress) met in Colombia in January of 2020 for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit Marquetalia, the historic heartland of FARC rebellion.
This area, in Colombia´s southwest Andes region, was known as one of the “independent republics” that liberal guerillas set up in the late 50´s during “La Violencia” years. After a failed incursion by the national army with the assistance of US military intelligence under “LASO program” to rid Latin America from communist rebellions, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia were born. A group that became the biggest, bloodiest, and longest lasting guerrilla in the Americas. For 55 years, Marquetalia was off-limits to civilians. The peace process signed between the government and FARC presented a unique opportunity to reach this remote place and share incredible moments with all actors of the armed conflict in Colombia, including the top echelon of FARC, heads of the UN peace mission, national and local government officials, army, pólice, members of local Indian reservation, victims and press. To date, participants of this trip remain the only group to have made it to Marquetalia, an area that is now back in the eye of the storm in the everlasting armed conflict in Colombia.
The Extreme Traveler International Congress is a group founded by Dr. Kolja Spori. It is the get-together for travelers who go everywhere … “countries unheard, unrecognized or unreachable”. Past trips have included Grozny, the Principality of Sealand, Baghdad, Liberland, amongst other.
Jack Goldstein was born and raised in Colombia to Eastern European immigrant parents. He started traveling very early in life to visit grandparents in Budapest. His passions are long drives, intense travel, with particular interest in reaching unique, remote places of historic Jewish interest. He has traveled to over 130 countries as he Chases 193, holds 3 passports, and speaks 4 languages. He graduated from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and he then worked for 15 years as a flower grower and exporter, and 25 years managing a hotel in Bogota. The Lancaster House Suites is a favorite of the Chasing 193 community when they pass through Bogota. Jack was also featured in Chasing 193, Volume II.