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World Press Photo of the Year nominee reveals story behind pregnant ex-FARC guerrilla

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World Press Photo of the Year nominee reveals story behind pregnant ex-FARC guerrilla
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Yorladis was heavily pregnant when Spanish-French photographer Catalina Martin-Chico immortalised her in a former FARC guerrilla camp in the Colombian jungle of Guaviare.

The photographer explained how the image speaks of the "rebirth" of its protagonists, after laying down their arms.

With this photograph, Martin-Chico reached a milestone: becoming the first woman to be nominated across the two major award categories World Press Photo of the Year and World Press Story of the Year.

"Here we are, the women, even if you don't notice us so much," she said in an interview with Euronews.

Martin-Chico said that finding Yorladis pregnant was no coincidence.

She was looking for her, because she had already portrayed her in 2017 on her first trip to the veradales, isolated zones in Colombia where FARC guerrillas were still to be found while the peace process concluded.

They still wore uniforms and walked around with weapons, she explained.

"There I saw Yorladis for the first time, she wasn't pregnant, she didn't have any children, but I took a picture," she recalled.

Nine months later she returned and found a completely different landscape. There were no more uniforms, no more checkpoints and half of the ex-guerrillas had left to live with their families.

It was here that Yorladis was taking the first steps towards a new life.

Despite the contraceptive injections given by a nurse, this was her sixth pregnancy. On previous occasions, she had been forced to abort.

It's a story of these babies who are born, but above all, it's a story of the fathers and mothers who are reborn. When they entered the FARC they were children, they were 11, 12, 13 years old.

The FARC's regulations are clear: "We accept women, but not pregnancies and children."

"Yorladis is not the only one who became pregnant and had to have an abortion," said Martin-Chico.

"Knowing that the next day you have to carry up to the 50 kilos of backpack and walk eight hours through the jungle to change camps, whether or not you have had an abortion.

"Other women have been able to carry the pregnancy to term and give birth in the jungle but that came with the extreme condition of having to abandon the babies."

Through her images of Yorladis and others from the camp, Martin-Chico has created an album entitled 'Reborn' on her website.

"It's a story of these babies who are born, but above all, it's a story of the fathers and mothers who are reborn. When they entered the FARC they were children, they were 11, 12, 13 years old," she said of the album.

Yorladis was one of those who, at the age of 12, cut her ties "with the whole family, with everything that is society, with people, with money, with the notion of working".

Now the former rebels have to think again about ordinary tasks, like going to the shops, explained the photographer.

"These children of peace replace the weapons, give them again the family relationship they did not know since they were children themselves and relearn how to live in society," said Martin-Chico.

On the same day Martin-Chico discovered her name among the World Press Photo finalists, she spoke to Yorladis.

"It's a very strong signal because I had lost contact over the last two months," she said.

Yorladis' baby is about to turn one-year-old and the father works on a farm near the camp planting cane.

"Oh my God and that belly is going to be seen by everyone," replied the former guerrilla, while congratulating her on the nomination.