Colombia Soldiers spread peace on Armed Forces Radio

Por Dialogo
março 25, 2011



BOGOTÁ, Colombia - Sergeant Víctor Celín has taken to the airwaves to spread
the message of peace.
He is one of the soldiers in the Colombian army who uses his voice as weapon
on the radio.
Celín directs one of the radio stations that make up Colombia Estéreo, a
network of 31 radio stations throughout the country which operate under the
Colombian Army. He broadcasts in Puerto Berrío, a town about 191 kilometers (118
miles) north of the department’s capital of Medellín.
The radio station broadcasts the voices of soldiers who try to bring hope, a
little entertainment and culture to their fellow soldiers.
“When I was only 17 years old, a passion for radio awoke in me,” he said.
“It’s my duty to the country, and through the radio I get to reach out to many of
fellow soldiers,” Celín said.
“The Armed Forces radio airs programs and institutional messages that promote
listener engagement. The shows are educational, cultural, and recreational.”
“All of this aims at strengthening democracy; the essential values of
nationality; civilian-military integration; and the security of citizens,” Celín
said
Armed Forces radio means no more lonely nights
Harold Valderrama, a soldier in the Colombian Armed Forces, said the Colombia
soldiers on the air make him forget about feeling lonely.
“[The radio] is healthy company; it does you good to listen to the voices of
people who’ve experienced the conflict firsthand and who understand what it is to be
away from one’s family,” Valderrama said.
The first military radio station in Colombia was inaugurated in 1954 under
the presidency of General Gustavo Rojas Pinilla (1953-1957). Ever since then, there
has been a steady supply of voices giving encouragement to those who are fighting
for peace in Colombia.
“Colombia Estéreo” has provided coverage without interruption, broadcasting
around the clock and has proven to be an effective tool against the terrorists.
Programs aired by “El Centinela” and “Voces” helped disarm more than 50
guerrillas, Celín said.
But Colombia Estéreo does more than spread the message of peace within its
ranks and outside. It also carves out time to bring humor and music to listeners.
Programs entertain all those soldiers who, if only for a few hours, can forget they
are part of the internal war their country wages on terrorism—a seemingly endless
conflict.
“Since I was very little I’ve been told I make others laugh and that I’m
entertaining; I like doing imitations and as a professional soldier I thought I
might help the Army with my talent,” said soldier Uber de Jesús Gómez, who does
imitations and who created characters like “Alerta” and “Don Pepe,” for the program
called “La Trinchera” (The Trench). “I’m very proud to be part of this group and of
being in the military.”
One show on Colombia Estéreo is “Flor del Monte” (Mountain Flower), which
features soldiers as they send text messages, make phone calls, takes requests, and
reads letters to their relatives and loved ones.
“This is one of the most moving shows,” Celín said. “Every time a soldier is
out on patrol he’s thinking of his family. That’s something only another soldier can
understand; so our job is simply to act as a means to deliver that soldier’s
message.”
For more information check the official web page of the Colombian Armed
Forces radio station (www.emisoraejercito.mi.co).
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