In this Nov. 14, 2017 photo, a technician fixes the headphones of former rebel Marilu Ramirez in preparation for the broadcast of debate show at the NC Noticias studio in Bogota, Colombia. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)
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In a tiny bathroom, Marilu Ramirez prepares for her segment in a production studio by brushing her long black hair and covering her lashes in another coat of mascara, small luxuries in a life no longer being spent behind bars. Sentenced to 27 years in jail for her role in a car bombing at a military school, Ramirez was released as part of Colombia's peace agreement with leftist rebels and is now the host of an online debate show.The live program is produced by Nueva Colombia Noticias, a new network started by former guerrillas with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) that aims to offer an alternative to what some see as a media landscape crowded with biased, traditional outlets.One year after the signing of the accord, the ex-combatants are living in a hotel paid for by the Colombian government, teaching themselves how to operate cameras and gearing up to launch a daily newscast. The story of Nueva Colombia Noticias is in many ways a microcosm of both the successes and challenges of reintegrating former guerrillas into Colombian society.The channel has 25 reporters in Colombia's capital, nearly all of whom are former rebels living off monthly payments that the Colombian government agreed to pay as part of the peace accord.The leaders of Nueva Colombia Noticias consider their own endeavor to be one such productive project.
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