La Niña: Life after war

La NiñaLa Niña is a new series which follows the life of a woman trying to escape her past as a guerrilla fighter in a fitting story for Colombia’s current situation. Jazid Contreras speaks to the director

Caracol TV is currently airing its latest prime time show, La Niña, a fictional drama series based on the true story of a former guerrilla fighter who quits war and begins the process of reintegration into civil society. Forced as a child to join an illegal armed group, Belky, the main character, attempts to leave her past behind and fulfil her dream of becoming a doctor.

Even though the show deals with the Colombian conflict, it distances itself from the very profitable ‘narco-soap’ genre. It constitutes a gamble by the network because it mirrors the current situation of Colombia, a nation looking to overcome its violent history and build a peaceful society.

Related: Ten must-see Colombian films 

The Bogotá Post had the chance to talk to Rodrigo Triana, La Niña’s co-director, who explained his views on the relevance of this work of fiction.

La Niña
Rodrigo Triana, co-director of Caracol’s new show La Niña

Jazid Contreras: What caught your attention about this project?

Rodrigo Triana: When I heard about this project I was thrilled to be part of it. This is a story that affects us all, it’s part of a very important process that our country is going through. I think it’s going to make a big impact on people’s minds.

JC: How do you reconcile the tasks of telling a true story and making an entertaining show?

RT: Well, that’s just our job as artists, isn’t it? This is certainly not a documentary, we have to entertain the audience by telling a compelling story that has tension, conflict and suspense. It’s our challenge to create interesting characters that the viewer can relate to and also that make people want to talk about the show.

JC: Tell us about the leading actress Ana María Estupiñán.

RT: She’s a true actor, outstandingly talented. Her immense talent and sensitivity are obviously present in everything she does.

JC: This show is presenting us with a bunch of young actors. Is it challenging for you to deal with?

RT: I’ve always worked with young performers. It’s a pleasure for me to pass down some of my knowledge, I try to teach them something new and help them become better at what they do. I just hope I can help them improve their careers.

JC: What can you tell us about the artistic approach of the show?

RT: Aesthetically, this show has a lot of my own style imprinted on it. It’s very ‘Rodrigo Triana’. Beyond visuals, I like to focus on the actors, on creating characters that seem plausible and realistic, but also unique.

JC: As a director and as a Colombian, what have you learned from this story?

RT: I’m all for the peace process. I can only speak for myself. We’ve been living in war for way too long. History has taught us that violence is not the answer. It’s important to tell stories about people who want to quit the war and ‘come back to life’, so to speak. If we don’t give them a chance, then ending the war is impossible. I think forgiveness is the only way for us to build a peaceful nation and that’s what this show is about.

La Niña airs Monday-Friday at 9pm on Caracol TV.

By Jazid Contreras


  1. My wife and I have fsithfully watched the series. At this point we’re about to Episode 80 and trying to guess the ending. She’s Mecican so she naturally loves novelas. I’m American so I tend to find them over acted and melodramatic, even corny. La Niña has it’s moments with good acting and a good story, but the digression into corn and contrived humor that has absolutely nothing to do with the storyline almost kills it. A few too many loose ends on the subplots for my taste. But here I am, watching it to the end! I’m not sure I’d have the stamina for a Season 2. Enough tragedy has befallen poor Belky and how many more sinister characters can you contruct to befuddle and make her life more miserable? Help!!!

  2. I really loved this, bless all those children forced into a guerilla life and I pray for peace for Colombia. I fell in and out of love with so many characters but mostly in love. I especially loved Belky, what an amazing beautiful young actress. I binged this series over a couple of weeks and I fought sleep, I even think I dreamed of some of the characters, I was satisfied with the ending and tearful throughout the series. Although I know her and Manuel shared a special bond, I sometimes wanted to slap him and Santiago was an a$$. If there could be another season, I would like it to be when she actually becomes a Dr. and perhaps has to treat Santiago and he ends up with a crappy job

  3. This is one of the most exciting series I’ve ever seen. I’m from Canada and it so heart breaking to know all these children were kidnapped and forced into such a harsh life in a jungle, mind you. Poor kids.
    They are brain washed and made to suffer horrendous experiences which makes it all the more heart breaking; they are forced from their families and no more warmth and love that is so necessary for human development. I’d really like to see SEASON 2
    Love it
    Please bring this international SERIES back and I was so interested I read all the English translation to the end! At first, I was having pounding headaches because my eyes were getting so much exercise. BUT I could not stop until I’d seen all 86 episodes. Columbia is beautiful COUNTRY

  4. starting at about episode 60, there are so many errors in the English subtitles on Netflix you’re not even sure what’s going on unless you can figure out what the words are supposed to be. a lot of it is grammatical errors which change the meaning of the sentence. whoever did this did it complete mashup terrible job at it. also stop talking about season 2, it’s not going to happen. the story ended at episode 86. the actress is far too old now and unless they’re going to cast somebody who looks like a 35-year-old it’s not going to happen anyways.

    one thing I like about these South American TV shows and narco dramas is the acting is perfect. even the child actors can act. American child actors have absolutely no ability and I think they all go to the same terrible acting schools. their words emotions and actions are unbelievable, but in anything I’ve ever seen from South America or Mexico is cast and acted perfectly and you really get lost in the story believing it’s real. Hollywood has no talent anymore and no idea is. I know a lot of the Colombian and Mexican shows are just recycled ideas and it seems that’s 90% of what comes out in their theaters and television but it’s still enjoyable regardless of the repetitiveness and unimaginative subjects

  5. I just watched the entire 86 episodes. This is one of the best series I have watched. It is really heart touching and mind- blogging filmmaking based on harsh reality of bloody war. This powerful story telling is not only story of Colombian conflict but it is indeed representative of the past and ongoing armed conflicts causing damages to the lives of millions of people. I have visited Columbia on 2016 and I can recall sharing of Colombian conflict by number of people I met there. I also relate the narrative with other armed conflicts, situation of child soldiers as well as peace accords and reconciliation process. I think it can be one of the strong advocacy materials for peace and reconciliation message and stopping bloody war elsewhere!

  6. Beautiful story just finished watching it yesterday . Had me in tears& hope there’s a season 2 . Belky went threw a lot , poor children who are forced into las guerreas. I recommend this movie give it

    • Hope is dim for Season 2. I have tried dealing with Caracol Internacional’s Branch Office in Miami and so far have gotten nothing but excuses about why the company cannot respond. So now I’m writing Season 2. It’s an incredibly complex story to write. I can well understand why it took a team of writers to assemble the plot for Season 1. I am up to 9 segments now.

      Some of it I’ve posted on Facebook. If you google Season 2 La Niña will find it easily.

      The plot as I’ve written it so far is being revised because as events unfolded there were unanticipated minor events that impacted the story line. So segment 9 made me go back to segment 1 and rewrite half of the first chapter.

      Just like the movie though Season 2 is pretty exciting and emotional.

      I’ve decided I’m going to go through with it to the end in English. If Caracol wants to talk later, great. My intent is to persuade them to make Season 2. If not, I’ll end up with a good book that ends the story properly. Then I’ll do Season 1 as a book in English too since I’m sure it would be a Number 1 best seller too.

      Have a look and see if you agree. I had other comments posted here but it looks like they were taken down.

      At some point I think I will message Ana Mariá to find out if she is even interested in reprising her role. If not, Season 2 as a movie is dead in the water. So I’ll be working on that soon. I have to learn some Spanish first.

  7. This documentary was so Interesting as brought tears often but I sat everyday and watched all 86 episodes at 45 minutes each and had to read every word said in closed caption in English but so so worth it! I am hoping to find a novel of this “Lanina” if possible!!

    • Hi Hope,
      I’ve tried to interest Caracol Internacional in Season 2 but no bites so far. But I am writing my version of Season 2 and am up to 20 chapters. I have some preliminary work on my Facebook page: Season 2 La Niña.

      All of that is going to be replaced with an actual website because the chapters are so long they are difficult to read in Facebook format.

      I had to do it because I can’t wait to find out what happens next. There were lots of loose ends in Season 1 that needed to be clarified or corrected. Barragán’s motive for wanting to kill Alias Sara being one of them. I can’t believe he would be convicted in a Colombian court. I researched it and that is correct.

      Then there is Belky’s misdiagnosis. Barragán was not shot in the liver as she thought, he was shot in a combination of his spleen, his large colon and his small intestine. They are on opposite sides of the body. That might be a translators error because I don’t know Spanish, or it was a writer’s error who was not a doctor.

      What that means is that Barragán makes a full recovery, gets out of jail reinstated in the army with back pay, goes after his wife to get is money back and Belky is back in trouble.

      To make matters worse, there other people who want her besides Barragán.

      So Season 2 starts off at a full run.

  8. I’ve asked about Season 2 of Caracol and got no response. Maybe no one there speaks English.

    So rather than wait any longer, I’m writing Season 2 myself to find out what happens.

    I’ve got 4 Episodes done as of today, November 2, 2019 and a lot of background research done.

    Within a week I’m going to start posting the episodes on Facebook to see if the interest has “legs”. If not I’ll just keep writing it for my own interest in my spare time.

    The page will be called LA NINA – SEASON 2

    I asked for permission to write Season 2 as a book. No answer. So it’s going ahead anyway. Hopefully the rights holders will take an interest. I don’t want to infringe but one way or another, I at least will get to enjoy Season 2.

    Since I’m a Canadian in Canada (and in the hospital right now suffering a kidney stone attack) I’m doing the research to ensure that what I write is accurate.

    Unless you research the history behind this movie, a person unfamiliar with Colombia cannot begin to appreciate the genius that LA NINA represents.

    My version of Season 2 is meant to enhance the genius that is the movie as well as illuminate events that have happened since Belky’s documentary’s release, especially as they affect Belky.

    I’ve watched LA NINA YUYUYat least 10 times now and am still finding new angles and understanding new things about why things happened as they did in the movie. This is a very deep movie. I wish I spoke Spanish to be able to appreciate the nuances language always brings to a cultural art form.

    The research revealed a lot about Belky the character and Ana Maria the actress who played her. Casting her as Belky was a masterstroke. Both the character and the actress are special and that only adds to the phenomenon that is LA NINA.

    My Season 2 is a tribute to Season 1. I hope you can find it and enjoy it as much as I’m enjoying its creation.

    I hope the owners do too.


    I would say this series is the best film I’ve ever seen in my life and I’m way beyond retirement. 86 episodes was way too short. There does need to be a Season 2 of the same length.

    The real power of the show appears in the previous comments. Most of those who commented believe this is an accurate depiction despite the producer Rodrigo Trianas saying bluntly that it is fiction. But it comes across as very real. It does eventually become obvious that different situations were added to present different angles on problems that might appear uniquely Colombian but really are not.

    I’d say that if this had been released as a feature movie in the USA, it would have captured all of the Oscars for acting, screenwriting, best movie and others. Nothing produced in the US comes close to this. The US is probably less ready for a movie this revealing than Colombia was.

    While the acting was terrific, I’d say it must have taken some courage to play some of the roles because they’re so polarizing. The risk of personal backlash has to be just as real for the actors and actresses as for the real guerrillas and ex-guerrillas.

    The use of mercury poisoning to the extent Belky suffered it would ultimately be fatal. I don’t think the amount she ingested is survivable long term or even medium long term. The reaction I had to having a single mercury filling removed was temporarily life altering for me. Removing the amount of heavy metal Belky ingested would have horrific consequences her liver and kidneys would be done up in knots. But her trials would make for another blockbuster – especially if she was kidnapped and reacquired by the guerrillas.

    After what Belky went through, I’d be surprised if she could have children or even enjoy real sex due to the damage she would have suffered at the hands of the female doctor. Besides that, not ever being hugged means the person does not “grow” the neural network that would make intimate touching enjoyable. Plenty of people have trouble with that due to childhood experiences with bugs crawling over them in the night. A light touch to them is interpreted as a serious physical threat. Living in the jungle would just make it even worse.

    Belky is unusual because she’s so empathetic and coming from a harsh social environment that would be extremely rare to nearly unbelievable. That factor alone is likely part of the reintegration problem. A person who can’t empathize is a person who can’t trust. When you have that from opposing parties, reconciliation is that much more difficult. The entire country needs an army of Dr. Horatios to sort it all out.

    If there is a real Belky, I understand that people would want to know her but doing so would not be in her best interests. Her life would be hard enough without the additional threats exposure would generate.

    The subtitles were no issue. This film would have suffered if done in English. After a while you find yourself learning bits of Spanish and if you watch it more than once you know what the words mean in general.

    Barragan was a great character and I can’t believe a guy like him could not manage a comeback thanks to corrupt army buddies. He didn’t get where he was without friends. It would not be in their best interests to have him remain in jail. He has a lot of skeletons in his closet and we haven’t really seen a glimpse of them yet. His was a terrific performance and he really made his points.

    I once knew a woman like Belky’s mother. A twin in every respect right down to the hair colour. Only worse. A harsh drunk. So seeing Belky’s mother played so realistically was mind boggling. It was like Marge came back to life. That performance was so real it gave me goose bumps. Her daughter was my girl friend. She was my personal version of Belky with only the guerrilla part left out. Ruth was a real life, stellar example of how disadvantaged people can prevail against all odds. To do it though, as Belky’s character demonstrated clearly, there has to be a realized purpose coupled with the unbreakable drive to achieve. With those two traits people like that are unstoppable.

    That’s why Colombia needs a Season 2 for this show. People in general have to know what’s possible. Belky could not have become a doctor until she knew being a doctor was an option. Colombia just needs inspiration to help it take the next step. Belky has the world by the short hairs. Run with it while you can.

  10. I’m retired military from the United States and I can relate to the struggle those children went through. I have seen a lot. La Nina actually brought tears to my eyes on a few occasions, especially the ending when Belcky spoke in front of all her friends and family. It was very emotional. The film was very realistic. I applaud and respect Belcky for her courage, desire to succeed and I pray that God continues blessing her and her entire family. I wish there were some pictures and information as to what happened to the people involved. What finally happened to Col. Barragan and his family. The other medical students and the staff.

  11. awesome strong woman to survive so much suffering so young. did she become a doctor in real life? any way to contact her today to say i admire her strength?

  12. I am Native American from the Absaalookãe Tribe, I can Truly Related to Her Story because We as Natives are still Oppressed by Our Government. I am Very Interested in the Culture of the Colombian Natives and their way of Live. The True story of Laniña has Helped me to Learn and Understand more about the Language and way of Life for the Colombian Tribe.

  13. Please when is season 2 coming. I so enjoyed also found it very emotional my heart just cries for those children. I think the fact that it was based on true lives is probably why I was so emotional. Her sister’s had me cracking up.

    Totally enjoyed this. When’s the next season por favor

  14. Please give us an update on where everyone is now! Did her sister really sing? What happened to the General’s daughter? Did Belcky and Manuel have any other children? Please please updates!!! I have googled but found nothing.

    • I wonder too. Becky asked more questions that I’m curious. Was Belky able to have a child ?
      I’m impressed how the actors/actresses have such tremendous energy and could memorized so much with such emotions.
      Other than that, thanks so much for having this film closed captioned in English. I had looked forward to watching this on Netflix everyday after having a few hard days.

  15. Hello, I love this series,
    I loved the role of Belky and the little sisters played an incredible role, very funny, I am Salvador and I had similar experiences, I was about to be recruited when I was 12 years for the Salvadoran guerrilla when we had the civil war of the 80, me brought many bad memories but also good, I hope this stories help or rather helped other people .. I hope Belky achieved
    her dreams of being a great doctor. IT WAS A GREAT STORY, I LOVED IT ..

  16. I want to know how her life is now. And she is an inspiration for the world, life is hard on itself without the war I can’t imagine how much harder it can be on someone with war, I mean just look at ADULT people CHOOSING to be part of war, and not being able to come back normal, with ptsd and various mental illness with much help …. and this young lady challenge that and go above it ! I hope she is able to see my post and feel great and all the love from California!


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