Luis Eladio Pérez, a local politician and former senator in the state of Nariño in southern Colombia, was kidnapped in June 2001. When it happened, the media covered it just like one of the many daily kidnappings. That year, an average of over nine Colombians were kidnapped every day, according to País Libre, a Colombian NGO.
Too many Colombians know first-hand—through a friend or a relative—what life is like in captivity. But Pérez’ new book, 7 años secuestrado por las FARC (7 Years Kidnapped by the FARC), takes you on an unprecedented journey inside the jungle camps. In a conversational tone, he describes his ordeal at the hands of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)—the country’s notorious armed opposition group founded in 1964 and engaged in widespread kidnappings since. Their methods achieved global notoriety in May 2001 with the kidnapping of Ingrid Betancourt, a feisty presidential candidate with a French passport who became a global cause célèbre.
The FARC has suffered setbacks lately—losing hostages to military rescues, escapes and diplomatic negotiations involving Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. Pérez, in fact, was part of the delegation whose release Chávez helped to negotiate in November 2007. With freedom came a book contract. And his book, written with the assistance of veteran journalist Darío Arizmendi, is now one of a handful of firsthand accounts rushed into publication, creating a new genre of bestsellers—the kidnapping memoir. Even Betancourt is preparing her book…
Tags: Colombia, Darío Arizmendi, FARC, Luis Eladio Perez, Silvana Paternostro