Nobody is exempt from the threat of kidnapping in Colombia, not the poor, not the young, not the infirm, not the devout. Everyone is a target and often, it is the nameless and the voiceless that are victimized. There is money to be made, no matter how little, from kidnapping even the poor and virtually indigent. But the FARC and their ilk are well aware of the political currency they put in their coffers when they kidnap the wealthy, powerful and influential or when they execute kidnappings on a grand scale.
The Famous and the Infamous
- Maruja Pachon de Villamizar, director of FOCINE, the National Colombian Cinema Organization. Her story was told in Gabriel Garcia Marquez's book "News of a Kidnapping" (Noticia de un Secuestro).
- Juan Carlos Gaviria, younger brother of former president Cesar Gaviria.
- Ingrid Betancourt, former Colombian senator, outspoken critic of corruption in the national government and presidential candidate.
- Jorge Gechem Turbay, Senator.
- In 1999, an entire congregation in a Catholic Church in Cali was kidnapped.
- Colombia is routinely among the countries included in Reporteurs Sans Frontiers's list of the most dangerous countried for journalists. Journalist kidnappings are common.
"News of a Kidnapping" New York Book Review
Miami Herald article
Salon.com article on Ingrid Betancourt
Salon.com article on Jorge Turbay