RealNews

A Piece of Boyhood Is Stolen

The guerrilla swung the boy up on his shoulders in the cold mountain air. “Come on,” he said, looking up at the child. “There’s a big animal in the woods that gives presents to children.” Then the guerrilla and 3-year-old Oscar Ricaurte disappeared into the fog. The boy’s mother, Leticia, could not speak. She could not move. Her arms hung limp. When will I next hold my son? she thought. A female guerrilla commander barked an order: “It’s time to go. Move it.” Leticia climbed in the back of a four-wheel-drive jeep. As it rattled down the dirt road, she sobbed uncontrollably. For months, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the country’s largest rebel group, had held Leticia and Oscar for ransom. When negotiations bogged down, the guerrillas sent Leticia home in hopes she would push to speed things up. They kept Oscar. As months passed after her March release, Leticia fought to hold on to that last vision of her son, like a dream that shifts and fades after waking. Every few weeks, the guerrillas called her and her husband, Gonzalo. They asked for as much as $100,000 in ransom, an impossible sum for a family making $12,000 a year. Full Story

OODA Analyst

OODA Analyst

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