RealNews

Scion of Colombia's Upper Class Returns as a Captured Rebel Leader

Ricardo Palmera is the son of a prominent country lawyer and attended the finest private schools, doing graduate work at Harvard University before becoming the manager of an important bank here in northeastern Colombia. Then, one day in 1987, for reasons unfathomable even to the wife and two sons he left behind, the onetime provincial dandy disappeared into the Sierra Nevada to begin life as a soldier in a Marxist guerrilla army. He adopted a new name, Simon Trinidad, and turned against his former bourgeois friends with such calculated cruelty that his motivations have baffled this wealthy cattle-ranching region ever since. By the time he was arrested Jan. 2 in Quito, Ecuador, the most politically influential guerrilla ever to be caught, Palmera had become a puzzling symbol of the sacrifice and savagery of Colombia’s long civil war. Full Story

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