Out of Captivity by Marc Gonsalves, Keith Stansell, Tom Howes - Global Storybook

Out of Colombian Captivity: Freedom Never Tasted This Good

  • Book: “Out of Captivity: Surviving 1,967 Days in the Colombian Jungle”
  • Author: Marc Gonsalves, Keith Stansell, and Tom Howes, with Gary Brozek
  • Publisher: HarperCollins, 2009

Marc, Keith, and Tom were three Americans working as contractors under a government contract.  Their job consisted of flying a small plane over the Colombian jungle to find and photograph the strategic locations of the World-famous local guerrilla group, called FARC.  All three men had families and children back home in the United States.  They were three regular guys, doing a job for a living, working in a dangerous, unstable country but performing a nonhazardous role… or so they thought.

On February 13, 2003 it was just another routine morning and everything was going according to a plan.  Tom, Mark, and Keith boarded their plane along with two other fellow colleagues and took off.  Just a short while later they crashed in a Colombian jungle.  A few minutes after, they were surrounded by a savage gang.

What follows next is a phenomenal story.  A story that will make you rethink your own life, and then do it again, and again.  All of the things that we take for granted – especially our most basic and essential need, the freedom that we have, was taken brutally away from these men.  For the next 5 plus years they had no home, they were constantly on the run facing inhuman conditions, starving, bare-feet, and sometimes even deprived of whatever last “luxury” they had – the basic communication with one another.

Colombia has had a very bad and bloody history for the past hundreds of years.  This history earned it a very negative reputation of being one of the most dangerous countries in the World.  Even though today, in 2016, it is no longer the case since this country has improved its security measures significantly –  it was only about 8 years ago when Mark, Keith, and Tom were released from their awful captivity, and things have changed since then.

Arroz con Pollo (Classic Colombian Style)

So, if you’re looking to read a book on Colombia, this particular one will provide you with a wealth of information on what goes on inside the FARC’s World.  This gang of outlaws has gained a nasty reputation for being one of the most evil and bloodthirsty illegal, underground organizations in Colombia.  They have been terrorizing helpless civilians since 1960s… up until today.  Even though no longer considered a threat to the majority of Colombian people and land, they still remain a mystery and no one knows what power and tricks they might still have up in their hat.

“We looked at him and said, “What?,” wondering if he was telling us ahead of time about some decision that had been handed down regarding our fate.  Were we going to be shot or something?

He dug at the ground with the heel of his boot.

“I don’t believe that we should take hostages.  I know this is wrong.  I’m sorry.  A number of the other guys, they also don’t believe in kidnapping, but there’s nothing any of us can do about it.  We have no choice.  If we dissent or do anything to oppose the orders form above, we’ll be killed.”

We paused for a moment to chew on his words.  While guards often made passing remarks about not liking our imprisonment, they very rarely seemed as genuine as Eliécer.  He didn’t say it, but we understood this much as well: He was willing to do whatever he could to help us as long as it didn’t get him killed or in trouble.”  (p. 259)

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