Captive by Clara Rojas

marzo 7, 2010

My book will reveal the incredible harshness of my daily existence: living in permanent darkness and humidity, washing in ice-cold water, having scarcely anything to eat, dreaming of some kind of vegetable…” Clara Rojas

Clara Rojas was a lawyer in her late thirties when she became her longtime friend Ingrid Betancourt’s campaign director for the 2002 Colombian presidential elections. When they were kidnapped by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) on February 23, 2002 the guerrillas were only interested in kidnapping Betancourt but Rojas refused to leave her friend of 16 years. Little did she know that this fateful decision would haunt her forever. Rojas recounts living in the jungle, surrounded by jaguars, snakes and tarantulas.

After over a year of captivity, deep in the Colombian jungle, miles from any town or hospital, Clara Rojas prepared to give birth in a muddy tent surrounded by the heavily armed leftist guerrillas who had taken her hostage. The guerrillas had promised that a doctor would be brought to the camp to help her. But when Rojas went into labor and began to suffer complications, the only person on hand was a guerrilla wielding a kitchen knife. The guerrillas had supplies of anaesthetic and Rojas was drugged while one of her captors slit open her abdomen with his knife. Her son Emmanuel was born by amateur caesarean section in April 2004. His survival was miraculous but her joy was soon cut short when the FARC took him from her when he was only eight months old. After six years of captivity she was finally liberated and reunited with her son – to whom this book is dedicated.

Clara Rojas was the campaign manager for the Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt when they were both kidnapped in 2002 by the FARC. Captive reveals the details of her six years of captivity, the birth and miraculous survival of her infant son in the jungle, and, finally, her emotional liberation and reunion with her child after he was taken from her eight months after his birth. Above all, Captive reveals the power of one woman’s faith in God and how much a mother will endure to be reunited with her child.

About the Author

Clara Rojas is a lawyer and was the campaign director of Ingrid Betancourt’s presidential campaign when they were kidnapped by the FARC in 2002. She gave birth to her son Emmanuel during her captivity but he was taken from her when he was only eight months old. After six years of captivity she was finally liberated. Clara and her son currently live in Bogotá, Colombia.

 

Translator:

Adriana V. López is the founding editor of CríticasPublishers Weekly’s sister magazine devoted to the Spanish-language publishing world. She is the co-editor of Barcelona Noir, a short story collection for Akashic Books, as well as the editor of Fifteen Candles: 15 Tales of Taffeta, Hairspray, Drunk Uncles and Other Quinceañera Stories (HarperCollins, 2007). Lopez’s work has appeared in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post, among other publications and book anthologies. Her essays and fiction have appeared in Juicy Mangoes(Simon & Schuster, 2007), Border-Line Personalities: A New Generation of Latinas Dish on Sex, Sass & Cultural Shifting (HarperCollins, 2004), and Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism (Seal Press, 2002). López is a member of PEN America and currently divides her time between New York and Madrid.

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