Saturday, February 28, 2009

Book Casts Harsh Light on Ex-Hostage in Colombia

Keith Stansell, center, Tom Howes, left, and Marc Gonsalves at Columbia University to introduce their new book, "Out of Captivity," about their years as hostages. Michael Appleton for The New York Times

From The New York Times:

CARACAS, Venezuela — Ingrid Betancourt, the aristocratic Colombian politician greeted as a heroine last year after enduring years as a hostage of Marxist guerrillas, is depicted as a selfish and haughty captivity mate in a memoir by three American military contractors who were held in jungle camps alongside her.

“I don’t want to attack her, but the truth is very savage,” said Keith Stansell, 44, an ex-Marine and one of the authors of the book, “Out of Captivity,” which was released Thursday. “We were infected enough with her behavior in the jungle,” he said in a telephone interview from New York. “Now I just want to get immunized.”

Indeed, Mr. Stansell and his co-authors, Thomas Howes and Marc Gonsalves, offer a far different portrait of Ms. Betancourt in the 457-page book than the generally accepted image of her outside Colombia as a long-suffering abduction victim who nobly resisted her captors since her kidnapping in 2002.

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My Comment: It is clear that some of these ex-prisoners have a lot to get off their chests. Their book is just one step for the healing and closure that they need.

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