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Her Silence, Her Voice

When Ingrid Betancourt was taken hostage on February 23, 2002, by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or the FARC as this fifty-year-old nationalist and peasant movement is better known, she was a feisty, outspoken, and rather unknown senator running for president under the banner of Oxígeno, the Green Party, that she founded four years earlier. The party was known as Ingrid's party—in Colombia, she is Ingrid—and she was making news more for her political methods than for her track record. For her senatorial race, she handed out condoms for "protection against corruption" and Viagra to "reinvigorate" voters. She staged a hunger strike and named the names of those she thought had ties to the paramilitary and drug lords during congressional sessions. As a Colombian-born woman, I welcomed this new female face in the political arena. She spoke differently than other Colombian women in politics, dressed differently, moved differently. She walked a fine line between feminist and feminine. She seemed more modern than the others. We exchanged greetings once at a forum in New York City in 2000, and I noticed she had an ankle tattoo. I didn't know then that in addition to being Colombian, she was also French.

The Bones of Mendihuaca

Maira Alejandra Martínez Suarez is sweeping away another layer of dirt when the bullets come flying overhead. She’s twenty-six years old, and with her French braid tucked under a brand-new baseball cap, she looks more like a rec-league softball pitcher than a forensic anthropologist under fire.

Journey Back to the Source: An Interview with Gabriel García Márquez

June 24, 2005

TRANSLATOR’S NOTE: The following interview was conducted in 1977 for publication in El Manifiesto—a now-defunct Colombian leftist journal. Chatting with the magazine’s staff writers, García Márquez opens up remarkably and bares his most nostalgic and personal side, even swearing on occasion. (The author can be surprisingly, spontaneously foul-mouthed when in the right company.) And he's unusually frank about his spotty education, his days of poverty, his youthful days residing in brothels, and his having been accidentally cured of boils by putting No One Writes to the Colonel to paper.