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Held Hostage in Colombia




Jorge Enrique Botero, Victoria Bruce, Karin Hayes



On February 12, 2003 a Pentagon-owned Cessna went down in the jungle of southern Colombia. At the crash site, guerillas from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Colombia's largest insurgent group, surrounded the men as they emerged from the plane, and later shot and killed an American pilot and a Colombian crewmember. The three other Americans were captured as "prisoners of war" and are still being held hostage. With unprecedented access, Colombian journalist Jorge Enrique Botero obtained this exclusive interview with the three men in a jungle prison camp on July 25, 2003. Seen for the first time since their abduction, Thomas Howes, Marc Gonsalves and Keith Stansell, flanked by guerrilla soldiers with automatic weapons, reveal what daily life is like in captivity and express their fears that they will never leave Colombia alive. In emotional sequences, the hostages learn that their co-workers died trying to rescue them, and send heartbreaking messages to their loved ones. And in a dramatic confrontation caught on camera, a FARC commander becomes suspicious that they are operatives of the CIA, rather than civilian contractors. With expert testimony from academics and politicians, HELD HOSTAGE IN COLOMBIA also calls into question the long-running American drug policy in Colombia and the US government's response to terrorist acts around the world.