Beyond Bogota

Leech, Garry. Beyond Bogota: Diary of a Drug War Journalist in Columbia.Boston: Beacon Press, 2009.

I think if goes without saying Columbia is one of the most dangerous places to be a journalist. Why an independent journalist would go there specifically to be a “drug war journalist,” as Leech has called himself, is beyond me but it is a story that needs to be told. Beyond Bogota is about the eleven hours Garry Leech was detained by FARC, Fuerzas Amradas Revolutionarias de Columbia (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia). Interspersed between the eleven hours is Leech’s past history traveling around Latin America. Incredible as it seems Leech’s eleven hour detainment wasn’t his first. In 1982 he was captured by militants in El Salvador because he didn’t have permission to be investigating their drug trafficking operations. But, it his mission to research the effects of landmines on small communities in Columbia that was especially moving. In 2002 he visited the town of Zaragoza and met landmine victims. His description of how a landmine is built and detonated is devastating, especially when you consider how easy small children can set them off.

Reason read: Columbia won its independence in the month of August.

Author fact: Leech is a family man (with a wife and small child at the time of publication).

Book trivia: There are no photographs in Beyond Bogota except for the cover.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust To Go in the chapter called “Hail, Columbia” (p 90).



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