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Throwing Stones at the Moon: Narratives From Colombians Displaced by Violence

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For nearly five decades, Colombia has been embroiled in internal armed conflict among guerrilla groups, paramilitary militias, and the country’s own military. Civilians in Colombia have to make their lives despite the threat of torture, kidnapping, and large-scale massacres—and more than four million have had to flee their homes. The oral histories in Throwing Stones at the Moondescribe the most widespread of Colombia’s human rights crises: forced displacement. Speakers recount life before displacement, the reasons for their flight, and their struggle to rebuild their lives. Among the narrators:

JULIA, a hospital union leader whose fight against corruption led to a brutal attempt on her life. In 2009, assassins tracked her to her home and stabbed her seven times in the face and chest. Since the attack, Julia has undergone eight facial reconstructive surgeries, and continues to live in hiding.

DANNY, who at eighteen joined a right-wing paramilitary’s enormous training camp in the Eastern Plains of Colombia. Initially lured by the promise of quick money, Danny soon realized his mistake and escaped to Ecuador. He describes his harrowing escape and his struggle to survive as a refugee with two young children to support.

ISBN-13: 9781642595611

Media Type: Hardcover

Publisher: Haymarket Books

Publication Date: 03-28-2023

Pages: 380

Product Dimensions: 8.25(w) x 5.50(h) x 0.00(d)

Series: Voice of Witness

Sibylla Brodzinsky is a freelance journalist who has spent more than twenty years writing about Latin American politics, human rights, and social issues. She is based in Colombia and contributes regularly to the Economist, the Christian Science Monitor, and the Guardian. Max Schoening is the Colombia researcher for Human Rights Watch. He has written extensively about human rights issues in Colombia, including forced displacement, transitional justice, and abuses against Afro-Colombians. Ingrid Betancourt is a Colombian politician, former senator and anti-corruption activist. Betancourt was kidnapped by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in 2002 and was rescued by Colombian security forces six and a half years later in 2008. She has since continued her activism work and has written a memoir about her experience.

Table of Contents

Foreword: The Silence of Shame Ingrid Betancourt 13

Introduction: Desplazados 17

Section 1 When Dogs Howl-the Caribbean Coast 25

Emilia Gonzålez 27

Julia Torres 49

Sergio Díaz 67

Amado Villafaña 75

Lina Gamarra 91

Section 2 The Less you Know, the More you Live-Antioquia 109

Carmen Rodríguez 111

María Victoria Jiménez 135

Zullybeth Zapata 157

Rodrigo Mejía 173

Section 3 A Big Splendid Party-Bogotá 183

Catalian Hoyos 185

Carmenza Gómez 195

Section 4 I'm no One here-Ecuador 217

Danny Cuervo 219

Ricardo Sierra 237

Section 5 Throwing Stones at the Moon-the Southwest 255

Felipe Aguilar 257

Alfredo Romero 277

Alicia Zabala 283

Mónica Quiñones 301

Mariana Camacho 309

Section 6 If you Weren't Brave, you had to Pretend to be-Eastern Plains 329

Jesús Cabrales 331

Alberto Carrasco 347

Ramón Santamaría 357

Section 7 The Path I'm Following-Urabá 365

Leonor Giraldo 367

Fernando Enamorado 375

Appendices 396

Timeline 415

Glossary 421

Endnotes 426

Acknowledgments 431

About the Editors 433