The journalist Jineth Bedoya Lima has guts. Eleven years after she was kidnapped, tortured and sexually abused when she showed up to interview a paramilitary outside Bucaramanga’s La Modelo prison, she came face-to-face with the man whom she’d been told ordered the crimes against her. Who was she then: Jineth, the award-winning journalist or Jineth, the victim?
Jineth wrote, “It is impossible to describe all the sensations and emotions I had from the moment I stepped through the prison’s door until I extended my hand to ‘el Panadero.’ He greeted me as if we were old friends.”
The paramilitary leader Mario Jaimes, alias “el Panadero,” (“the Baker”), told her he had nothing to do with what he refers to as her “accident.” He said, “We are all autodefensas (self-defense groups, or paramilitaries). I have nothing to do with your accident but anyway, I ask you to forgive me. And I hope that one day, you can forgive those who committed this accident and forgive me, who has nothing to do with it.”
He explained someone had ordered this to happen to her because she was investigating issues related to La Modelo prison: who came in; who of the guards, the military, and the police force were implicated; what arms were being brought in …
Still all very unclear. But expect Jineth to uncover the facts—in time. When this horror happened to her, she told herself she would remain a journalist and would uncover her truth.
Listen to Jineth tell her story here.
In November 2010, Jineth was threatened by the FARC in an unrelated case.