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Crime in Colombia: Alvaro's Kidnapping



Crime in Colombia: Alvaro's Kidnapping
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.03

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    miltary, policies, best, guerrillas, paramilitary, statistics, profile, nationality, wealthy, terrorist, civil, unexpected, guerrilla, frequently, political, economy
     content words:    South America, National Planning, National Liberation Army, United States State Department


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Crime in Colombia: Alvaro's Kidnapping
By Jennifer Kenny
  

1     Caption: Citizens of Colombia protest against kidnappings and miltary rescue operations of FARC hostages.
 
2     The word spread quickly throughout the town. Alvaro, the wealthy landowner, had been kidnapped. While kidnappings happened quite frequently in Colombia, it was still quite shocking and appalling when it happened to someone you knew.
 
3     Nearby, Ricardo sat with his father and talked about the sad and unexpected event. Alvaro, Ricardo, and Ricardo's father all lived in Colombia. Colombia is a country in South America. From 1996 to 2003, around 3,000 people a year were kidnapped according to the Department of National Planning. However, to Ricardo and his father, the kidnapping seemed unbelievable.
 
4     "How could this have happened?" Ricardo asked his father. "Alvaro did everything he was supposed to do to keep safe. He even hired paramilitary to protect him from the guerrillas."
 
5     "I'm not sure what went wrong," Ricardo's father answered. "The family is still waiting for what they hope will be a ransom call." A ransom is something exchanged, usually money, for the kidnapped person's freedom.
 
6     Ricardo asked, "Who do they think did this?"
 
7     Ricardo's father answered, "The family believes it is the guerrilla group known as FARC. They've been very active in this area lately. They continue their terrorist activities, looking for ransom or political bargaining chips. It doesn't matter anymore what a person's job or nationality is or anything. They just need the money to keep the civil war going. Of course, the other possibilities are other guerrilla groups such as ELN or the National Liberation Army."
 
8     "Why would they do this to Alvaro?" Ricardo asked.
 
9     "Alvaro has a lot of money. Guerrillas need a lot of money to keep up their fighting with the government and keep the drug trafficking going. Kidnapping means more money to guerrillas if the family can afford to pay for a person's freedom," his father answered.

Paragraphs 10 to 23:
For the complete story with questions: click here for printable


Extended Activities:

1.  Research the activities of the guerrilla groups in Colombia. Summarize their ties to drug trafficking.

2.  Research travel restrictions in Colombia. What would be the safest ways for tourists to travel? Create a list of safety tips for travelers.



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