Sergeant Arbey Delgado Argote was kidnapped in 1998 and spent almost 12 years in captivity before being rescued by the army in “Operation Chameleon” on June 14, 2010.
In the excerpt detailing his experiences, from the book “Lo que en la selva quedo” (“That which stayed in the jungle”), the sergeant discusses a conversation he had with a terminally ill guerrilla soldier, who was “weeping uncontrollably,” but refused to name his illness.
Delgado also notes a separate conversation with a fellow hostage, “Gentil,” an army commander of the Seventh brigade who claimed to have shot an AIDS-stricken guerrilla.
“He said in a talk that they [the army] had shot a guerrilla who had AIDS and that apparently, it had spread to many of the front. According to him, it had also happened in other fronts of the Eastern Bloc and ‘Mono Jojoy’ had given the order to shoot all the sick.”
Delgado goes on to discuss the manner in which Gentil claimed the epidemic was spreading.
“He also told me that the ‘Raspachines’ [pickers], that had been recruited recently, had also brought the HIV virus and that it was rapidly spreading around the bloc. I was amazed with what he had told me, although I remembered a tired nurse in the demilitarized zone complaining that he had had to take over a thousand blood samples. The epidemic could be serious.”
The book will be presented on May 15 at the International Book Fair in Bogota.