On September 12, 2005, paraplegic Porfirio Ramirez hijacked an airplane on rout to Colombia’s capital and demanded to speak with then-President Alvaro Uribe. Almost six years later Ramirez’ story is being put to film.
Ramirez was born in the Tomila department where he attended school until the fourth grade and then worked on a coffee plantation with his family. At age 30 he decided to move to Playa Rica in Colombia’s southern Caqueta department.
In Play Rica Ramirez opened a successful grocery store and gas station. His business expanded and he began offering gasoline delivery services. He married in Play Rica and had three sons.
In the middle of the night on April 2, 1991 armed men entered Ramirez’ house and in the altercation Ramirez was shot in the spine and he lost the use of his legs. Ramirez says that the police investigated the incident but justice was not served.
In spite of his debilitating injury, Ramirez continued to work hard to support his family.
As time passed the Playa Rica became more and more violent and Ramirez decided to move his family Florencia, the department’s capital.
In September, 2005, frustrated with his living conditions, his disability and the lack of justice in his case, Ramirez decided to carry two grenades onto a plane destined for Bogota and demand a meeting with then-President Alvo Uribe.
Ramirez wanted the plane to land at the El Dorado airport in Bogota, but the pilot redirected the flight to the Catam airbase where, after meeting with two delegates of the government, Ramirez was arrested. He explains that the government officials promised to re-open the investigation into his case and give him COP100 million to help him find a good home for his family. His case has not been reopened and he has not seen the money.
After a few days in prison Ramirez was put in house arrest in Florence where he decided to pursue his cause through different means. “Being here in my home I contacted a gentleman abroad to make a movie with my story,” he explains.
The film documents Ramirez’ story from his perspective. Producers hope to release the film in June.