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With support of

Columbia University –Picker Center
Colombian Coffee Federation
And “Colombia Soy Yo USA”

Cordially invited you

Book presentation

Surviving 1,967 Days in the Colombian Jungle

For the First Time…
Three Americans Held Hostage for Five-and-half Years
Tell Their Harrowing Tale of Survival, Brotherhood, and Rescue

Thursday february 26th
3pm – 5pm

Columbia University, Morningside Campus, 420 West 118th street
International affairs Building Room 1501



The FARC pushed us, telling us we had to keep quiet or they’d kill us. Our feet throbbed and blistered from the relentless march through the jungle. The moon rose high above the trees, and the temperature plummeted. We stumbled through the darkness without a single light.

—Out of Captivity

On February 13, 2003, a plane carrying three American military contractors--Marc Gonsalves, Tom Howes, and Keith Stansell--crashed in the mountainous jungle of Colombia. Dazed and shaken, they awoke battered and covered in blood with automatic rifles pointing at their faces. As of that moment they belonged to the terrorist organization known as the FARC, the military arm of the Colombia Communist Party established in the 1960s. Thus began five-and-a-half years of captivity as these three men struggled to survive the madness of their surroundings.

In OUT OF CAPTIVITY: Surviving 1,967 Days in the Colombian Jungle (William Morrow; $26.99, Publication Date: February 27, 2009), Gonsalves, Howes, and Stansell recount their amazing tale of survival, friendship, and, ultimately, rescue in its entirety for the first time. Revealing the story of their crash, their horrific treatment at the hands of the FARC, what they witnessed as captives, and how they survived, the book provides vivid and gruesome firsthand accounts of their years in the jungle.

In their own words, they detail the brutality they endured both physically and mentally at the hands of their captors, describing month-long, unrelenting “starvation” marches while suffering broken bones, dehydration, exhaustion, and infection. They speak of months of solitary confinement and heavy chains wrapped around their necks that often left them wishing for death. Offering a glimpse inside one of the world’s most notorious terrorist organizations, OUT OF CAPTIVITY tells the story of how far three Americans were willing to go as they fought to survive for themselves, their families, and each other, providing unflinching insight into:

• Their plane crash into a FARC strategic meeting site, and the FARC’s execution-style murders of their crewmembers Tom Janis and Luis Cruz;

• The U.S. counter-narcotics surveillance role in “Plan Colombia”, including their aerial flights for electronic eavesdropping and FARC communication interceptions;

• The clandestine role they played as U.S Government contractors in the War on Drugs

• Their five-and-a-half years of captivity, torture, and deprivation;

• Their experiences with other hostages, including their fraught relationship with fellow captive Ingrid Betancourt;

• How they learned to live off the jungle and survive in some of the world’s harshest conditions;

• How their friendship helped each of them to survive;

• How spirituality played a role for each during different phases of their imprisonment;

• The FARC’s leaders, activities, movements, and organization;

• Their dramatic rescue by special military units on the ground in Colombia;

• The reintegration process and the emotional reunions with their families and loved ones.

• How captivity has changed them and what their lives are like seven-and-a-half months after being rescued.

The captivity of Marc Gonsalves, Keith Stansell and Tom Howes was one of the longest civilian hostage situations in U.S. history. An intense no-holds-barred look at cruelty and human frailty, OUT OF CAPTIVITY shows the best and worst of humanity and opens our eyes to one of the bloodiest conflicts in South America.


Marc Gonsalves is a former member of the United States Air Force who worked as a civilian contractor for four years before the crash and captivity. He has a daughter, Destiney, and two stepsons, Cody and Joey. He lives in Hebron, Connecticut.

Keith Stansell is a former member of the United States Marine Corps. He lives with his daughter, Lauren, his son Kyle, his twins Keith Jr. and Nick, and his fiancee, Patricia, in Bradenton, Florida.

Tom Howes has been a pilot working in the United States and South America for thirty-seven years. He currently lives with his son, Tommy, in Merritt Island, Florida.


More information
Press office Colombia Consulate 212 7989004

the Columbia campus on Morningside Heights is located at Broadway
and 116th Street in Manhattan. The School of International and Public
Affairs is located at 420 West 118th Street between Amsterdam Avenue
and Morningside Drive. Be aware that when you enter the building,
"street level" is considered the fourth floor.

By Train or Bus

Trains to New York arrive at Grand Central Station or Pennsylvania
Station, while buses stop at the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Visitors
arriving at these stations can take either public transportation or a
taxi north to the campus.

By New York City Public Transportation

Five bus lines (M4, M5, M11, M60, M104) and one subway line (the #1
local) serve the Columbia neighborhood. The M60 bus is a direct link
between campus and LaGuardia Airport. The Columbia stop is 116th
Street. Note that if you take the express trains #2 or #3, you must
transfer to the #1 local at 96th Street. The #2 and #3 trains do not
stop at Columbia University.

By Car from the North

Take the New York Thruway (I-87) or the New England Thruway (I-95)
south to the Cross Bronx Expressway (I-95) in the direction of the
George Washington Bridge. Take the exit for the Henry Hudson Parkway
south (the last exit before the bridge). Exit the parkway at West 95th
Street and Riverside Drive. Go north on Riverside Drive to 116th
Street. Turn right and go two blocks to Broadway and the University's
main gate. Please note that the main gate is not open to traffic.

By Car from the South or West

Take the New Jersey Turnpike north or I-80 east to the George
Washington Bridge. As you cross the bridge, take the exit for the
Henry Hudson Parkway south. Exit the parkway at West 95th Street and
Riverside Drive and follow the directions "From Riverside Drive and
95th Street," below.

By Car from Long Island

Take the Long Island Expressway or the Grand Central Parkway west to
the Cross Island Parkway north. Cross the Throgs Neck Bridge onto the
Cross Bronx Expressway (I-95 south) and proceed as in "By Car from the
North," above.

By Car from New York Airports

From LaGuardia: Take the Grand Central Parkway west to the Triborough
Bridge, to Manhattan. Follow 125th Street across Manhattan 12 blocks
to Broadway, which is under an elevated subway structure. Turn left
onto Broadway and go south to 116th Street.

From Kennedy: Take the Van Wyck Expressway (I-678) to the Whitestone
Bridge and across. Get onto I-95 south and follow the directions in
"By Car from the North," above.

From Newark: Follow directions in "By Car from the South or West," above.


You may park on the street or use the local parking garages. The
512-520 Garage is located at the corner of 112th Street and Amsterdam
Avenue; the Riverside Church Parking Garage is located on 120th Street
between Claremont Avenue and Riverside Drive; the GMC Garage is
located on 122nd Street between Broadway and Amsterdam (Seminary Row).




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Consulado General de Colombia en Nueva York. Todos los derechos reservados.