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| 4/25/2011 10:00:00 AM

The devastation of Colombia's civil war

April 25--In Colombia, years of civil war and assassinations have torn families apart.

Sitting in a shack that totters on stilts in a slum overlooking Bogotá, Colombia's capital city, Gloria Torres gasps as she looks at the creased and faded photograph of her son. He is smiling slightly, dressed in his best, thumbs in pockets, his dark eyes soft.

Torres holds it to her chest, crumples, seems to shrink by half in less than a second, then remembers she has guests. She composes herself, and lays the photo carefully back in a shoebox and strokes the face, brushes down her apron and pulls her youngest daughter closer. In a gentle, determined voice, she begins to tell her family's story.

Torres will remember 7 June 2007 for the rest of her life. She can even pinpoint the hour she knew that her son, 17-year-old Aurelio, was dead.

"It was 3am. I felt something, like he'd come home, come to my bedside. I awoke and spoke to him, but he wasn't there. Then a feeling, a pain came over me, which to this day I still can't shake off."
 
Read more here.

Semana International delivers news about Colombia in English. Find more in our home.

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