Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Reporters on the Job

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Reporters on the Job

Article excerpt

* ARAUCA AFTER DARK: Reporter Rachel Van Dongen took a trip to Arauca, Colombia, to see the oil pipeline (page 7) in November and came back with one lesson: Don't leave your hotel after dark. The commander of the 18th Brigade invited Rachel for a 7 p.m interview at the military barracks, about 10 minutes outside town.

"I should have taken the hint when the taxi refused to wait for me, which is very unusual in Colombia, where cash speaks louder than words," she says.

"I didn't finish the interview until 10 p.m., when the Army packed me into an unmarked red Jeep and drove me to the outer limits of the base. There, they politely bade me goodbye. Turns out that vehicle had been shot at several times the day before and the driver was taking no chances that night. I used my cellphone to call several taxi companies and individual drivers, who refused to drive to the military barracks at that time of night. It was sinking in: To be seen with the military or police in Arauca was the kiss of death, and no one was taking any chances. …

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