Mother of baby born in captivity seeks to bar film

, The Associated Press


It's one of the most heart-tugging tales of Colombia's long civil conflict: Rebels appear at the jungle home of a poor farmer carrying a 7-month-old boy with bandaged left arm.

The farmer tells them that the medicine man they seek isn't around. They leave the baby anyway, and promise to return the following day. But they don't. The abandoned child won't see his hostage mother until an emotional reunion after she is finally freed from captivity three years later.

Now an award-winning movie about the case has itself become a part of the drama.

Clara Rojas, who gave birth to Emmanuel in 2004 while a hostage of Colombia's main leftist rebel group, has asked a court to prevent the film, "Operation E," from being shown in the country, saying it would harm her child and "the free development of his personality."

A ruling could come this week in a case that has brought Rojas under criticism from anti-censorship advocates including writers, film critics and even President Juan Manuel Santos, a former newspaperman.

Rojas was campaign manager for presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt when the two were seized by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as the FARC, in 2002.

Her story of a jungle relationship with a still-mysterious rebel and childbirth through a difficult Caesarean section, of having the baby taken from her and of their tender reunion, has long enthralled Colombians, whose nation was especially traumatized by rebel kidnappings in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Rojas objects to the movie's focus on the farmer, Jose Crisanto Gomez, who she says held her son "captive" for seven months before turning him over the Colombia's child welfare agency.

The Spanish and French filmmakers say they were intrigued by Gomez's story because he claimed not to have known until Rojas' release that the fair-skinned baby brought to him by rebels was born to a political hostage.

Officials have doubted that claim, initially protecting Gomez then prosecuting him.

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