Thursday, October 10, 2013

Kevin Scott's Great Adventure

Kevin Scott, in the Colombian Amazon,
shortly before wandering off into FARC's hands.
(Photo: El Tiempo)
Kevin Scott, apparently, does not read Wikipedia. If he had, he might have learned that San José del Guaviare, a town deep in Colombia's Amazon, is the historical base of the FARC Guerrillas and not a reccomended tourist destination - particularly for an ex- military man from the United States.

But Scott, a 27-year-old ex-Marine, got it into his head to walk from San José del Guaviare across the Amazon jungle to Brazil, armed only with a machete. It promised to be a great adventure, and turned into an even greater one when the FARC seized Scott on June 18 and began providing him free food and lodging (as well as Marxist ideology) for the duration.

When they initially kidnapped him, the guerrillas accused Scott of being a 'mercenary.' But they seem to have warmed up to him. Recently on their web page the guerrillas called Scott "a good gringo, naive and a daydreamer." That's probably not the way an ex-Marine likes to be described. But his family must be comforted to hear that Scott is alive, and apparently well, if a bit confused.

The guerrillas also described Scott as a hippy, who seems to have added a new dimension to couch surfing. After finishing his tour in Afghanistan, the FARC say, Scott "turned into a folkloric gringo, a gum chewer and marijuana smoker, who with a pack on his back, bluejeans and a few dollars in his pocket, set out to travel and get to know the world, with a very unique conception of life."

The FARC seem to have found in Scott an opportunity to wax poetic. They also hope he will get them some of the attention and legitimacy they perpetually craave. When U.S. civil rights leader Jesse Jackson visited Colombia recently, the FARC seemed willing to release Scott - as long as Jackson showed up for a photo opp at the release.

The Colombian government refused to cooperate. Now, Scott may have to wait until the next media star visits.

Scott, however, may not be impatient to live the jungle and guerrilla hospitality. On their website, the FARC quote Scott as saying that, before he leaves the jungle, he wants to see a tiger.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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