Last Updated on May 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1590
Orlando Acevedo is one of Diana Turbay's cameramen. The kidnappers free him on December 17.
Richard Becerra is one of Diana's cameramen. He gains his freedom after the police raid that takes Diana's life.
Hero Buss is a German journalist who travels with Diana Turbay's crew. The kidnappers free him on December 11.
Pablo Escobar is the head of the Medellín drug cartel. At the time of the abductions, Escobar's fugitive, shadowy identity has led some people to doubt his very existence. Escobar has risen from petty thiefdom to heading a multibillion-dollar, international drug industry. In his hometown of Medellín, Escobar provides jobs and charitable services to slumdwellers. After he is imprisoned, Escobar continues to run his drug business. He is shot and killed by Colombian authorities on December 2, 1993, a few months after his escape from prison.
Father Rafael García Herreros
Father Rafael García Herreros is the eighty-two-yearold priest whose efforts are instrumental in bringing about the release of the final two hostages and Escobar's surrender. Father Herreros's well-known television sermonette program ‘‘God's Minute,’’ has been running close to forty years before the nightly news. Father Herreros takes it upon himself to volunteer to mediate between Escobar and the government. Escobar accepts this offer and soon after a meeting takes place between the men, the long ordeal—of the hostages and the government's battle with Escobar—ends.
President César Gaviria
President Gaviria took office a mere three weeks before the first kidnapping. Since his campaign, Gaviria worked to create a judicial policy that would bring about an end to narcoterrorism, and this policy became his first priority in office. Gaviria considered extradition an emergency measure that would pressure the criminals into surrendering. With the kidnapping of Diana Turbay and her news team, his resolve is put to the test. Throughout the months of the hostage ordeal, Gaviria refuses to accede to any demands of the drug traffickers that would tarnish the Colombian judicial system, which he is trying to strengthen. Gaviria is also personally touched by the narcoterrorists during this ordeal; shortly before Escobar's surrender, Gaviria's cousin and old friend is abducted and murdered.
Dr. Pedro Guerrero
Pedro is Beatriz's husband.
Azucena Liévano is a young editor on Diana Turbay's news team. She takes notes during her captivity and later uses them to write a book about the experience. She is held with Diana, but on December 13 the kidnappers free her alone.
General Miguel Maza Márquez
General Maza Márquez, responsible for the investigation into the abduction, is the head of the Administration Department for Security. He has held this position for an unprecedented seven years, under numerous administrations, and he considers the war against the drug dealers to be his personal struggle to the death with Pablo Escobar.
Kidnapped three months before Maruja and Beatriz, the sixty-four-year-old Marina Montoya owns a restaurant but her political connections make her a target; her brother was the secretary general to President Barco, whose administration had begun the extradition policy and, at the time of the abductions, he serves as Colombia's ambassador to Canada. It is widely believed that Marina was kidnapped in retaliation for the government's refusal to comply with agreements made with narcoterrorists to bring about the release of her nephew, who previously had been abducted and freed. Many Colombians, including Marina, also believe that she has been abducted so that the captors had a significant hostage whom they could kill without thwarting the negotiations for their surrender. Marina develops a close relationship with her guards before the arrival of Maruja and Beatriz to the room where she is kept, and she has a difficult time adjusting to their presence. In the days before her death, Marina seems to foresee what will happen, and she is executed on January 23, 1991, her body tossed in an empty lot.
Fabio, the youngest Ochoa brother, is a top member of the Medellín cartel. He surrenders in December.
Jorge Luis Ochoa
Jorge Luis, a top member of the Medellín cartel, surrenders under the new decree in January. Of the three brothers, he is of particular help to Villamizar in his efforts to meet Escobar. He also tries to convince Escobar to surrender.
Juan David Ochoa
Juan David is a top member of the Medellín cartel. He surrenders under the new decree in February.
Maruja's sister Gloria is Colombia's representative to UNESCO and the widow of Luis Galán, the former presidential candidate who made a lasting enemy of Escobar by trying to prevent the drug dealer from obtaining a role in Colombia's government as well as by supporting the extradition treaty. He was assassinated by drug traffickers in 1989.
Maruja Pachón de Villamizar
Maruja Pachón de Villamizar is a journalist and the director of FOCINE, the state-run enterprise for the promotion of the film industry, when she is abducted. Like the captives before her, she is kidnapped for political connections; her husband, Alberto Villamizar, is a well-known politician and her sister, Gloria Pachón, is the widow of Luis Galán. The drug traffickers hope that Maruja's kidnapping will put pressure on the government, through Gloria, to accede to their wishes. Maruja remains strong throughout her captivity, refusing to be intimidated by her captors. After Beatriz is released and she remains alone, however, she becomes disheartened, unsure that her husband is doing all he can to win her release and convinced that she will remain hostage for a long time to come. Maruja is released on May 20, after more than six months in captivity.
Rafael Pardo Rueda
Rafael Pardo Rueda is President Gaviria' s advisor on security. Under the previous administration, he was in charge of negotiations with the guerrillas and the rehabilitation programs in war zones, and he achieved the peace accords with the M-19 guerrillas. He acts as the mediator between the Colombian government and Maruja and Beatriz's family.
Guido Parra Montoya
Guido Parra Montoya is Escobar's attorney. He was arrested on suspicion of abetting terrorism the year before. He is involved in negotiating the release of the hostages, but he vanishes in February 1990 after overstepping his authority. He is found dead in Medellín three years later.
Nydia Quintero is Diana's mother. She lobbies President Gaviria to change his decree and thus secure the release of the hostages.
See Pacho Santos
Dr. Hernando Santos
Hernando Santos is Pacho's father. Along with his close friend Dr. Turbay, he makes early efforts to negotiate with Pablo Escobar and free the hostages.
Francisco Santo, nicknamed Pacho, is the editor in chief of the newspaper El Tiempo. Pacho is abducted from his car and taken to a house in Bogotá. Unknown to Pacho, he narrowly escapes death in January, when Marina Montoya is killed instead of him. Toward the end of his captivity, Pacho plans a prison breakout, and his failure to do so leads to thoughts of suicide. Pacho is released a few hours after Maruja, on May 20.
Dr. Julio César Turbay
As president of Colombia, Dr. Turbay allowed the extradition to the United States of Colombian nationals for the first time. Along with his close friend Hernando Santos, he makes early efforts to negotiate with Pablo Escobar and free the hostages.
Diana Turbay Quintero
At forty years old, Diana Turbay is a well-known journalist who directs a popular television news show as well as a magazine, both of which she founded. She is also the daughter of former president Julio César Turbay. Diana always held as a central concern the desire to bring peace to her devastated country.
The kidnappers lure Diana with the promise of a meeting with Manuel Pérez, the priest who commands a major guerrilla group. Diana ignored the advice of others and accepted the invitation, most likely because she hoped to open a dialogue on peace between the guerillas and the government. The journal that Diana keeps during her captivity becomes the primary record of this experience; Diana is shot during a police raid on the house in Medellín where she is being held, and she dies soon thereafter.
Alberto Villamizar, Maruja's husband, is a well-known politician, who counts among his friends President César Gaviria. In 1985, as a representative in the legislature, Villamizar helped pass the first national law against drug trafficking. He also stopped passage of a bill introduced by politicians friendly to Escobar that would have removed legislative support for the extradition treaty. As a result of this action, an assassination attempt was made on him in 1986.
Villamizar aggressively pursues the release of his wife and sister. He urges President Gaviria to alter the decree so that Escobar need not fear extradition. As a last resort, he decides to meet with Escobar himself. Although he is unsuccessful in this effort, Father Herrerros is able to serve as his emissary, and eventually, the men secure the hostages' release and Escobar's surrender.
Beatriz Villamizar de Guerrero
Beatriz Villamizar de Guerrero is Maruja's sister-in-law and press assistant at FOCINE. She is abducted solely because she is with Maruja at the time. She is released on February 8, 1991.
Juan Vitta is a writer on Diana Turbay's news team. He sinks into a deep depression during the kidnapping, which leads to a deterioration of his overall health, already compromised because of a prior heart ailment. Because of this, the kidnappers release him on November 26.