December 16, 2019

Journalist and Georgetown Alumna Releases Book of Love Stories from Colombian Conflict

Vanessa de la Torre’s (G’11) first book, Love Stories in War Fields, tells the real stories of six women who fell in love during the armed conflict in Colombia in different times and contexts.

Vanessa de la Torre
Vanessa de la Torre

“These stories are a way to talk about the horrors of the Colombian war,” said de la Torre. “As a reporter, I have traveled all around Colombia looking for stories and people who would let me tell the history of my country in an ‘easy way.’ In a way we all understand. Love is just a tool for that.”

A journalist and reporter from Cali, Colombia, de la Torre is currently an anchor on Noticias Caracol, a Colombian newscast, as well as a writer for El País de Cali and director of the Mesa Blu segment of Blu Radio.

De la Torre returned to Georgetown for a conversation with Fr. Matthew Carnes, S.J., about her new book. The event was sponsored by the Center for Latin American Studies and the Latin American Leadership Program.

Love Amidst Conflict

Love stories may seem like an unconventional way to explain war, but de la Torre believes it is an effective way to access and process the conflict.

One story she tells is about a man and a woman who were part of the inner circle of Alfonso Cano, a highly ranked leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). However, the story is about more than just their relationship.

“Their story is also the story of the daily life inside the FARC: the combats, the war, the survival, the kidnappings, and the child soldier requirements,” she said. 

De la Torre’s two daughters, who are five and seven years old, also influenced her decision to write a book about the conflict in Colombia.

“I work all the time in the news, on the radio, writing articles…but I felt that nothing I did was sufficient to tell my girls about the country I was living in—a very complicated country,” she said. “I wrote the book thinking about my girls and how to explain the war in Colombia to them in a way they can understand.”

Vanessa de la Torre in conversation with Fr. Matthew Carnes, S.J.
Vanessa de la Torre in conversation with Fr. Matthew Carnes, S.J.

Time on the Hilltop 

De la Torre graduated from Georgetown in 2011 with a master’s degree in Latin American Studies.

“I learned a lot about Argentina, Chile, Brazil, and Venezuela, which is what I was interested in,” said de la Torre. “Now seeing all the things that are happening, say in Argentina and Chile, I’ve realized what I read and what I learned—what democracy is and what it is not.”

At Georgetown, de la Torre found freedom to explore her interests under the mentorship of experts.

“Each person allowed me to do whatever I wanted with my head and my career,” she said. “No one ever told me that I had to do something; they would just guide me.”

Vanessa de la Torre (G’11): ‘Love Stories in War Fields’” took place on December 5, 2019, in the Mortara Center.