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Surviving Drug Violence in Colombia

Kling graphic
Paula Delgado-Kling takes us inside the drug trade in Colombia, where her brother was kidnapped for ransom.Video.

It’s difficult for most of us to comprehend the cruelty of those who control the drug trade in Colombia and the unspeakable suffering often endured by young people who become ensnared in their illegal activities.


Today, on the Lean to the Left podcast, journalist Paula Delgado-Kling takes us to her homeland, where she examines the life of a young Colombian girl who became a child soldier in the guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces, or the FARC.

Leonor book cover

It’s all in her new book, “Leonor, the Story of a Lost Childhood,” which she’ll share with us in the episode ahead. So, stay with us.


Paula Delgado-Kling holds degrees in comparative literature/French civilizations, international affairs, and creative writing from Brown University, Columbia University, and The New School, respectively.


Leonor, for which she received two grants from the Canadian Council for the Arts, is her first book. Born in Bogota, Colombia and raised in Toronto, Canada, Delgado-Kling now resides in New York City. 


For her book, Paula followed Leonor for 19 years, from just after she became an active FARC member forced into sexual slavery by a commander 34 years her senior, through her rehabilitation and struggle with booze and drugs, to her more recent days as the mother of two girls.


“Leonor” will be published Jan. 23 and is available for pre-order now from Amazon and on her website,

Meet Paula

Paula headshot
Paula Delgado-Kling

In fact, you can meet Paula and attend her readings both in New York City and Coral Gables, Florida.


Her first appearance is Tuesday, Jan 23 - 6-7:30 pm at Shakespeare & Co - 2020 Broadway, Upper West Side, NYC.

Then on Sunday, Jan. 28 Paula will be  at Books & Books 265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables, Florida, starting at 4 p.m.

Surviving Drug Violence in Colombia

Here are some key questions we discussed with Paula as she discussed surviving drug violence in Colombia.

1.  You’re from Colombia, what was your childhood like there?

2.  Why did you leave Colombia?

3.  How did personal experiences in Colombia inform your book about Leonor?

4.  How and when did you meet “Leonor?” She is a real person, right?

5.  What can be done to prevent children from joining guerilla groups in Colombia?

6.  How and why has Colombia failed children?

7.  Why should we in America care?

8.  What can be done to curtail the drug trade in Colombia and its influx into the U.S.?

9.  I’ve had guests on this podcast who have called for legalization of all drugs, from pot, to cocaine, to heroin, essentially saying it’s virtually impossible to control and is resulting in unfair prison sentences and overcrowding of our prisons. How do you feel about that?

10.               What do you hope to achieve with your book?

11.               Tell people where they can find your book and how they can reach out to you as the author.


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