Colombian Hostage Rescue Boosts Uribe

With a plan that no doubt will quickly make it as a plot for a film about this improbable rescue, the Colombian military rescued former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt and three Americans who worked for contractors as well as 11 Colombian soldiers from the clutches of the terrorist/revolutionary group FARC:


In what Colombian officials called an elaborate ruse, commandos deceived a rebel unit entrusted with the prized hostages into turning them over in a grassy field deep in southeastern Guaviare province. The prisoners, who included 11 Colombian soldiers, were then flown to freedom in what amounted to a powerful blow to a fast-waning insurgency.

By late afternoon, the hostages were transported to the main military air base in Bogota, the Colombian capital, where they were reunited with relatives as a military band played the national anthem.

Betancourt, wearing a floppy jungle hat, the kind of flimsy rubber boots worn by guerrillas, and a white flower in her braided hair, stepped off a plane and into the waiting arms of her mother, Yolanda Pulecio. She then addressed well-wishers in comments carried on national television, praising Colombia's military for "an impeccable operation."

"God, this is a miracle. Such a perfect operation is unprecedented," said Betancourt, 46, an author and former presidential candidate taken prisoner by rebels in 2002.

The Americans, who had been held longer than any other American captives around the world, had been held by FARC who were hoping to exchange them for rebel prisoners in Colombia.

Betancourt, who holds dual French-Colombian citizenship, had been the subject of international efforts to free her for years. Her rescue was perhaps the biggest coup of the day as the Colombian military not only carried out a picture perfect operation, but also made FARC look ridiculous, weak, and on the way out at the same time.

The operation will also boost the popularity of America's best friend in the region, Colombian President Álvaro Uribe whose efforts against FARC in recent months have brought the insurgency to its knees. Many rebels are simply giving up and going home while the military has taken a toll of high level FARC officials and officers. It is an insurgency on the wane.

Just good news all around from Colombia.
With a plan that no doubt will quickly make it as a plot for a film about this improbable rescue, the Colombian military rescued former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt and three Americans who worked for contractors as well as 11 Colombian soldiers from the clutches of the terrorist/revolutionary group FARC:


In what Colombian officials called an elaborate ruse, commandos deceived a rebel unit entrusted with the prized hostages into turning them over in a grassy field deep in southeastern Guaviare province. The prisoners, who included 11 Colombian soldiers, were then flown to freedom in what amounted to a powerful blow to a fast-waning insurgency.

By late afternoon, the hostages were transported to the main military air base in Bogota, the Colombian capital, where they were reunited with relatives as a military band played the national anthem.

Betancourt, wearing a floppy jungle hat, the kind of flimsy rubber boots worn by guerrillas, and a white flower in her braided hair, stepped off a plane and into the waiting arms of her mother, Yolanda Pulecio. She then addressed well-wishers in comments carried on national television, praising Colombia's military for "an impeccable operation."

"God, this is a miracle. Such a perfect operation is unprecedented," said Betancourt, 46, an author and former presidential candidate taken prisoner by rebels in 2002.

The Americans, who had been held longer than any other American captives around the world, had been held by FARC who were hoping to exchange them for rebel prisoners in Colombia.

Betancourt, who holds dual French-Colombian citizenship, had been the subject of international efforts to free her for years. Her rescue was perhaps the biggest coup of the day as the Colombian military not only carried out a picture perfect operation, but also made FARC look ridiculous, weak, and on the way out at the same time.

The operation will also boost the popularity of America's best friend in the region, Colombian President Álvaro Uribe whose efforts against FARC in recent months have brought the insurgency to its knees. Many rebels are simply giving up and going home while the military has taken a toll of high level FARC officials and officers. It is an insurgency on the wane.

Just good news all around from Colombia.