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Breaking News: Colombia - FARC's Fatal Blow

A Council on Hemispheric Affairs Press Release


FARC's Fatal Blow

In yet another blow to Colombia's leftist guerrilla group Las Fuerzas Armadas de Colombia (FARC), former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt and fourteen other hostages were freed in a brilliant military operation on 2 July 2008. Betancourt was taken captive six years ago and was, for the duration of that time, the FARC's highest profile hostage. Among the other detainees rescued are three American defense contractors and members of the Colombian security forces.

According to Colombia's hardline Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos, whose star is very much in ascendancy in a movie-script fashion, Colombian intelligence forces managed to infiltrate the FARC's Secretariat and intercept the transfer of key hostages from one area of the country to another. The operation, termed jaque, after the Spanish word "check," as in "check mate," was the culmination of a year's worth of preparation. The rescue of the hostages represents a huge victory for the Uribe government and yet another in a series of crucial defeats for FARC forces. It may also signal the successful impact of the hundreds of millions of dollars that have been pumped annually into the Colombian military by the U.S. under Plan Colombia. Such funds already have been used to persuade hundreds, if not thousands, of FARC fighters to demobilize and certainly provided a strong motivation for the murder of Ivan Ríos (for which his renegade personal bodyguard was reward ed $2.5 million).

Full article...

This analysis was prepared by Research Associates Erina Uozumi, Jessica Bryant, Elizabeth Reavey, Chris Sweeney, Michael Katz, and Aviva Elzufon


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