Thursday, July 3, 2008
INGRID BETANCOURT FREED FROM LEFT GUERILLAS
"FIRST FREEDOM MUST BE RESPECTED, THIS IS COLUMBIA'S MESSAGE TO THE WORLD," SAYS INGRID BETANCOURT
By Manuwant Choudhary
This is a script better than any blockbuster hollywood film you may have watched. A Presidential canditate Ingrid Betancourt, founder of the Green Party Oxigeno de-Columbia, kidnaped six years ago while campaigning in a rebel-held region, is finally rescued from leftist Farc guerillas, fighting to overthrow the Columbian government for the past 40 years, in just 12 minutes!
The military operation `Check' as in `checkmate' takes months of planning but they succeed in penetrating the highest levels of the Farc guerillas and convince Farc Front leader alias `Cesar' to put the hostages onto a helicopter saying they were to be taken to the guerillas top leader `Alfonso Cano'.
BBC reports say a military helicopter painted in white and claiming to belong to an NGO lands in the forest, rescuers wearing "Che" Guevara T-shirts convince the leader to board the helicopter and soon after take-off the leader `Cesar' is forced onto the ground, tied and stripped naked. The rescuers then tell the hostages, "We are from the army. You are free."
Ingrid Betancourt says, "We jumped so hard with such joy that the helicopter nearly went down."
14 other hostages including 3 American hostages were also released.
Columbian President Alvaro Uribe, whose father was also killed by the Farc rebels, thanked his military personnel for the mission.
But General Freddy Padilla, Commander-in-chief, said, "I am not a journalist to put things so simply like the headline you will see `Freed without a gunshot'. I would say it was a very complex operation. I would like to thank the family members of our personnel who undertook such a risky mission. Our plan was to penetrate and infiltrate..."
Credit was also given to French President Nicolas Sarkozy who made `Freeing Ingrid Betancourt' a part of his foreign policy.
And when news came of their mother's release Ingrid's children addressed the press along with French President Nicolas Sarkozy before flying back to Columbia to reunite with their mother after 6 years.
An airport tarmac never looked so beautiful as the mother kissed her children again and again, never forgetting the remaining 700 hostages in Columbia's jungles. "We will go on a walk so that all hostages are released."
"I survived in the jungles only because I wanted to see my beautiful children again."
"Look at my son. Look at what he is wearing. I asked him what he was wearing and he says its Fashion!"
And Ingrid's 22-old-daughter, Melanie, said, "We always hoped it would not be a military operation. This was not a military operation, it was an intelligence operation."
BBC says Farc's leadership is in disarray as in March a top leader Raul Reyes was killed when his rebel camp was bombed. A week later another top rung leader Ivan Rios was killed by his own bodyguard, who claimed the bounty offered by the government.
And finally, Farc's founder leader 78-year-old Manuel Marulanda, died of a heart attack.