[Marxism] FARC leaders were paid millions to free hostages: Swiss radio

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Fri Jul 4 08:37:49 MDT 2008

(Well, there may have been a bit more to this operation than was
described in the initial gloating press releases about the events.)

FARC leaders were paid millions to free hostages: Swiss radio
07.04.08, 9:19 AM ET


PARIS (Thomson Financial) - Leaders of the Colombian FARC rebel
movement were paid millions of dollars to free Colombian politician
Ingrid Betancourt and 14 other hostages, Swiss radio said on Friday,
quoting 'a reliable source'.

The 15 hostages released on Wednesday by the Colombian army 'were in
reality ransomed for a high price, and the whole operation afterwards
was a set-up,' the radio's French-language channel said.

Saying the United States, which had three of its citizens among those
freed, was behind the deal, it put the price of the ransom at some
$20 million.

The radio said its source was 'close to the events, reliable and
tested many times in recent years.'

The report added said the wife of one of the hostages' guards was the
go-between, having been arrested by the Colombian army. She was
released to return to the guerrillas, where she persuaded her husband
to change sides.

Switzerland, along with France and Spain, has been mediating with the
FARC on behalf of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.

According to the official version of Wednesday's operation, a
Colombian army intelligence agent infiltrated the FARC and tricked
the rebels into believing their top leader had sent a helicopter to
pick up the hostages.

Colombian soldiers posing as FARC guerrillas flew the hostages from a
jungle hideout where they had been assembled before revealing their

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said the rescue 'was conceived by
the Colombians and executed by the Colombians with our full support,'
while implying that Washington had provided intelligence and even
operational help.

U.S. ambassador to Bogota William Brownfield also told CNN that
Washington had provided 'technical support,' while Colombian Defence
Minister Juan Manuel Santos insisted it was a '100 percent Colombian'

The top U.S. military officer for Latin America, Admiral Jim
Stavridis, head of United States Southern Command, said the rescue of
Americans Thomas Howes, Marc Gonsalves and Keith Stansell had been 'a
priority of this command'.

The three were seized by the rebels as they conducted an anti-drug
mission for the Pentagon in February 2003.

The operation enhanced Uribe's prestige as he seeks a third term in
office, and enabled him to stick to his line of no talks with the
rebels without the hostages being freed, the radio noted.

tf.TFN-Europe_newsdesk at thomsonreuters.com

     Los Angeles, California
     Editor-in-Chief, CubaNews
     "Cuba - Un Paraíso bajo el bloqueo"

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