Monday, July 07, 2008

Colombian Doublecross

A few minutes with the Google leaves the Betancourt rescue story in tatters.

Did the Colombian government push aside European hostage negotiators to take control of the impending Betancourt release, hog the credit, and spin it as a rescue and a victory for counter-terrorism instead of negotiated piece of ransom-for-hostages?

If so, it wouldn't be the first time.

From Venezuela Analysis, November 30 of last year:

Caracas, November 30, 2007 (venezuelanalysis.com) - Colombia announced today that authorities arrested three people presumed to belong to urban militias of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in Bogotá late Thursday, who were found in possession of five videos and seven letters and a digital memory card with photographs demonstrating proof of life of five civilian and eleven military hostages held by the FARC, including French Colombian citizen Ingrid Betancourt and three US defense contractors. The videos and other documents showing proof of life were addressed to Colombian Senator Piedad Cordoba and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

The son of Ingrid Betancourt, Lorenzo Betancourt, said the proof that his mother is alive is thanks to the mediation of President Chavez. However, he expressed concern over her health and asked that Chavez's mediation be renewed to secure her release as soon as possible.

The proof of life of the hostages appears only a week after Colombian president Alvaro Uribe unilaterally terminated the mediating role of Chavez and Cordoba, who were working to secure the release of the hostages and had assured that "proof of life would arrive any minute."

In an interview with Telesur, Codroba, who is now under investigation by the Supreme Court for "crimes of treason against the homeland and collusion," defended her role and said that the proof of life of the hostages demonstrates that the mediation of herself and the Venezuelan president was being undertaken with complete seriousness and responsibility. [emph. added]

Let's recap.

Chavez and Cordoba successfully negotiated with FARC to obtain proof of life for Betancourt.

Just as everything was going so well, Uribe unilaterally terminates Chavez and Cordoba's role as mediators, seizes control of the operation, arrests the FARC representatives delivering proof of life, and spins the double cross as a “war on terror” victory. For good measure, Cordoba is investigated for treason.

Compare that with the present case, where it is alleged that European negotiators struck a deal with FARC, the Colombian government shouldered aside the negotiators, seized the rescue helicopters, arrested a couple of FARC guys, and spun the whole operation as a repudiation of the Chavez approach to defusing tensions with FARC. For good measure, Jean Pierre Gondart, one of the key European negotiators, is accused of being a FARC bagman.

Clearly the release of Betancourt (as opposed to rescue) has been brewing for several months, as this interesting report from April 2008 on Colombia Reports makes clear:

France is to launch a fresh bid Monday in its campaign to free Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt, but here's disagreement with the Colombian government about the involvement of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.

Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner will meet Colombian President Álvaro Uribe in Bogotá before visiting Ecuador and Venezuela, whose left-wing President Hugo Chávez has sought to play a mediating role in hostage releases.

Kouchner “will re-evaluate the hostage situation with the three heads of state and stress the urgency of a humanitarian solution leading to the freeing of those held by the FARC,” the French foreign ministry said in a statement.

Uribe expressed that there's no place for Chávez in possible negotions, after French President Sarkozy Thursday asked the Venezuelan President to be available for negotiations. “The only institutions that can help negotiations are the Catholic church and European delegates,” the President said on LA FM. “We love to talk to the French Foreign Ministe, but we can only repeat this point of view” he said later, after meeting the country's High Commissioner of Peace.
...
The FARC rejected one French plan to release Betancourt this month, expressing annoyance with Uribe's handling of the proposed handover.[emph. added]


So. There was already one deal to release Betancourt back in April that got screwed up by Uribe.


Monsters and Critics has more on the June deal, with indications that at the same time FARC was negotiating through the Europeans, some FARC guys were negotiating with the Colombian army:

According to the report, one of two FARC commanders in charge of the hostages - they are named Aguilar and Gafas - opened indirect contact with Colombian authorities on March 20 to ask for details about the offer, which involved money and asylum in either Venezuela or France.

As sources for its report MediaPart cited local journalists and close associates of Ingrid Betancourt's former party, Oxygeno Verge (Oxygen Green Party), which ceased to function in 2005 due largely to Betancourt's abduction.

Last week, MediaPart and the Swiss radio station Radio Suisse Romande had reported that the FARC released the hostages in exchange for the payment of a large ransom.

The negotiations between those who controlled the hostages and the Colombian Army were 'particularly tortuous,' MediaPart reported, and succeeded largely because of the intervention of a Catholic priest who had already served as intermediary between authorities and rebels.

After agreement was reached, the rebels were able to procure medicines and food for the hostages, which explains Betancourt's surprisingly good condition after six-and-a-half years in jungle captivity.

MediaPart said the FARC commanders were eager to improve the health of their hostages because they were afraid that they would be deprived of their part of the bargain if they delivered them in bad physical condition.


In June, Uribe had publicly announced he would provide an overseas haven without threat of extradition for any FARC members who assisted in Betancourt's release, which dovetails with the report of asylum for those involved in the release.

At the time, observers wondered why Uribe would go public on such a sensitive matter. Apparently he was sending a message to renegade FARC members ready to deal.

Note Uribe's insistence on dealing through the Catholic Church and not Chavez, and compare the central role reportedly played by a Catholic priest in the MediaPart report.

And further note that provision of health care to the ailing Betancourt while in FARC hands had already been the subject of in-depth negotiation, with France having prepositioned a medical jet in anticipation of her release in March.

Clearly, FARC was anticipating a negotiated release and was providing Betancourt with health care and better food so she wouldn't emerge an emaciated scarecrow and an advertisement for FARC cruelty.

It looks like that arrangement wasn't to Uribe's liking, presumably because it would provide greater stature to FARC and the European intermediaries.

In the realm of speculation, either Uribe muscled in on the negotiations between the European team and the FARC leadership and took over the operation, or the Colombian army convinced a couple of FARC renegades that it was a better idea for them to glom onto some ransom, get asylum in France, and push a couple of gormless FARC suckers on the helicopters to take the fall so the Colombian government could crow about the brilliant rescue.

I would have to say the brilliant rescue narrative is pretty much DOA.

What's left is ransom-for-hostages or bribery-for-hostages...and a Colombian double-cross.

5 comments:

jmp said...

As a liberal and a Colombian I find your gullibility laughable. The FARC are criminals, not left wing crusaders.

Rita2000 said...

Can someone please tell me what is so great about Ingrid Betancourt? I mean, ever since she was freed last week she has constantly been in the spotlight (you hear next to nothing about the other hostages). And now she's giving advice to Alvaro Uribe and the Colombian government on what SHE thinks they should do regarding the FARC and not use "hate" language, etc. What has Ingrid Betancourt accomplished? What has she done that is so great? My understanding is that back in 2002, she decided to play the hero and march into the jungle to negotiate with the guerrillas - and was dumb enough to get kidnapped in the process! Now France wishes to honor her with Legion of Honour medal from President Nicolas Sarkozy next week! Tell me, does she really deserve this?

sky said...

If you are a beginner RC helicopter pilot, then the best power source for you is electric. Electrically powered chopper engines are still very fast, but yet still quiet, and can maneuver just as good a full sized fuel powered one! Another main attraction to electric helicopters is the fact that you don't have to deal with messy fuels or with tuning the engine at all. Plus fuel cost money and electricity is much cheaper. If you are a beginner then I definitely recommend that you get an electric powered RC helicopter and then progress your way up to a glow powered one. Psychology research at Hamilton’s McMaster University shows gamers who spend more than four hours a week playing action video games such as Medal of Honor and Half Life 2 have a surprising array of skills ranging from quick reaction times and good spatial reasoning to a strong awareness of their surroundings and better short-term memory. Ultra-Light weightled Tactical Light Uses Power led to Deliver 80 Lumens. Individuals who play action video games on a regular basis - more then four hours a week -appear to be very good at an astonishing variety of skills, said Karle.

wow gold said...

Weekends to peopleig2tmean that they can have a two-day wowgold4europe good rest. For example, people gameusdcan go out to enjoy themselves or get meinwowgoldtogether with relatives and friends to talk with each storeingameother or watch interesting video tapes with the speebiewhole family.
Everyone spends agamegoldweekends in his ownmmoflyway. Within two days,some people can relax themselves by listening to music, reading novels,or watchingogeworld films. Others perhaps are more active by playing basketball,wimming ormmorpgvipdancing. Different people have different gamesavorrelaxations.
I often spend weekends withoggsalemy family or my friends. Sometimes my parents take me on a visit to their old friends. Sometimesgamersell I go to the library to study or borrow some books tommovirtexgain much knowledge. I also go to see various exhibition to broadenrpg tradermy vision. An excursion to seashore or mountain resorts is my favorite way of spending weekends. Weekends are always enjoyable for me.
igxe swagvaultoforu wowgold-usaignmax wowgoldlivebrogame thsaleGoldRockUbrogameswagvaultgoldsoonoforuigxethsale

J&D said...

網頁設計,網頁設計公司,最新消息,訪客留言,網站導覽
情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品
色情遊戲,寄情築園小遊戲,情色文學,一葉情貼圖片區,情人視訊網,辣妹視訊,情色交友,成人論壇,情色論壇,愛情公寓,情色,舊情人,情色貼圖,色情聊天室,色情小說,做愛,做愛影片,性愛

免費視訊聊天室,aio交友愛情館,愛情公寓,一葉情貼圖片區,情色貼圖,情色文學,色情聊天室,情色小說,情色電影,情色論壇,成人論壇,辣妹視訊,視訊聊天室,情色視訊,免費視訊,免費視訊聊天,視訊交友網,視訊聊天室,視訊美女,視訊交友,視訊交友90739,UT聊天室,聊天室,豆豆聊天室,尋夢園聊天室,聊天室尋夢園,080聊天室,080苗栗人聊天室,女同志聊天室,上班族聊天室,小高聊天室
AV,AV女優
視訊,影音視訊聊天室,視訊交友
視訊,影音視訊聊天室,視訊聊天室,視訊交友,視訊聊天,視訊美女,視訊辣妹,免費視訊聊天室
自慰器,自慰器