Archive for Colombia

Red Cross Purposes

So much for the discussion about how the efforts of the Red Cross would be hampered by the brilliant rescue of Ingrid Betancourt and friends (a discussion for which I had no patience):

Colombia’s FARC guerrillas have released eight hostages in the first such handover since the rebel group was tricked in a military operation to free Ingrid Betancourt and 14 other captives on July 2, the International Committee of the Red Cross said on Thursday.

The eight Colombians were kidnapped last week by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, while traveling on the country’s northwestern jungle rivers.

Their release to the Red Cross appeared to allay concerns about the organization’s ability to work effectively in Colombia after its symbol was improperly used by the military in the July rescue.

“The operation was made possible through discreet dialogue between the parties concerned,” said Yves Heller, ICRC spokesman in Colombia. “We continue to work as a neutral mediator.”

I’m not sure I would have cared if the ICRC weren’t able to continue as such. While I’m happy that these eight were released (after mere days), it probably had more to do with their uselessness as political bargaining chips than with the ICRC’s tender mercies. Else why would hundreds more remain rotting in the jungles, chained by the neck, unbudged by the ICRC’s “discreet dialogue”?

Evil people do evil things; we can’t blame ourselves for their savagery.

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Lame Libertad

I’m just wondering what about the daring, brilliant, successful rescue mission of the Colombian hostages makes this seem like a good idea:

More than a million Colombians, clad in white and shouting “No more kidnapping,” marked their independence day on Sunday with marches and concerts demanding freedom for hostages still held by leftist rebels.

Demonstrators chanted “Libertad!” — the Spanish word for freedom — in rallies across the Andean nation and in some 40 cities abroad, including Paris, London, Miami, Beijing, Sydney and New York.

It was the second nationwide mobilization this year against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, and its abhorred policy of kidnapping for ransom or political leverage. Latin America’s last major rebel army holds dozens of hostages in Colombian jungle jails, some for more than a decade.

No harm done, sure, and I bet it even felt good. But surely the history of the last decade when compared with the news of the past couple of weeks ought to teach us something about the effectiveness of the two approaches.

I like to feel good, you like to feel good—but so does Ingrid Betancourt. And I’m just saying that no amount of rallies or marches made her feel any better. Given that the conditions of the hundreds of other captives have certainly only worsened since the liberation—if that is possible—I would have thought a little more would be required.


Persnickity Liberals

This is just too much. Are we worrying about not dotting our i’s and crossing our t’s when it comes to the rescue of kidnap victims?

Apparently so:

Colombian military intelligence used the Red Cross emblem in a rescue operation in which leftist guerrillas were duped into handing over 15 hostages, according to unpublished photographs and video viewed by CNN.
Part of the Red Cross emblem is seen on a bib worn by a man involved in the rescue in this official image.

Part of the Red Cross emblem is seen on a bib worn by a man involved in the rescue in this official image.

Photographs of the Colombian military intelligence-led team that spearheaded the rescue, shown to CNN by a confidential military source, show one man wearing a bib with the Red Cross symbol. The military source said the three photos were taken moments before the mission took off to persuade the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia rebels to release the hostages to a supposed international aid group for transport to another rebel area.

Such a use of the Red Cross emblem could constitute a “war crime” under the Geneva Conventions and international humanitarian law and could endanger humanitarian workers in the future, according to international legal expert Mark Ellis, executive director of the International Bar Association.

War crime, eh?

What do you call the animals that abducted people and dragged them around, chained by the neck all those years? Why do we insist on crippling ourselves?

- Aggie

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CNN On Terrorists In Columbia

CNN can’t quite call the Columbian terrorists… terrorists. Instead they are “terrorists”, as in this headline, Freed American: FARC ‘terrorists,’ not revolutionaries

One of three American hostages freed last week from Colombian rebels blasted the leftist group publicly Monday, saying, “You guys are terrorists.”
Marc Gonsalves says FARC, which held him captive, uses revolutionary claims to cover criminal aims.

Marc Gonsalves also warned that because of the rescue, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia probably will retaliate against other hostages.

“Right now, they’re being punished because we got rescued,” Gonsalves said.

Questions to all the leftists who read our blog: Is it George Bush’s fault that the people who are still in captivity are being “punished”? Or is the fault of the terrorists? Are these guys terrorists? Or are they freedom fighters? Perhaps boy scouts?

- Aggie