This video from the USA is called No Colombia Free Trade Agreement: Interview with Clara Gomez.
By Bill Van Auken:
Mounting questions about Colombian hostage operation
7 July 2008
As right-wing politicians on three continents basked in the reflected glory of an ostensibly brilliant July 2 rescue of hostages held by Colombia’s FARC (Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia) guerrillas, doubts have surfaced as to the real character of this operation.
The freeing of Ingrid Betancourt, the French-Colombian citizen and former presidential candidate, three US military “contractors” employed by the Northrop Grumman corporation and 11 other hostages has been exploited to refurbish the Bush administration’s discredited Latin American policy, to make a hero out of Alvaro Uribe, the Colombian president implicated in drug trafficking and paramilitary massacres, and to boost the sagging popularity of France’s right-wing president, Nicolas Sarkozy.
Even Senator John McCain, the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee, who staged a visit to Colombia (a fortuitous coincidence?) the day before the hostage release, got in on the act. While in Colombia, he received a briefing from Uribe, enabling him to associate himself with the upcoming operation. …
What all of these figures sought to exploit was the undoubted public sympathy for Betancourt, a mother of two held in the jungle for six years, and the other hostages. In addition, they cast the Colombian operation as a brilliant intelligence coup—described by some as straight out of a Hollywood movie—in the “global war on terror.”
Of course the sympathy generated by government officials and the mass media for Betancourt, not just in Colombia, but in the US, France and throughout Europe, does not extend to many others who have been kidnapped and imprisoned under worse conditions. There is, after all, another place in the Americas where hundreds have been held prisoner for six years, facing torture and brutality after being abducted from their homes. These prisoners, held without charges, have little chance of being similarly rescued, as they are imprisoned by the US military in Guantanamo Bay.
Nor, it should be noted, have the many hundreds of political prisoners languishing in Colombian jails or abducted by the right-wing paramilitary organizations that are intimately tied to the government and the armed forces, received any similar attention. Their social backgrounds are generally quite dissimilar from that of the French-educated Ingrid Betancourt, the daughter of a former government minister and product of the Colombian oligarchy.
As for the operation itself, the comparison to Hollywood may be unintentionally revealing. According to the official story from the Colombian military, intelligence agents succeeded in infiltrating the guerrilla movement and “duping” FARC leaders into believing that elite commandos disguised in Che Guevara T-shirts and military pilots were aid workers, guerrillas and journalists involved in a plan by FARC itself to transfer the hostages by helicopter to another location.
Praise for the operation included the repeated observation that “not a shot was fired.”
That veteran guerrillas would simply turn over the FARC’s most valuable hostages to unknown individuals arriving in a helicopter strains credulity. What makes this account particularly suspect, however, is the entire record of the Colombian military, which hardly calls to mind operations in which “not a shot is fired.” In fact, it has carried out one of the bloodiest campaigns in the hemisphere over the course of decades, fueled over the last 10 years by some $5.4 billion in US military aid.
Between 2002 and 2007, human rights groups documented the extrajudicial killing of nearly 1,000 civilians by the country’s military, as well as another 3,500 murders and disappearances carried out by the right-wing paramilitary units—routinely operating with military support. It was in December 2002 that the Colombian government concluded a ceasefire agreement with the paramilitaries, essentially exonerating them for their crimes, which accounted for the bulk of civilian casualties in the country’s protracted civil war. Nonetheless, the assassinations and massacres have continued.
From Associated Press:
PARIS – Former hostage Ingrid Betancourt urged Colombia’s president and others in her South American country Monday to tone down their “radical, extremist language of hate” toward the leftist rebels who held her captive for six years.