Archive for January 10th, 2008

Two Colombain hostages freed at last, as hundreds remain in the hands of the FARC

January 10, 2008

It was a somewhat paradoxical end to the hostage handover by the FARC. Paradoxical, because it was extremely emotional, while at times it seemed totally devoid of any feelings, as the two freed hostages met with the Red Cross helicopters and found themselves free after six years in the hands of the Colombian guerrilla group. There was as much emotion in the farewell to their captors as in the hugs to their relatives, most of whom displayed the joy and tears of a moment they thought at times would never come.

Thus, after much fanfare in the earlier operations, the first named operation “Transparency” aimed at liberating former Colombian Presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt in November and later operation “Enmanuel” in December, a more quiet unnamed operation gave freedom to Clara Rojas and Consuelo Gonzalez, who will try to return to their lives after a six year gap, in which one gave birth in captivity, the other one lost a husband and both missed many family milestones and moments.

Burned twice by his FARC buddies, President Chavez wisely decided not to mobilize himself to the border ,even as news of the hostage exchange reached Caracas, deciding instead to wait for them in Caracas, which at times appeared somewhat unfair to the two women, welcomed with military honors in a city that must not mean much to them, even if their closest relatives were here.

It was a victory at last for Chavez, but mitigated by the earlier failures by the FARC to deliver any hostages, the absence of Enmanuel in the operation, as well as the fact that the delays showed the world the true inhumanity of the FARC, who up to the last minute played once again with the emotions and humanity of the hostages, their families, and the trust Chavez had placed in them as the Venezuelan President had tried to put them in a good light in front of the world.

It was indeed a happy ending, until you realize that there are still between 700 and 3,000 more hostages in the jungles of Colombia, perversely kept in captivity by the FARC, without sometimes even asking for ransom or ever revealing whether they are alive or dead, even as some hostages have been held in captivity for over seven years. In fact, the FARC handed over to the Venezuelan Minister of the Interior proof of life for another eight hostages, only revealed for the simple fact that that the two hostages released today were being held in captivity with them.

Which only shows the cruelty of the guerrilla group, willing to play with the lives of thousands of Colombians, the hostages are after all the lucky ones since they are alive and not dead like thousands murdered by the FARC, who only released a token group and retained for their own purposes Mrs. Betancourt.

So, it was a day of paradox, a sad joy at seeing the two freed hostages, while realizing the meanness and inhumanity that political differences can lead to in a purportedly rational world.