As Ingrid Betancourt is freed, a victory for some, a defeat for others, but in the end a victory for civilized behavior

July 6, 2008

This post was generously placed by Daniel in his blog when I was unable to post remotely during my travels. I thought the release of Ingrid Betancourt was too significant to skip without a post.

As Ingrid Betancourt is
freed today, Alvaro Uribe scores a huge victory and Hugo Chavez loses big,
as his bid to gain worldwide fame, helps Colombia defeat the FARC and the
most symbolic hostage is out. This puts the FARC in a corner, where it
makes no sense anymore to hold the remainder hostages and their decades old
terrorists war, which turned into drug trafficking and kidnapping to
support the effort, is over.

While the news is great, as long held
Betancourt is finally freed in good health, it throws some uncertainty over
the remainder hostages, as the former Presidential candidate represented
the most visible hostage the world was ready to fight for. Thus, there will
be a period of uncertainty for the remainder people suffering the horror of
years in captivity, treated badly and without good medical care.

Its already been hours since the surprising rescue by the Colombian
Government and there has been no reaction by the Venezuelan Government.
Perhaps Chavez is calling Cuba to map out a strategy for his response,
perhaps he is depressed, but is certainly a bad day for him. The Venezuelan
President tried to play a high stakes game, the way he has tied with us in
the last ten years, but he had a more formidable opponent, used to playing
tough and they actually used him to raise the communications levels among
the FARC commanders and in the end Uribe got the upper hand on both the
FARC and the Venezuelan President.

French President Sarkozy is
another winner as he made the liberation a point of honor and made the
media and his country focus on it.

But most of all, it is a great
day for Ingrid Betancourt, the three American hostages and the eleven
Colombian hostages who may now attempt to escape the horror they have lived
through and regain some semblance of their lives.

The world also
has to learn from recent events, not to sympathize with terrorists, not to
defend them. Uribe was painted as the bad guy too many times in his fight
to return peace to his country, while the FARC kidnapped and traded drugs
to survive. The terrorist criminals of the FARC should be given one last
chance by the world to give up the remainder hostages and return to
civilian life. If they dont, the world should back the Colombian
President.

It is not a matter of ideology, it is simply a
defense of humanity and peoples rights.

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