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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 06:04 PM
Original message
Betancourt meets with Venezuela's Chavez
Source: Associated Press

Dec 8, 5:59 PM EST
Betancourt meets with Venezuela's Chavez

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) -- Former Colombian hostage Ingrid Betancourt has met with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as part of her efforts to gain support from Latin American leaders for the release of Colombia's rebel-held hostages.

State television footage shows Betancourt and Chavez chatting at the presidential palace during the during the sixth leg of a regional tour to seek support for efforts to free hostages held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

The former hostage also visited Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru.

Betancourt was rescued last July after being held captive for six years.




Read more: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/L/LT_VENEZUELA_BET...
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 06:04 PM
Response to Original message
1. President Chvez meets with Ingrid Betancourt
CARACAS, Monday December 08, 2008 | Update 2'
President Chvez meets with Ingrid Betancourt

Venezuela's President Hugo Chvez welcomed on Monday at Miraflores presidential palace former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, who was held hostage by the rebel Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) for more than six years.

Foreign Minister Nicols Maduro received and had a brief talk with Betancourt while she waited for President Chvez, reported state-run news agency ABN.

This is Betancourt's first visit to Venezuela after being rescued by the Colombian army on July 2nd, 2008 during the "Operation Check."

Ending 2007, the Venezuelan president strived to get the release of Betancourt and other hostages of the FARC. That time, the Venezuelan government succeeded in the release of seven people, including Betancourt's running mate Clara Rojas.

http://english.eluniversal.com/2008/12/08/en_pol_esp_pr...
Opposition newspaper
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 06:32 AM
Response to Original message
2. I wouldn't mind being a fly on the wall in THAT conversation...
Here's my take on it. On Dec 1, 2007, Donald Rumsfeld wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post in which he said that Chavez's efforts to get FARC hostages released were "not welcome in Colombia." They had been the week before. The Bushwhack tool in Colombia, President of the Well Off, Alvaro Uribe, had asked Chavez to negotiate with the FARC for hostage releases; Chavez had proceeded to do so; several hostages were supposed to be released to Chavez that weekend (12/1/07); the Colombian military bombed the hostages' location, as they were in route to their freedom, sending them on a 20 mile hike back into the jungle, to safety (in captivity). Not coincidentally, Uribe publicly withdrew his request of Chavez just before Rumsfeld's op-ed. Clearly Rumsfeld--retired from slaughtering Iraqis for their oil--was working on Oil War II-South America, and Uribe was either caught in the middle, or complicit. (I favor complicit, given subsequent events.)

The hostages' families, human rights groups, and numerous world leaders (for instance, the president of France--hostage Betancourt is a French-Colombian dual citizen and former Colombian presidential candidate) begged Chavez not to give up. The FARC figured out how to get hostages to him, and the Chavez negotiations resulted in a total of six hostages released during the Dec 07-Feb 08 period. The project was a success, and bode well for a peaceful end to the 40+ year Colombian civil war. This, of course, was not what Rumsfeld had wanted. He had hoped to hand Chavez a diplomatic disaster, with dead hostages.

Plan B for starting Oil War II was to kill the peace-minded FARC guerrilla commander, Raul Reyes, and end the Chavez diplomatic success and all hopes for peace, with a bombing/raid on Reyes' temporary camp, just inside Ecuador's border, set up by Reyes as a safe haven from which to release Betancourt and others (likely because of the perils of releasing hostages across the northern Colombia/Venezuela border). French, Spanish and Swiss envoys flew to Ecuador to receive Betancourt from the FARC, notified the Colombian government of their intention, and were on route to Reyes' camp when they were warned that it was going to be bombed and everybody killed. That is what happened on March 1, 2008. The news story is that Colombia, using US high tech surveillance (Reyes' alleged use of a satellite phone), pinpointed his position, bombed the site (using 5 to 10 US "smart bombs"), then sent Colombian troops across the border to shoot any survivors. 25 people--including Reyes, several Mexican students (apparently visiting to participate in the humanitarian mission), and at least one Ecuadoran citizen (but no hostages) were slaughtered. The Ecuadoran military reported finding bodies in their pajamas shot in the back. They had all been asleep. (Later, the US role became clearer--the whole thing was very likely orchestrated from the US embassy 'war room' in Bogota, and US planes from the Manta, Ecuador, US "war on drugs" air base were more than likely used to drop the bombs. How they pinpointed Reyes' location is still unclear, since it is very unlikely, indeed, that Reyes, a top guerrilla commander with some twenty years experience, would use a satellite phone and remain at that location.

This slaughter was perpetrated without the knowledge or permission of the president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa. He broke off diplomatic relations with Colombia, and sent military battalions to reinforce his borders. Chavez did the same--reinforcing Venezuela's northern border with Colombia. The region was poised for war.

There ensued a diplomatic brouhaha, with meetings of the Rio Group (an all-Latin American--no US--conflict resolution group, precursor to the Union of South American Nations, UNASUR--the new South American "Common Market," formalized later in the year), and the OAS. Colombia was unanimously condemned by the Rio Group, and also by the OAS, but with the US abstaining. Colombia admitted wrongfully violating Ecuador's territory and promised never to do it again. Lula da Silva, president of Brazil, called Chavez "the great peacemaker," for his role in preventing a war. (Rafael Correa had only been in office for a year. He was furious at Colombia. Chavez, a more experienced hand, saw a war trap, and pulled them both back from it. That's how I read it.)

But this was not the end of the incident. Uribe began leaking alleged emails from a laptop computer (later computerS) that he claimed Colombia had seized from the bombed out Reyes camp, and making wild claims, for instance, that Chavez was helping the FARC obtain a dirty bomb, and that Chavez and Correa were either giving money to the FARC or taking money from them (were "terrorist lovers," in other words). It has now been established, fairly certainly, that there were no email files in these "miracle laptops" (another oddity--would an experienced guerrilla commander send highly sensitive messages via email?). The whole thing began to stink to high heaven.

Another player in these unfolding events was Defense Minister Santos of Colombia, who possibly has ambitions for a military dictatorship of Colombia, and may consider Uribe (who has maintained a very thin veil of democracy in Colombia) as a rival. Is he the one, working with Rumsfeld, who set Chavez up and tried to kill the first group of hostages that Chavez got released? Is he the one who is conspiring with the fascist elements in Venezuela's oil-rich northern province of Zulia, on a secession scheme (a civil war), for regaining global corporate predator (Exxon Mobil et al) control of Venezuela's oil? Interestingly, Uribe, who clearly acted as a Bushwhack tool--for instance, by inviting Chavez to negotiate with the FARC, and in the "miracle laptop" psyops campaign--several months later visited Chavez, and held a press conference with him, full of brotherly love and forgiveness, at which they announced cooperative projects (such as a new railroad linking their countries). Santos publicly criticized this meeting, and then went to Washington seeking more military aid for Colombia (--already the recipient of $6 BILLION in military aid from the Bushwhacks).

Then came the high profile, dashing, 007-style 'rescue' of Ingrid Betancourt from the FARC guerrillas, splashed all over the corpo/fascist 'news' media--with news reports inadvertently (I think) revealing the "war room" setup at the US embassy in Colombia. (The US ambassador, and Colombian officials, watched the whole 'rescue' in a live video feed from the field, inside the embassy.)

Central also to these events is the Bushwhacks' promotion of the US "free trade" deal with Colombia, which has been stalled in Congress by labor Democrats who object to the slaughter of thousands of union leaders in Colombia, by rightwing death squads with close ties to the government and the military. This was the main focus of Rumsfeld's 12/1/07 op-ed ("The Smart Way to Defeat Tyrants Like Chavez"), although he also urges "swift action" by the US in support of "friends and allies" in South America--probably meaning military support of the planned fascist insurrections in Bolivia, Venezuela and Ecuador. (The insurrection--riots and murders--went forward in Bolivia, in September, and was defeated by rather "swift action" by UNASUR, which had only just been formalized, and by Evo Morales' cool head and great popularity in Bolivia.)

Which brings us to the US presidential election. The appointment by Barack Obama of Hillary Clinton as Sec of State, and Eric Holder as Attorney General, and other actions, tell me that Obama wants the Colombia 'free trade' deal. But they have to clean up Colombia's act to get it through Congress. And this is why Ingrid Betancourt's recent travels all over South America, and her visit to Chavez, is so interesting. I think she will be the means for achieving that purpose. Uribe--hit with numerous scandals (most recently, a horrid financial pyramid scheme that bilked thousands of small investors of their money, with apparent involvement by Uribe's sons)--is likely going to fail at his latest effort (in the first, he used bribery) to get Colombia's constitution changed, so he can run for president again. He is tainted in numerous ways--the former go-to guy for the Medellin Cartel, lately the go-to guy for the Bush Cartel; some fifty of his political cohorts, including relatives, under investigation, or in jail, for ties to the death squads, etc.; Bush's pal, probably his cocaine dealer (sorry!). VERY tainted.

Obama said, during the campaign, that he opposed the Colombian "free trade" deal, and held up the Peru "free trade" deal as a model. The Peru "free trade" deal puts labor and environmental protections ON PAPER, but these are NOT being implemented in Peru, where the corrupt government of Alan Garcia has been hit by serious labor and campesino unrest, and has a 20% approval rating (as bad as Bush's). But all our corpo/fascists want is the APPEARANCE of fairness--a way to plunder resources, and exploit workers, that can be "sold" via the corpo/fascist media to a brainwashed public. Obama--whom I think is intelligent and has a good heart--can easily be destroyed by the malevolent global corporate predators who rule over us, and is walking a tightrope (or a plank?) between what most people want and need, and what the corpo/fascists demand: restoration of their looting expeditions in Latin America, which have been severely curtailed by the likes of Hugo Chavez, Rafael Correa and Evo Morales, in the great leftist democracy movement that has swept the continent. As the South Americans achieve democracy and sovereign control of their own affairs, there are fewer and fewer plundering grounds left. Colombia is one of them. It is a must-do for any President of the US who wants to survive. And it's my guess that Ingrid Betancourt will be the means. She is being groomed to become president of Colombia.

This could have some very good aspects to it--especially if she manages a peace treaty with the FARC. (I'd bet that that was the substance of her discussions with Chavez.) God knows Colombia needs peace, after 40+ years of death squads, militarization and civil war. The bad aspects would be yet more environmental destruction, and outsourcing of our own jobs to cheap labor markets, in Peru and Colombia, and wherever else Exxon Mobil, Monsanto and brethren gain more foothold in South America, and possibly, weakening of South America's resolve as to self-rule, independence and sovereignty. This could lead to Oil War II later--if it doesn't get triggered in the immediate future (which is still possible). It also has implications in Central America and the Caribbean (where a leftist democracy movement is in progress). To sum up, will Ingrid Betancourt become the "Bill Clinton" of Colombia and South America--the means of re-establishing corporate rule in the region, weakening democracy, and preparing the way for another corporate resource war?

There is a contrary tide--the tide of democracy and independence--that is very strong in South America. The general political context there is quite different from the context here. The South Americans have tasted freedom and self-rule. They have emerged from fascist dictatorship and neoliberal ruin, and won't easily be dominated and exploited again. We have yet to emerge from those conditions. We are, indeed, right now, undergoing the final looting (I hope it is the final looting), and it is doubtful that our new, young "good emperor" will be able to do much about the kind of suffering, here, that countries like Argentina, Bolivia and Venezuela suffered a decade ago, with near total financial destruction by rightwing elites in connivance with the World Bank/IMF and assorted global corporate predators. So, if Betancourt is "the one" (the corporate savior), she will be under great pressure not to go the way of Clintonism, or not as far. She will be operating in a VERY leftist context--amidst leaders who have just formed a South American "Common Market" and are discussing a common currency. Also, she may be more Europe-oriented than US-oriented. (This will at least provide a balance of forces trying to exploit South America.)

One other thing--if she becomes president of Colombia, she will be joining a quite new phenomenon in South America, of women heads of state. Chile's Michele Batchelet and Argentina's Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner have played pivotal roles on matters of peace and sovereignty. They helped prevent two Bushwhack-instigated wars (war between Colombia and Ecuador, and civil war in Bolivia). Batchelet also negotiated access to the sea for Bolivia (an old war, at last resolved). And Fernandez was helping with the FARC hostage negotiations (aimed at a peace treaty in Colombia's civil war). I think they see their role as tempering the 'machismo' that even leftist male leaders sometimes exhibit. Batchelet was tortured during the US-backed Pinochet dictatorship. Fernandez has particular affinity with "the Mothers"--the women who courageously protested the thousands of 'disappeared' during Argentina's dictatorship. Betancourt could have kinship with them, as women, bringing a new perspective to South American politics, that emphasizes cooperation and common purpose, as well as having a steely determination never to let those things happen again. Her experience as a hostage of leftist guerrillas possibly gave her some insight into the futility of armed conflict at solving social justice problems, but also the absolute necessity of finding other ways to solve them. Corporate rule will never do this. It is violent at its core. But it is very difficult to see out of--and beyond--the world of injustice and planetary peril that corporate rule has created.
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formercia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 11:35 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. These are the kind of ops I remember.
The crazies are a one-trick pony. They will burn anyone in order to 'win.'
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bvar22 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 11:56 AM
Response to Reply #2
5. Thanks for the overview, PP.
I have been disturbed by the hostile rhetoric from Obama and Hillary (and "Centrist" Democrats) toward the emerging democracies in South America.

VIVA Democracy!
(I pray it migrates here.)

K&R
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xxqqqzme Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 01:47 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. Those emerging democracies are homegrown.
The US exports democracy attached to guns, bombs & death squads.
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Zorro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 09:16 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. Well maybe Obama and Hillary know more about what's going on
than those who revere anti-American loudmouths south of the border.
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High Plains Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-10-08 12:39 PM
Response to Reply #8
11. Or perhaps they represent the Democratic corporatists.
You know, the left wing of the Single Unified Capitalist War Party.

I'm curious: Just what is it you think they know that we, the great unwashed, don't know?
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Zorro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-11-08 12:10 AM
Response to Reply #11
17. They undoubtedly have access to better quality information
from government sources -- including the State, Commerce, and Defense Departments, in addition to data from representatives of the individual countries.

One might not get a full and accurate story by relying only on news articles posted on the internet.
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formercia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-10-08 04:33 PM
Response to Reply #2
13. Beware of Geeks bearing gifts
It is likely to give away your position.

One-trick Pony.
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-11-08 03:39 AM
Response to Reply #2
18. sorry i'm to late to rec this. It's superb!!!!!!!!!
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-11-08 05:36 AM
Response to Reply #2
19. So glad to re-read your comments. Your ability to retain huge blocks of information, digest it,
Edited on Thu Dec-11-08 06:02 AM by Judi Lynn
share it with readers is a true gift to everyone who cares about US relations with Latin America. You're saving some people a TON of time, because anyone who also reads these articles flying at us knows how much time is involved in absorbing them all, and studying them well enough to know when you're reading pure crap, which is thrown by the cyber buckets full.

Delighted to be reminded that the corporate media was working overtime as the messenger from the propagandists earlier when we were told about the FARCS trying to create "dirty bombs." Oh, yeah. That was a hot one. Isn't it funny how swiftly that "nice try" disappeared, after they tested it on readers? Apparently the total lack of gullibility in the audience for that load discouraged them and they felt they'd better retire it A.S.A.P.
Archive for Friday, March 28, 2008
Dirty bomb plot unlikely
U.S. officials express concern at Colombias seizure of uranium, but say degraded or depleted material isnt fit for a dirty bomb device.

By Josh Meyer, Paul Richter and Greg Miller
March 28, 2008 in print edition A-8

U.S. officials expressed concern Thursday over charges that the Colombian rebel group the FARC was seeking ingredients for a radioactive dirty bomb, but said the material discovered this week poses little danger.

Even as they downplayed the threat from about 66 pounds of degraded or depleted uranium Colombian officials said they found and had linked to FARC guerrillas, the U.S. officials said they were not dismissing Bogotas claim that the rebel group intended to procure deadly weapons.

I think you have to take at face value what the Colombians are saying, said a senior U.S. intelligence official, who, like others, spoke on condition of anonymity when discussing intelligence assessments. Theres no reason at this point to think theyre making this up.
http://articles.latimes.com/2008/mar/28/world/fg-dirtyb...

:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

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AlphaCentauri Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 10:23 AM
Response to Original message
3. Betancourt must be coming back to reality n/t
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 01:12 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. I'm somewhat surprised at her tour, and her visit to Chavez--if they mean
what I think they mean, that she intends to run for president of Colombia. She kept her distance from Colombia after her 'rescue,' and stated that she had no interest any more in politics. I believe she is living permanently in France (or had intended to). But this is a very political tour. There is no way it cannot be. The hostage situation, the FARC and the Colombian government and military are political issues, within Colombia, all over Latin America, and in Washington DC. And, with Uribe is deep trouble, she will be pressured to run--even if she doesn't want to. Her tour tells me that maybe she does.

Jimmy Carter can go on diplomatic and humanitarian missions. Ingrid Betancourt cannot, without stirring the political waters. Her capture was political. The cause of getting her released was very political--used by all manner of politicians, some well-intended, some ill-intended. Her 'rescue' was pure political theater by the Bushwhacks and Uribe, after they had sabotaged previous efforts. They even sent John McCain down there, in the midst of his campaign, to bask in the political glory. It was used worldwide by the corpo/fascist press to try to whitewash Uribe's and other Colombians' crimes. And the history of the whole matter, back to spring/summer 2007 (--when, first of all, a plot to kill Chavez hatched within the Colombian military was exposed; and Uribe was obliged to apologize to Chavez, in a 4 to 6 hour meeting, from which the plot to try to snag Chavez with a hostage disaster may have emerged) through recent events, such as the Bushwhack/Colombia effort to draw Ecuador and Venezuela into a hot war, the killing of Reyes, and the Bushwhack/white separatist plot in Bolivia, are all connected. And Betancourt is right in the middle of it all--as a leftist politician of great charm, kidnapped by the dinosauric leftist guerrilla fighters, used by the dinosauric rightwing death squad crowd as well, and famous throughout the world as a dauntless, persevering woman and former presidential candidate.

There are many quiet ways she could be helping to get more hostages released. She did not choose quiet. It's a high profile tour.
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otherlander Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-10-08 01:12 AM
Response to Reply #6
9. If she got elected President
that would be the best thing to ever happen that didn't involve a tray of special brownies, two strip dancers, or both. :D

Seriously, though, I really hope she becomes President. It would be great news for the real left, as opposed to FARC, which calls itself leftist but really only cares about money. Hell, FARC would probably rather have a right-winger in power, because if a socialist got in, they wouldn't have an excuse anymore. It's pretty obvious that they don't really care about the advancement of socialism, because if they did, they wouldn't have taken her hostage when she was doing everything she could to get Uribe and his death squad buddies out of office.
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Commie Pinko Dirtbag Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-10-08 12:58 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. Best. Metaphor. EVAH.
"That would be the best thing to ever happen that didn't involve a tray of special brownies, two strip dancers, or both." :thumbsup:
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otherlander Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-10-08 05:40 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. Heh, thanks.
Now, if I wanted to, I could go all grammar-gestapo and point out that it isn't actually a metaphor, but I won't. ;)
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Commie Pinko Dirtbag Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-10-08 08:48 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. I know it isn't too, but I don't know WHAT it is. -nt
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-10-08 05:32 AM
Response to Original message
10. Colombia's Betancourt thanks Chavez
Colombia's Betancourt thanks Chavez
Published: Dec. 10, 2008 at 12:28

CARACAS, Venezuela, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- Ex-hostage Ingrid Betancourt has thanked Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for his efforts to free those held by Colombian rebels, El Universal reported Tuesday.

Betancourt, who was held for several years by the Colombian rebel group known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, said Chavez played an integral role in helping free hostages, El Universal said.

In 2007, Chavez acted as a mediator between FARC and the Colombian government in talks to release hostages.

However, Colombia then dropped Chavez as a negotiator. saying his role went against international protocol.

http://www.upi.com/Top_News/2008/12/10/Colombias_Betanc...
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-10-08 09:51 PM
Response to Reply #10
16. "...his role went against international protocol." Nope, what he did was have
a Colombian senator call the Colombian military, reportedly to inquire how many Colombian soldiers were held as hostages by the FARC. That phone call was the lame excuse that Uribe used to publicly withdraw his request to Chavez to negotiate with the FARC, days before the first hostages were to be released. It was this first group of hostages--that Chavez eventually got successfully released--who were bombed by the Colombian military, as they were in route to their freedom. The Colombian military also arrested FARC curriers who were carrying proof-of-life documentation (a first step in hostage negotiations) to Chavez, and Uribe & co. made political hay of these documents (which I won't go into here). (Another rule of hostage negotiations is, you don't arrest such curriers.)

This all occurred in the week of 12/1/08, the date of Donald Rumsfeld's op-ed in the Washington Post, in which in the first paragraph he asserts that Chavez's help in getting hostages released was "not welcome in Colombia," though it had been days before. Chavez had been proceeding at Uribe's request. (Rumsfeld, of course, doesn't mention this in the op-ed, which is entitled, "The Smart Way to Defeat Tyrants Like Chavez.")

My guess: Rumsfeld call to Uribe. Rumsfeld: 'Chavez is going to succeed in getting hostages released. Withdraw your request, pronto, and I'll talk to Santos (Colombian Defense Minister) about pinpointing the hostages in route and hitting them with rocket fire. We'll hand Chavez a P.R. disaster.' Uribe: 'But I asked him to do it, like you told me to. I'll look foolish.' Rumsfeld: 'So what? You've got your orders. Get on it, now!'

Another guess: The phone call to the Colombian military wasn't just about the number of Colombian soldiers in captivity. It was about receiving assurances that the Colombian military was not going to sabotage the hostage release. And that is why Uribe was so pissed--the plot was foiled. Possibly FARC got a warning and were able to get the hostages out of there and back to safety (which is what they did). (They got them out by another route later.) And this may also have been why the U.S./Colombia blew away the hostage-release camp that FARC's chief hostage negotiator, Raul Reyes, set up later (for Ingrid Betancourt's release) just inside Ecuador's border. They used US high tech surveillance and 5 to 10 US "smart bombs" (and likely a US "war on drugs" airplane out of the Manta, Ecuador, base) to slaughter Reyes and 24 others in their sleep, on the eve of Betancourt's release (in March 08), and almost started a war between Ecuador/Venezuela and Colombia (another purpose of the bombing/raid on Ecuadoran territory). In Dec 07-Feb 08, Chavez got a total of six FARC hostages released. More were coming. Instead of a P.R. disaster, Chavez was succeeding at the task that Uribe had asked him to do--and that the hostages families and several world leaders had begged him to continue--and there was talk of a possible peace settlement of the 40+ year Colombian civil war.

And all of this is, of course, why Ingrid Betancourt thanked Chavez. He worked relentlessly to get her released--even with Uribe, Santos, Rumsfeld and the Bushwhacks gunning for him, with this treacherous plot (and in other ways, including the original plot to assassinate him, by which they lured him to a meeting--for Uribe's apology--at which the trap was likely set up, by asking him to negotiate with the FARC). (They also later called Chavez a "terrorist" for his contacts with the FARC. The treachery was mind-boggling.)

----

"In 2007, Chavez acted as a mediator between FARC and the Colombian government in talks to release hostages. // However, Colombia then dropped Chavez as a negotiator. saying his role went against international protocol."

This narrative is hardly adequate to describe these events, and whoever in Colombia said that Chavez's "role went against international protocol" was simply lying.





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