Now, Machetera finds this completely normal because she happens to know someone who was taken hostage in Colombia in the ’80’s, and his employer (evidently more generous than DynCorp) paid to get him out, and in only six months as opposed to five years. And that in turn, means of course that as far as the U.S. contractors were concerned, and quite frankly Ingrid Betancourt and the other 11 hostages, the people who were really keeping them in the jungle all that time were not the FARC.
But what she finds interesting about this story is not so much the ransom, or even the “media show” which was heavyhanded anyway, but the fact that Israelis were involved and can’t keep their mouths shut about it.
July 4, 2008 – According to various European media reports today, RSR, Radio Suisse Romande, the state broadcaster, revealed yesterday that the operation through which Ingrid Betancourt and 14 other hostages were freed, was obtained through payment and not by skill or intelligence of the Colombian and U.S. authorities.
According to an RSR report, “the 15 hostages were actually freed after the payment of a large sum, and the operation which followed was theatre.”
The RSR journalist Frederich Blassel confirmed that the guerrilla known as “César,” one of the two who were captured, received $20 million dollars in exchange for delivering the hostages.
“It wasn’t a direct negotiation with the FARC, but with a very important person from that organization, who is Commandante ‘César,’ he explained.
Radio Suisse Romande is a state broadcaster which transmits in four different languages in Europe.
Blassel added that according to the source, the United States approved the payment to the guerrilla. Citing a source close to the events who had proven trustworthy on several occasions in recent years, the radio also said that the United States government was behind the agreement and put the price at $20 million dollars.
“The three North American contractors worked for the FBI and were transferred to the DEA to carry out a job and therefore that country was highly interested in recovering these citizens. The contact with Commandante César was made through his girlfriend who was captured some four months ago by the Army.”
With the two guerrillas captured in the operation facing extradition, the journalist said that “it sounds strange” but according to his information, Switzerland, France and Spain would be disposed to receiving the two guerrillas and giving them a new identity in order to avoid their extradition to the United States.
The French film director Gil Pérez and an analyst specializing in the subject of Colombia also spoke about this in a similar sense, the journalist added.
The representative of the national Swiss radio station believes that all of this follows the hard line that President Uribe wants to maintain facing negotiations with the FARC and for that reason, believes that everything was a show.
“If the people knew that this operation was a show behind a negotiation, it wouldn’t matter, because Uribe comes out triumphant and no matter what, remains the strong man,” he concluded.
The Colombian Foreign Minister denied the version and called the news “false.” According to the Colombian General Fredy Padilla de León, the stories about payment for rescue are “kicks of a drowning man.”
For its part, the French government denied having been involved in the operation.
Support of United States and Israel
The White House has not responded to allegations of payment for liberation, but through its spokesperson, confirmed that the military operation was “conceived and executed by Colombians with our full support.”
For its part, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Israeli agents were involved in the operation which resulted in the liberation of the hostages but “they believe that the credit should be given to Colombia.”
According to the newspaper, the Israeli activities were carried out by dozens of security experts and were coordinated by Global CST, the private firm belonging to ex-Brigadier General Israel Ziv, and ex-Brigadier Yossi Kuperwasser.
“We helped them plan all the operations and strategies, and develop intelligence sources,” said Ziv upon his return from Bogotá.
Machetera is a member of Tlaxcala, the network of translators for linguistic diversity. This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source, author, and translator are cited.