Okay, Machetera’s not a big TV watcher, so right off the bat she’ll say that she has no idea exactly what Ingrid Betancourt said on Larry King this week, but from what she’s been able to piece together it seems that Larry asked her about the ugly rumor that fellow hostage Clara Rojas had tried to drown her baby Emmanuel in a river, and instead of saying “I won’t even dignify such a disgraceful question with an answer,” or even “shame on you for asking,” she said something mysterious like “what happens in the jungle should stay in the jungle.” Which led Rojas to tell the press that first of all, Ingrid had like, zero contact with her and Emmanuel while they were there and that Ingrid’s attitude is getting a little tiresome; “Ingrid has something theatrical about her – and I say that respectfully,” she said.
This confirms Machetera’s belief that television is best left in the off position, however, that said, interesting things leak out now and then. Like Ingrid telling the BBC’s Stephen Sackur that the whole hostage rescue operation struck her as “fake” while it was taking place. Of course by fake, she meant that she thought the FARC was faking it (like the FARC has easy access to white helicopters, hello?!) In this interview, she mentions that 4 or 5 people got off the helicopter, dressed in white, with all kinds of insignia (she does not state which kind) on their clothing. One was a woman. They went off to the side with the FARC commanders where they spoke with them privately and hugged them, and then gave them soft drinks to share with the hostages. It was at that bizarre moment that Betancourt thought, “this is no international commission.” Now, if a prisoner has that thought, what would a loyal FARC commander be thinking? The only possible answer is that the FARC commanders had already been turned.
Now, there are some who argue that the scenario where the FARC were paid and Colombia staged a rescue to cover the payment, is an implausible conspiracy theory because the FARC themselves have said that they were betrayed and would have no reason to lie, but Machetera sees no reason that all three things may not be true:
- Commandante César’s girlfriend was captured by the Colombian army early in the year and forced (tortured?) into giving information that the army could use against the FARC to carry out its made-for-CNN “rescue.”
- Commandante César was turned, perhaps due to a large cash incentive or at least the promise of one, hence his bubbly greetings to the fake “international commission” and
- Negotiations about further releases were underway (as they continue to be) and Uribe’s army dressed up like the Red Cross to provide cover for the commandantes’ defection, who they then doublecrossed, stealing diplomacy’s thunder and undermining future negotiations.