Last week, the world witnessed a stunning example of the success of Plan Colombia when 15 men and women were rescued after years as hostages of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC). The full details of the rescue as explained by The New York Times and other news sources read like a movie script with the Colombian military tricking the guard of the captives into transporting the hostages right into their hands.
The FARC is a guerrilla army in Colombia, listed by the U.S. and the European Union’s as a terrorist organization, which is known for protecting that nation’s cocoa producers and perpetuating the international drug trade. However, recently the FARC has taken several hard hits.
A Heritage WebMemo written by Dr. Ray Walser explains what many hope these recent events mean for the FARC and Colombia as a whole. In the last year, FARC has lost three of its major players with the death of founder Manuel Marlulanda Vélez and the killings of Iván Rios and Raul Reyes, the second in command. Now they have lost four of their most prized captives, the three Americans who were released and former presidential candidate Ms. Íngrid Betancourt. These blows will hopefully demoralize and weaken the FARC itself and make it realize it cannot succeed in winning its war against the Colombian state.
Dr. Walser also explains what this success means for the Colombian military. Latin American armies have long been viewed as brutal and corrupt by many in the US and other Western powers. However, the intricacy of the plan to free these hostages and its flawless success shine a light on the strength of the Colombian army. Additionally, these events lend reason to Congress for the renewal of funding to Plan Colombia and to pass the Colombian Free Trade Agreement. Colombia continues to proved it can be a strong partner in the struggle against drug trafficking and terror that plagues the US and South America
View recent news footage here.