Hostage rescue in Colombia It is a wonderful day for freedom in Latin America! Fifteen hostages were rescued in the remote jungles of Colombia, including three Americans and former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt. It came about through a bit of trickery, as Colombian secret police posed as private helicopter pilots who were hired to transport the hostages from one rebel base camp to another.
There was a huge sigh of relief as the hostages arrived in the capital, Bogota, on Wednesday.
Freed Colombia hostage Ingrid Betancourt (C) reunites, after six years of captivity with the FARC, with her children Melanie (L) and Lorenzo Delloye, at the airport in Bogota. The United States knew of Colombia's daring hostage rescue in its planning stages, but Bogota did not need Washington's "green light" for the operation, the White House said Thursday
Three US government contractors, who were held captive alongside Ms Betancourt, have returned to Texas where they are undergoing medical checks before being reunited with their loved-ones.
Thomas Howes 50 years old 02-13-2003 Marc Gonsalves 02-13-2003 Keith Stansell 02-13-2003
arrive at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas on Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Composition picture released by the Colombian Army of the militar troops kidnapped by the FARC guerrilla and who was rescued by the Colombian Army as announced the Colombian minister of Defense, Juan Manuel Santos, on 02 July 2008 in Bogota, Colombia. Top raw L-R: Juan Carlos Bermeo, Raimundo Malagón, José Ricardo Marulanda. Medium raw: Erasmo Romero, Armando Florez and William Pérez. Bottom raw: José Miguel Arteaga, Julio Buitrago and Armando Castellanos.
McCain says he was told about military operation to liberate 15 hostages, including three Americans and former Colombian presidential candidate Betancourt, while visiting the country. “ I’m pleased with the success of this very high-risk operation…. Now we must renew our efforts to free all of the other innocent people held hostage.” Obama: “I congratulate President Uribe and the Colombian government, express my gratitude for everyone who aided in this rescue, and will do everything that I can to assure the success of future efforts to free the FARC’s hostages and to defeat this terrorist organization.”