Colombia: “We Did Not Engage in Combat With The FARC In the Rescue Zone. Well, Okay, Yes, We Did.”

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Interactive game at ElTiempo.com this week makes reference to helicopter HK2704X … and the Uribe credibility gap.

The Uribe government denied this combat had taken place and accused FARC of deceiving Chávez. More, on Monday the Colombian chief executive personally floated the theory that the guerrilla violated the deal to turn over the hostages because it did not have Emmanuel, 3, who supposedly had been living in a government “foster home” since 2005, in its power. The FARC denied this. However, the Colombian army reported on its Web site today that it had killed two guerrilla fighters, one of them identified as “Carpenter,” a man considered a close aide to FARC leadership, in the midst of “intense combat” with troops from the 18th Brigade and the 5th Mobile Infantry in Arauca province, bordering on Venezuela.

El ejército y las FARC combatieron durante el operativo de rehenes: “Combat between FARC and Colombian Army during hostage exchange.”

The Emmanuel issue is a confusing one — possibly deliberately so.

The top headline in El Tiempo (Bogotá) today cites a top government official asserting that DNA testing proves that the child in state custody (for the last two years) is the child in question.

The fiscal general [Colombian John Ashcroft], Iguarán, is quoted by EL TIEMPO as saying the result is “preliminary,” pending “verification by a European laboratory.”

Globo (Brazil) is reporting the “DNA proof” story as well.

Headline: “DNA test proves [comprova] identify of young FARC hostage.”

Lede:

As autoridades colombianas esperam o resultado dos exames de DNA para esclarecer se o menino que está sob os cuidados de uma organização governamental é Emmanuel, o garoto seqüestrado cuja libertação tinha sido prometida pelos guerrilheiros das Forças Armadas Revolucionárias da Colômbia (Farc).

Colombian authorities are awaiting the result of DNA tests to determine whether the boy in the care of an NGO is Emmanuel …

In the headline, the results are in.

In the lede, the results are not in.

2+2=5. Globo quacks. Constantly.

Reuters is more cautious:

If confirmed in a second round of tests in Spain, the identification of Emmanuel would reinforce Uribe’s position that he cannot trust the FARC, making future hostage talks more difficult.

Sources of the following: Afp, Dpa and Notimex, via La Jornada (Mexico), citing FARC-tied news agencies.

El jefe del ejército colombiano, Mario Montoya, habló ayer con periodistas en Bogotá, a quienes reiteró que no se realizó ninguna operación militar en la región donde presuntamente las FARC entregarían a tres rehenes.

[Photo caption]: Gen. Montoya, commander of the Colombian army, spoke to journalists yesterday in Bogotá and repeated his denial that any military operations was conducted in the area where FARC was reportedly to hand over the three hostages.

Bogotá, 3 de enero. El ejército colombiano confirmó hoy que se llevaron a cabo “intensos combates” con la guerrilla mientras se realizaba el operativo para la entrega de tres rehenes, en una acción efectuada el 31 de diciembre, y que fue aniquilado entonces un emisario y hombre de confianza del secretariado de las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC).

The Colombian Army confirmed today that it had engaged in “intense combat” with guerrilla forces while an operation to hand over three hostages was ongoing, in an action that took place on December 31, and in which an emissary and close aide to top FARC leadership was killed.

El máximo líder de las FARC, Manuel Marulanda (alias Tirofijo), llamó a emprender una “ofensiva general” en Colombia durante 2008, y acusó al presidente Álvaro Uribe de “impedir” un acuerdo humanitario para el intercambio de unos 45 rehenes en su poder por unos 500 guerrilleros en prisión, prefiriendo “mantener la guerra contra el descontento del pueblo”.

Top FARC commander Manuel “Tirofijo” Marulanda called for a “general offensive” in Colombia in 2008 and accused President Uribe of “preventing” a humanitarian accord for the exchange of 45 hostages in FARC custody with 500 FARC fighters in prison, preferring “to keep on waging war despite the discontent of the people.”

File under “government press releases, double-bind theory and” and see also

A su vez, el presidente venezolano, Hugo Chávez, sostuvo que la Operación Emmanuel para el rescate de los tres rehenes continúa en una “nueva fase” de la que rehusó dar detalles.

For his part, Venezuelan president Chávez said Operation Emmanuel, the effort to rescue three hostages, is continuing in a “new phase,” but refused to give details.

El operativo continúa, sólo que ahora no debo hablar casi nada, afirmó Chávez durante una intervención telefónica en un programa de opinión que transmite la estatal Venezolana de Televisión.

“The operation continues, only now I should not say practically anything,” Chávez said during a telephone interview with an opinion show on the state-owned VTV.

La guerrilla anunció el lunes la suspensión indefinida de la entrega de los tres rehenes –la ex congresista Consuelo González, la política Clara Rojas y su hijo Emmanuel, nacido en cautiverio– argumentando hostigamientos militares en la zona del sur, donde una comitiva internacional con base en Villavicencio los iba a recibir, acorde a un plan del presidente venezolano Hugo Chávez.

On Monday, the guerrilla group announced the indefinite suspension of the handover of the three hostages — González, Clara Rojas and her son Emmanuel, born in captivity — alleging hostile military action in the southern zone where an international commission based in Villavicencio was to receive them, under a plan devised by Chávez.

Pero el gobierno de Uribe negó que hayan tenido lugar esos combates, y acusó a las FARC de engañar a Chávez. Más aún, el mismo lunes el propio mandatario colombiano lanzó la hipótesis de que la guerrilla incumplió la entrega porque no tiene en su poder a Emmanuel, de tres años, quien estaría desde 2005 en un “hogar sustituto” del Estado, cosa que la guerrilla ha desmentido.

But Uribe government denied that this combat had taken place and accused FARC of deceiving Chávez. What is more, on Monday the Colombian chief executive personally floated the theory that the guerrilla violated the deal to turn over the hostages because it did not have Emmanuel, 3, who supposedly had been living in a government “foster home” since 2005, in its power. The FARC denied this.

Luego que Chávez dio crédito a la versión de la insurgencia de que operativos militares en la zona impidieron concretar la acción de rescate de los cautivos, el comisionado para la paz colombiano, Luis Carlos Restrepo, insistió ayer en negarlo y lamentó que el mandatario venezolano haya creído a las FARC y no al informe de su gobierno.

While Chávez said he believed the insurgents’ story that Colombian troops in the transfer zone prevented carrying out the rescue action, Colombian peace commissioner Restrepo continued to deny this yesterday, lamenting the fact that the Venezuelan president believed the FARC rather than the Colombian government.

Sin embargo, este día el ejército colombiano informó en su página de Internet haber dado muerte a dos guerrilleros, entre ellos a uno que identificó como Carpintero y considerado hombre de confianza de la cúpula de las FARC, en medio de “intensos combates” con tropas de la brigada 18 y de la brigada móvil número cinco, en el departamento de Arauca, fronterizo con Venezuela.

However, the Colombian army reported on its Web site today that it had killed two guerrilla fighters, one of them identified as “Carpenter,” a man considered a close aide to FARC leadership, in the midst of “intense combat” with troops from the 18th Brigade and the 5th Mobile Infantry in Arauca province, bordering on Venezuela.

Arauca es un departamento colombiano fronterizo con el estado venezolano de Apure, en donde se ubica el aeropuerto de Guasdualito, una de las tres terminales aéreas que el presidente venezolano Hugo Chávez dispuso para recibir a los rehenes.

Arauca is the Colombian province bordering on the Venezuelan state of Apure, where the Guasdualito airport is located — one of three air terminals that Chávez designated for the handover of the hostages.

Los combates se realizaron el 31 de diciembre pasado, mientras se desarrollaba el operativo para recibir a tres rehenes en el que participaban delegados de siete países y la Cruz Roja Internacional como garantes, que aguardaban las coordenadas de la insurgencia en Villavicencio, departamento del Meta, para salir a la selva a recoger a los cautivos.

The combat occurred on December 31 during the hostage rescue operation, in which representatives of 7 countries and the International Red Cross are serving as guarantors and were waiting for coordinates from the insurgency in Villavicencio, Meta province, in order to enter the jungle and collect the captives.

La Agencia Bolivariana de Prensa (ABP), cercana a las FARC, aseguró que esa guerrilla libra combates con el ejército para poder cumplir su promesa de liberar a los tres rehenes, pese a que “el gobierno colombiano ha pretendido desviar la atención sobre la liberación de Clara, su hijo Emmanuel y la ex congresista González con la ‘hipótesis’ (de que las FARC no tienen al niño)”.

The ABP, which is close to the FARC, reported that the guerrilla movement is avoiding combat with the Army in order to keep its promise of freeing the three hostages, even though “the Colombian government had tried to divert attention from the liberation of Clara, her son, Emmanuel, and former congresswoman González with the ‘theory’ [that the FARC does not have the child].”

Señaló que el presidente Chávez y la Cruz Roja “siguen a la espera de las coordenadas” del sitio donde serán entregados. “Las FARC mientras tanto libran combates reales para la consecución de tal liberación, que ha sido su compromiso”, agregó la nota publicada en el sitio de Internet de la agencia (www.abpnoticias.com), donde la guerrilla suele difundir comunicados.

[tktktktk]

Background on the mutual threats of armed apocalypse, in which Gen. Montoya says, basically, “bring it on.”

Frente a la posición del secretario general de la OEA, José Miguel Insulza, de rechazar un eventual “rescate clandestino” por los riesgos que supone para los cautivos, trascendió que entre los garantes existen “señales” de que la liberación aún puede ocurrir. Ecuador y Bolivia dijeron que persiste esa posibilidad.

[tktktktktk]

El canciller argentino, Jorge Taina, negó que la operación Emmanuel haya fracasado, y afirmó que la presencia militar colombiana pudo abortar la entrega. A su vez, la titular de la organización argentina Madres de Plaza de Mayo, Hebe de Bonafini, tachó al presidente Uribe de ser “una mierda”, ante la frustrada misión en favor de los tres cautivos.

Argentine foreign minister Jorge Taina denied that Operation Emmanuel had failed and said that a Colombian military presence might have aborted the handover. The head of the Argentine human rights group Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, called President Uribe [a “shithead”] after the frustrated attempt to release the three captives.

The element of medical “fear, uncertainty and doubt” here reminds me of the Ernestina Ascencio case in Mexico last year.

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