Colombia: “FARC Accepts That Baby Doe is Emmanuel”

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

If you cannot mount persuasive arguments, then make sure that your opponent is not able to make her own argument. Shift the focus of the debate: change the subject, preferably to a subject in which you are in the right; dwell on how much you know, on how hard you have worked to get where you are, on how your work is unjustly devalued and despised. Or simply lead the debate into a blind alley from which it cannot escape. In that case, both parties lose, but this is a better outcome for the party who was going to lose in any event.–InfomediaTV (a Porto Alegre-based Microsoft stealth-marketing contractor)

Armed-to-the-teeth, drug-running anarchists are just plain bad for business, whatever their stated rationale for why lining people up against the wall and summarily shooting them is a good thing. Especially when they are competing to get their man in at City Hall –NMM foreign policy position statement on Colombian “hog heavens of the hard men,” January 2008

Farc aceptaron que niño en poder del Bienestar Familiar sí es Emmanuel: “FARC accepts that the child in the custody of the government foster-care system really is Emmanuel.”

A follow-up to

In a low, dishonest decade of massive exchanges of soap-operatic dueling noise-machine bombshells, this is one of the more interesting ones — provided you are not personally involved in the events in question.

It’s also a fascinating case of changing the subject from topics where one’s credibility is shaky to topics where one’s credibility can be described as having been vindicated.

This is assuming that the FARC communiqué described here is genuine.

I mean, I hate to be a knee-jerk skeptic, but see

David “Fear and Misinformation Abound” Sasaki-style fear and misinformation abound!

En un comunicado, dicen que el niño había sido entregado en Bogotá al cuidado de “personas honradas mientras se firmaba el acuerdo humanitario”, pero el presidente Uribe lo secuestró.

In a press release, FARC says the child had been left in the custody of “honorable persons [in Bogotá] while the humanitarian accord was being signed,” but that Uribe kidnapped him.

Or “heroically rescued Baby Elian Emmanuel,” if you like.

“La opinión pública nacional e internacional entiende muy bien que Emmanuel no podía estar en medio de las operaciones bélicas del Plan Patriota, de los bombardeos y los combates, la movilidad permanente y las contingencias de la selva”, dijo el escrito divulgado por la Agencia Bolivariana de Prensa (ABP).

“National and international public opinion knows very well that Emmanuel could not be in the middle of military operations like Plan Patriot, the bombings and the combat, always on the move and subject to jungle conditions,” said the communiqué published by the Bolivarian Press Agency.

Este podría ser uno de los más duros reveses que el grupo guerrillero ha sufrido en los últimos años: que el hijo de Clara Rojas y uno de los guerrilleros que la custodiaba se encuentra en Bogotá y hoy está en manos del Gobierno.

This could be one of the most severe reversals the guerrilla group has suffered in recent years: That the son of Clara Rojas and one of the guerrilla fighters caring for him is in Bogotá and in the hands of the Government.

Or it could turn out not to be.

Claims that the FARC was lying about the death of the 11 former provincial lawmakers — another fuzzy controversy — in an ambush by government forces I would personally find much, much more reprehensible, if proven.

Involving, as it does, both lying and allegedly summarily executing unarmed hostages.

What is up with that case, anyway?

An infographic based on a medical examiner’s report on the remains used to be featured prominently on ELTIEMPO’s Web site. Now I cannot seem to refind it — and EL TIEMPO has one of the best-organized newspaper Web sites in the world.

And it seemed credible on first glance, too. EL TIEMPO is a good newspaper, on the whole — although it recently went through a change of business and editorial control.

So you would think — since we are speculating in the dark at will here — that they would be beating FARC over the head with that case as well at this point.

I certainly would, if I knew it was true that the “crossfire” story was a lie.

That would be just nauseating. Why are they not doing so?

Flag for follow-up …

De esta manera se prueba la hipótesis que lanzó el presidente Álvaro Uribe el 31 de diciembre pasado en Villavicencio cuando, enterado de que las Farc habían suspendido el operativo para la anunciada liberación de Consuelo González de Perdomo, Clara Rojas y su hijo Emmanuel, el mandatario dijo que la operación se había frustrado porque las Farc no tenían al niño en su poder.

In this manner, the theory made by public by Uribe on December 31 in Villavicencio is confirmed …

De paso, las Farc le mintieron al presidente Hugo Chávez quien bautizó el operativo de liberación con el nombre de Emmanuel y dijo en más de una ocasión que soñaba con abrazar al niño. Y dejan en vilo, además, la participación de la comunidad internacional en un eventual acuerdo humanitario para la liberación de las personas que siguen su poder.

By the same token, FARC has lied to Chávez, who named the rescue operation after the boy and said on more than one occasion he dreamed of embracing Emmanuel.

In the land of trash TV, Brozo the Ambush-Interview Clown and Débora’s Golden Globos are king and queen.

Hasta anoche Chávez no había reaccionado publicamente, pero hace algunos días había dicho que de ser cierta la hipótesis “quedarían muy mal las Farc ante el mundo, porque quedaría en evidencia que es una gran mentira”.

As of last evening, Chávez had not commented publicly, but some days ago said he was sure that this theory “would make the FARC look bad in world public opinion, because it would make it clear this was a big lie.”

The FARC already have a reputation for being anachronistic, drug-running anarchists running around the jungle armed to the freaking teeth with guns that fall off the backs of trucks all over Latin America, doing God knows what.

I personally do not need further persuading that installing a local chapter of FARC there in Brooklyn would not be something I would vote for in the next city election.

Some people manage to find positives in that — “it takes a drug-running anarchist movement of the hard left to fight a drug-running latifúndio of the hard right” — but, well, look:

Drug-running anarchists are just plain bad for business, whatever their stated motivation for lining people up against the wall and shooting them.

Which is why it was so shocking to find Chiquita Brands admitting to paying off both the FARC and the AUC.

No obstante, el grupo guerrillero dejó en claro que el proceso de entrega de Clara Rojas y de Consuelo González al presidente Hugo Chávez continuará, tal como se había comprometido el pasado 18 de diciembre cuando hicieron el anuncio de la liberación.

However, the guerrilla made it clear that the process of turning Clara and Consuelo over to Chávez will continue, as promised on December 18.

Descrédito internacional

International discredit

El manejo del tema de los secuestrados ha representado para las Farc los más duros reveses en materia política dentro y fuera de las fronteras patrias.

Repeats the point that FARC has been discredited.

EL TIEMPO was founded by the Santos family, it ought to disclose. As in Minister of Defense Santos and Vice-President Santos.

En los últimos meses y gracias a la mediación del mandatario venezolano y a la senadora Piedad Córdoba, los insurgentes habían recuperado notoriedad internacional.

In recent months, thanks to mediation by the Venezuelan chief of state and Senator Córdoba, the insurgents have regained international notoriety.

A pesar del duro golpe que representó la muerte en cautiverio de los 11 ex diputados del Valle -que había sido precedida por la del gobernador de Antioquia, Guillermo Gaviria, su asesor de paz, Gilberto Echeverri y ocho militares durante un intento de rescate del Ejército-, las Farc habían logrado interlocución con países como Venezuela y Francia cuyo presidente, Nicolas Sarkozy, se atrevía a enviar mensajes públicos a jefe máximo de esa organización Manuel Marulanda Vélez ‘Tirofijo’.

Despite the hard blow represented by the death in captivity of 11 former lawmakers from Valle — preceded by the death of Antioquia governor Guillero Gaviria, his peace advisor, Echeverri, and 8 soldiers during an Army hostage-rescue mission — FARC have managed to establish relations with countries like Venezuela and France, whose president, Sarkozy, went so far as to send public messages to FARC supreme leader “Tirofijo.”

It does not say “the summary execution of 11 former lawmakers.”

Why is that?

Something like “Deadeye,” as in “dead aim,” I guess you could translate Tirofijo.

De hecho, en la ‘Operación Emmanuel’, coordinada por Venezuela, participaron además delegados de Francia, Suiza, Cuba, Brasil, Argentina y Ecuador, que seguramente exigirán un compromiso más serio de parte de las Farc a la hora de participar en un eventual proceso que conduzca a una negociación con las Farc.

In fact, Operation Emmanuel, coordinated by [Hugoland], involved delegates from France, Switzerland, Cuba, Brazil, Argentina and Equador, who will surely demand a more serious commitment now from FARC if and when the time comes to negotiate [peace].

Analistas como Carlos Lozano y el ex comisionado de Paz, Camilo Gómez, coinciden en que una de las mayores dificultades que entraña este nuevo revés de las Farc será la recuperación de la confianza de la comunidad internacional.

Analysts like Carlos Lozano and former Peace Commissioner Gómez agree that one of the greatest difficulties deriving from this setback for the FARC will be recovering the trust of the international community.

Lozano is, not the Spanish actor, but editor of the Communist weekly Voz — several journalists killed by the AUC (the FARC also reportedly declared journalists legitimate targets).

Gómez, as Peace Commissioenr, suggested a peace plan that was harshly criticized by candidate Uribe.

Characterizing their views on this point without quoting them to this effect is journalistically substandard. It’s ventriloquism.

We aim to show, not tell … When using indirect (or reported) speech, instead of direct quotes, sources either say something or they don’t. Innuendo is rarely acceptable in news reporting. You should never guess at what a source means. To write in a news story that someone hinted, implied, indicated, suggested, or signalled is to interpret someone’s actions, words, or thoughts. This is rarely acceptable. —Handbook of Reuters Journalism

It’s never acceptable, not without a good explanation of how you arrived at your interpretation, but you see a lot of logic-chopping on this point about supposedly ambiguous cases.

En Argentina, por ejemplo, el ex presidente Néstor Kirchner ha recibido en los últimos días duros cuestionamientos por su participación en una operación de entrega de secuestrados que terminó en nada.

In Argentina, for example, former president Kirchner has been questioned hard over his participation in a failed handover of hostages.

Questioned by whom?

También, el enviado del gobierno brasileño, Marco Aurelio García, había manifestado al diario O Globo que debería seguirse con la operación en términos clandestinos, lo que muchos interpretaron como una manera de rechazar otra eventual invitación a servir de garantes en una entrega.

Also, the Brazilian envoy, Garcia, has told the O Globo daily that the operation ought to be conducted secretly, which many interpreted as a way of ruling out accepting any future invitation to serve as guarantors of a handover.

“Many”of whom?

Useless, gabbling gossip-mongers like Miriam Leitão, with a long, undistinguished track record of vouching for nonsense and failed prognostication, work for O Globo.

If she said it, I tend to assume the opposite is true until proven otherwise.

If a responsible adult had said it, I might be interested. Who said it?

See

Diagnosis: Reporting and analysis about who has credibility and who does not that relies to this extent on ventriloquism and fuzzy sourcing cannot be accepted as entirely credible.

I mean, it actually has a lot of truthiness and plausibility to it. I tend to think a lot of that analysis is probably generally likely to turn out to have been generally true.

But the devil, as always, is in the details.

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