Ratification of the free-trade agreement would serve the administration's stated goal of boosting U.S. exports while bolstering a nation that could be an anchor for democracy and political moderation in the region. It would also allow the administration and Congress to demonstrate that friends of the United States will be supported and not scorned in Washington.
General Luis Mendieta, Colonel Enrique Murillo, and Colonel William Donato of the National Police, as well as Army Sergeant Arbey Delgado, who had been held in captivity by FARC terrorists for over 12 years, were rescued safe and sound during an impeccable operation by the Government and the Army.
Bogotá, June 15-2010 (OP). General Luis Mendieta, Colonel Enrique Murillo, and Colonel William Donato of the National Police, as well as Army Sergeant Arbey Delgado, who had been held in captivity by FARC terrorists for over 12 years, were rescued safe and sound during an impeccable operation by the Government and the Army.
In his address to the nation, President Alvaro Uribe Velez said, "Our road is to support our Forces, which do us proud. The Colombian people can be proud of their Armed Forces and today they are a reason for admiration by the entire world.
He pointed out that "these Armed Forces are the hope for our country; they are a great support for upcoming generations."
The message by the President to the Farc terrorists was the following: "There are two roads, and I say this to the guerrilla members: One is the road of demobilization, to liberate the hostages, the fulfillment by the Government of its promise to help them find the means of freedom and provide support to rebuild their lives. That is one road".
"This Government," the President added, "is a government of strength, without capitulations, without the slightest trace of resentfulness, and, at the same time, a willingness toward generosity, proven by the way in which 53,000 demobilized members of various terrorist groups have been generously received over the past years. The other road is the persistence in the professionalism of these Armed Forces to rescue them."
After being rescued, in emotional messages, the soldiers gave their thanks to President Uribe for their liberation.
"I want to express my cordial and respectful feelings of gratitude to the President of the Republic, Alvaro Uribe, for all his accomplishments. I also want to express my recognition to the Minister of National Defense, the Commander General of the Military Forces, all the commands of the Military Forces, of the Armed Forces, for this excellent operation. God bless you for all these achievements," said Mendieta, who was kidnapped on November 1, 1998 in Mitu, Vaupes.
Colonel Donato, kidnapped in Mitu in 1998, said: "Today is a great day for our Army. I once thought that it could become one of the best in the world. Today I have to say it without any doubt: it is the best in the world.
And he added: "I once said that 'Operation Jaque' could be compared to a painting by Da Vinci, to a painting by Picasso; today I don't know how I am going to compare such a clean-cut and transparent operation."
Colonel Murillo, kidnapped in Mitu, said: "The millions of good, decent Colombians by far outnumber the few bad ones." He thanked the President, the Minister of Defense and the high military command of the Police for their solidarity with his family.
Army Sergeant Delgado Argote, kidnapped in Miraflores (Guaviare) on March 3, 1998, said, "I want to thank the Almighty; I want to thank the Military Forces and their supreme commander, President Alvaro Uribe Velez, General Freddy Padilla, General Gonzalez and that commando group that went into the jungle to carry out a clean-cut operation. The guerrilla fled in a hurry, they left behind their rifles and their equipment. They fled," explained Delgado Argote.
"I fell into the hands of these terrorists when I was 29 years old; today I am 41. They (the Farc) are savages; they have made my daughters suffer. I didn't know them, I had seen them as little girls, but I had not seen them as young ladies," he added.