Last month I posted that “Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdel Rahman may be sent to Egypt. Now two other convicted terrorists may be sent to their countries after the elecion– increasing the possibility that they may be freed (h/t Joe Lima),
Colombian newspaper El Espectador (The Spectator)reported on October 19 that the United States and Colombia are in “advanced” talks about releasing Ricardo Palmera and Nayibe Rojas Cabrera to Colombia where they would likely be freed. To our knowledge, no U.S. media outlet has reported on any of this as of yet.
Ricardo Palmera, who is best known by his nomme de guerre “Simón Trinidad” is a high-ranking rebel leader and former finance director of the leftist Colombian insurgent terrorist organization FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forced of Colombia), which is responsible for thousands of kidnappings and murders in Colombia, including businessmen, politicians, women, children, and even a female presidential candidate.
On February 13, 2003 the FARC extended its terrorist activities to America when its guerrillas shot down an unarmed single-engine plane carrying American Vietnam Veteran and Bronze Star recipient Thomas Janis, three other Americans, and a Colombian official over a remote, FARC-controlled region of Colombia. Janis was conducting anti-narcotic intelligence work at the time and despite surviving the crash, he and the Colombian were cowardly shot execution-style by FARC guerrillas. The three other Americans aboard the plane were held hostage for five years in gruesome conditions under orders by Trinidad.
Trinidad was eventually caught and extradited to the United States where he was tried and convicted for his role in conspiring to kidnap and hold the three Americans as hostages. During the trial, witnesses testified how he ordered the kidnapping of any American visiting Colombia. A former FARC guerrilla member who was called in as a witness in the trial described it the following way:
The instructions given to us [by Simón Trinidad] is that any gringo tourist, official, or whatever, should be kidnapped. None could be allowed to escape.
He is currently serving a 60-year sentence at the Florence ADX US Penitentiary, which houses federal inmates who are deemed the most dangerous and in need of the tightest control.
Despite a terrorist past that has cost the lives of American citizens and countless Colombians, Trinidad and another high-ranking FARC terrorist and convicted drug trafficker Nayibe Rojas Cabrera are currently being seriously considered for release by the Obama Administration presumably at the urging of the Colombian government, which is naively trying to arrive at a peace agreement with the terrorist group.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has largely abandoned his predecessor Alvaro Uribe’s hard-line (and effective) policy of hunting down the FARC, and has instead opted for sitting and negotiating with the terrorist group (read: appeasing).
The FARC has since seized the opportunity to demand Simón Trinidad’s release and participation in the negotiations as a condition to make any headway. In fact, earlier this month, the FARC officially designated the terrorist Trinidad as one of the group’s chief negotiators with the Colombian government for “peace talks” that were set to begin in Oslo a few days ago.
As such, it appears President Santos has been applying pressure on Washington to release the terrorist Trinidad to appease the FARC in hopes of making progress during their so-called “peace talks,” which in the past only served to embolden the terrorist group.
According to the El Espectador article:
[Trinidad’s] return would occur in the second half of November and the idea, El Espectador has learned, is that if the peace talks with the FARC make progress and achieve concrete agreements toward demobilization, Simón Trinidad would become the first [high-ranking FARC official] to be allowed to reinsert himself in [Colombia’s] political process…
Essentially, the idea is that the Colombian government would grant the terrorist Trinidad a reprieve of his past crimes to return to Colombia without penalty, become active in politics and perhaps even run for office.
Ricardo Palmera a.k.a “Simón Trinidad” is a high-value prisoner; so much so that, on the first day of peace talks in Oslo, the FARC’s negotiator replaced his own name card with a handwritten sign bearing Trinidad’s,
The FARC is looking to become a political party in Colombia, presumably not allowing anyone accused of violent crimes to become a member.