The big news of the year so far is the rescue by the Colombian military of the FARC’s four most valuable hostages: French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt, Americans Thomas Howes, Keith Stansell and Marc Gonsalves, and eleven Colombian officers and NCOs, including the courageous Lt. Malagon who remained unbroken after ten years of captivity.
Bolivian president Evo Morales’s administration is tottering, and so was he when getting off the plane in Tucuman: No red carpet for Evo at Argentina’s Mercosur summit
UK Navy commandos seize huge cocaine shipment; among them, Prince William.
Must-read insights: Reflections on 2 July’s rescue
From the Colombian government website: Uribe apoya idea de Chávez de construir ferrocarril colombo-venezolano Uribe supports Chavez’s idea of a Colombian-Venezuelan railway, with one line through the eastern plains tying into Ecuador, and another line by the Caribbean.
Since the late 1990s, the NGO practice of dragging the military into court on allegations of human rights violations has destroyed the careers of some of the country’s finest officers, even though most of these men were found innocent after years of proceedings. “Judicial warfare” turned out to be especially effective because under legislation pushed by Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, “credible” charges against officers put at risk U.S. military aid unless the accused was removed. The NGOs knew that they only had to point fingers to get rid of an effective leader and demoralize the ranks. Given this history, it’s not surprising that the FARC thought a helicopter from an NGO was perfectly natural.
More on the hostage rescue
They’re Home: Three American Hostages Rescued by Colombian Military
Comment at Just One Minute on Uribe & human rights.
Speaking of which, a few links John McCain’s trip to Colombia (Sen McCain had already left for Mexico when the rescue took place, unlike what this blogger states):
McCain lauds Bogota’s fight against drug trafficking
McCain to tour Colombian drug control efforts
McCain Heads Today for Colombia, Where Adviser Has Long Had Ties
Ecuador indulta 1,200 “mulas” y traficantes de drogas. Ecuador pardons 1,200 “mules” and drug traffickers
The UN says Things Not All That Bad in Haiti. How bad do they want them to be?
Markets for the poor in Mexico, with video:
Via Sam, Theo Spark
Pfc. Robert Camocho, of Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, Co. B., 2-6th Inf. Regt., scans a simulated IED lane while training at Camp Buehring, Kuwait. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Michael Schuch)
Via Irish Spy, Testimony places Chávez in scandal
According to court documents, Carlos Kauffman told the FBI that lawyer Moisés Maionica assured him, ‘President Chávez was involved’ in Venezuela’s ‘briefcase scandal.’
Army unrest grows over Chavez reforms Fotos del camion volteado en el desfile del 5 de Julio. I’m posting on this in today.
You and your people
Jaime Bayly gives the best political commentary on his show. Here’s what he had to say on the hostages, via Noticias 24:
Prior posts and roundups on the hostage rescue:
One side benefit of the Colombian hostage rescue: No Alo Presidente!
The Colombian hostage rescue: Aftermath
The Colombian hostage rescue video
“Hostage rescue is happy coincidence for McCain in Colombia…”
BREAKING NEWS: INGRID BETANCOURT RESCUED