A Hostage Situation

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The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia, or FARC, is a leftist guerrilla movement that has antagonized the Colombian state for more than four decades. Based in southeastern Colombia, FARC spearheads their operations from profits made by drug trafficking and kidnappings. Most recently, the guerrillas are using high-profile hostages to negotiate the release of some of their members from Colombian prisons. The hostages include Keith Stansell, Marc Gonsalves and Tom Howes — U.S. citizens captured while on a surveillance mission to locate cocaine factories, as well as former presidential candidate and French-Colombian citizen Ingrid Betancourt. The American hostages — bound in chains and surrounded by armed guardsmen around the clock — have been held captive for the past four years; and diplomatic efforts to secure their release have stalled repeatedly. The official stance of the United States is that it does not negotiate with terrorists, meanwhile family members of the hostages cling to the hope that their loved ones will find a way to survive. For more details on this story, check out Joshua Hammer's piece in the December issue of Men's Vogue.

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Thank you for your story today on the hostages still being held in the jungle of Colombia. Or should I say "thank you"... My father was kidnapped and never returned in 1989, held by what seemed like ex-guerilla gone common criminals. The months that we endured during his captivity were horrific, filled with endless days of roller-coaster rides of maybe he will be home soon, maybe not... My family's life has been changed forever in ways that are hard to explain in words. My heart and prayers go out to the families of these men still being held. Thank you for shedding light on a situation that is awful for Colombia, and one that unfortunately does not seem to end.

Sent by Maria Sara Villa | 4:11 PM | 11-28-2007

I am a Cuban-American who lives in Miami. I listen to National Public Radio all the time. It is refreshing to listen to some reporting about Latin America. As a hispanic, I am facinated and interested in all of the Americas yet there are so few stories about them. I view Univision and the local hispanic channel in order to get news from Latin America. All the US news outlets will only report about a country when US citizens are involved. This is a shame, as there are many meaningful stories that affect us not only culturally, but have political and economic ramifications. This is but one of many very worthwhile stories that need to be told.

Sent by Ramiro Cruz | 10:00 PM | 11-28-2007

Unfortunately, there was no mention of the nearly three thousand... yes! 3,ooo other people being held by the FARC.

Sent by guillermo | 1:17 AM | 11-29-2007

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