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“Hostage Nation”

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“Hostage Nation” is a story of interaction between Columbian politics and economy. It focuses also on Columbia’s relationship with the United States and the release of the three contractors held captive in Columbia in February, 13, 2003 for over five years after their plane (Cessna plane) crashed. The U.S.A had tried to send more troops in rescue mission but they failed largely because of the effects of the local sympathizers of the FARC group. The story is narrated by two Columbian journalists who were better positioned to narrate the story. They had also recorded the kidnapping of the presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt. Her husband’s efforts to aid to rescue her were however frustrated by his fear that her step could culminate in her death. In 2006 the author restructured the hostage story into a new narrative, “the wealthiest and the lethal insurgent army in the world”.

Botero became the focal point when he became the first journalist to interview them and even to report that the hostages were alive after five months. They narrate the story as it unfolds. They provide accounts of events as they happen step by step and they even include the fight on drugs. (Plan Colombia)The U.S. policy had started during the reign of Clinton, extended during the reign of Bush but diminished drastically during the reign of Barrack Obama. The story, “Hostage Nation”, revolves around the three Americans who were held hostage(Thomas Howes, Keith Stansell and Marc Gonsalves),who worked with California Microwave systems, which worked under  Northrop Grumman, a company that was hired to carry out plan Colombia.

The plane that had carried the there had been downed by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (the government of Colombia).After shooting it with several bullets  the engine  failed. The government of the U.S. avoided negotiations and remained adamant in rescuing the hostages because they feared they could have been murdered. The plan Colombia was attempting to wipe out the Guerrilla fighters and the drug trade. The drug trade was rampant in 1970’s where marijuana and cocaine were being traded. Under the President Reagan, the U.S.A had started to fight against the menace. During the same period, kidnapping, carried out by the Columbian revolutionary Armed Forces had started to take shape. Initially they had kidnapped an oil exploration worker and an agricultural worker and held them demanded for money. They requested 38 dollars for 7 men.

The increased sale of cocaine in Colombia drastically falls during the period of the 2rd World War. The FARC group was increasing at a very high rate to the extent of threatening the government. The group became hostile with time during the period of the late 1990’s.In 1999, they killed 136 people. They also killed Diego Turbay, who was the Head of Congressional peace Commission in 2000.Alvaro Ulimbe, whose father had been killed by the FARC, came into power on 26th, May,2002 with a mission of combating the group. The period saw the FBI investigation group under the leadership of Noesner investigating the matter of kidnapping involving the American citizens. The three hostages and the kidnapped presidential aspirant however are rescued in 2008.Although in May, 2003, President Uribe had attempted a military rescue  the FARC group had already heard the sound of the helicopters. They annihilated all the prisoners and fled away from the area. The U.S military however did not hesitate to go on with the routine search for the three American hostages.

After the U.S. airplane crashed, they were redundant to carry out investigation. Later investigation was done through the use of DOD and they realized that the plane crashed because they were operating it beyound its handbook limitation. Towards the end of March, 2003, there were no traces of the Americans. Joyjoy, who was known as the military leader of the FARC, was responsible for the series of successful actions that the group had performed. However, the group denied. Three hostages at the residing area of FARC had already been separated into different cells and no communication was allowed . The surveillance mission of the U.S.A troops was halted for one month after the plane crash of 13th, February, 2003.

The CMS Company of  the U.S.A that was initially undertaking the surveillance soon changed its name to CIAO on 24th, February, 2003 and started its mission on 25th, March, 2003.On the same day another U.S.A plane crashed. After investigations were done at the crash site, bullets were found on the bodies showing that the FARC group could have been responsible for the crash. The switch from CMS to CIAO was a great obstacle towards the compensation that had to be paid to the  relatives of the victims. Northrop Grumman who was the former manager of the CMS Company denied the responsibility of the second crash since the contract with his workers had ended when  the company changed its name.

The involvement of the U.S.A in a drug fight was meant to protect the country’s government from accountability could. The story becomes complicated because the rescue is intertwined with the Byzantine account of the prevailing Colombian politics. The rescue of the three hostages is made possible through the help of the former FBI hostage negotiator, Gary Noesner and a journalist, Botero. During his university education, Botero Jorqe Enrique had been arrested because of political dissidence. He had already gained a public image after he revealed that Cali Cartel had funded the presidential aspirant at that time, Ernesto Samper. Botero had been granted permission to interview FARC revolutionary and also to talk to his former friend Cano. He was also given a rare access to the military videotapes and the military prisoners who were kept there in a pathetic situation.

Botaro had a chance of interviewing the prisoners while he was there. Although the government had tried to put obstacles to him limiting him not to put the images to the public, he had already shown the pathetic images to the public portraying the suffering the prisoners were undergoing. The work of Botaro met a lot of opposition especially by the group that thought he was supporting the FARC group. His life was even threatened at one time. Botero was granted the access to the  3 American hostages .The Americans thought that he was manipulating them. The results of the interview and the research he had conducted were handed over to the U.S.A government and that proved that the hostages indeed were still alive. The FARC group used the hostages as a pawn to further their interests and declared that any attempt to rescue them would directly culminate in their execution.

High ranked officials of the group among whom was Trinidad were captured in Ecuador,  later taken to Colombia and then to  the U.S.A  being  charged with drug trafficking. The release of Trinidad among FARC members were demanded in exchange for the release of the three American citizens who were held hostage. The United States government acknowledged the condition and accepted to release them in return for the three lost Americans. Some of Europe’s citizens were held hostage in the group’s camp. Ingrid Betancourt’s had requested for permission to be visited by her husband and sister but the group refuted the request since she had earlier tried to escape from the prison together with another lady, Clara Rojus. Bentakurtz husband had tried many times to use democracy to free his wife but the attempt had failed. While at the captivity, Clara Rogers managed to give birth to a baby boy. The baby was taken by the guerillas that had no conducive environment to take care of it. Uribe had approval and had done a lot in fighting against the guerillas. He also requested the U.S.A government to assist him in his effort.

U.S.A increased its support to Colombia by giving donations. The government of U.SA donated 3.3 Billion dollars to help in the fight against cocaine. Later the U.S.A government claimed that the money had been misused. The trial of the guerilla leader was one full of fear and anxiety as the U.S did not know what was in store for them. They feared losing the three citizens who were held hostage in the FARC camp. As the trial of the group leader continued, Pierdad Cordoba and Botero teamed up together to try and negotiate the release of the hostages. They travelled through in U.S and Colombia during this mission. Later after a myriad of attempts by Cordoba and Botero, their mission bore fruits as the captives were finally released. The end of the story presents the win of The U.S contractors. The hostages are rescued and Botero asserts that as far as the military industrial make lives complex, drug wars must be pursued.

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