Saturday, December 1, 2007

SIDESTEPPING DIPLOMATIC PROTOCOL, ONE SEES THE AMERICAN HAND IN COLOMBIAN HOSTAGE NEGOTIATION

Hostages in Colombia on Videos

Footage Seized From Three Suspected Guerrillas Gives Families 'Proof of Life'


Washington Post Foreign Service Saturday, December 1, 2007; Page A08
CARACAS, Venezuela, Nov. 30 -- Captured videos on Friday gave the outside world the first look since 2003 at three Pentagon contractors held hostage in Colombia, showing them to be haggard but alive. French Colombian writer and former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt was also shown, looking thin and dispirited.
The videos, seized by the Colombian army from three suspected guerrillas in Bogota on Thursday night, brought relief to hostage families as far away as Connecticut and Paris.
. . . But the Colombian government on Friday also came under criticism related to the hostages. President Alvaro Uribe's decision last week to end Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's role as a mediator with the FARC touched off a bitter diplomatic dispute . . .
. . . Colombian Sen. Piedad Cordoba, who had been working with Chavez to release the hostages, said the videos had likely been meant for the Venezuelan president to see.
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Knowing the close American association (meddling?) in Colombian affairs, it's not difficult to understand who was behind and involved in 'bitter diplomatic dispute.'
A newspaper--any newspaper, but particularly a newspaper like the Washington Post, that lays claim to being investigative--wouldn't pass on a mention of diplomatic dispute without looking into who and when and why and where.
Hello there, WaPo--Investigative (designed to find information or ascertain facts, in case you need a motto to hang over the mirrors in the washrooms). Is there no urgency of inquiry to the who, when, why and where?
Or do we already know where that leads and are unwilling to go there?
"Uribe had accused Chavez of sidestepping diplomatic protocol." Someone might remind President Uribe that the very reason you bring in a neighboring president to negotiate what you are unable to negotiate, is to sidestep diplomatic protocol.
Until Washington calls, because you chose the wrong negotiator. And you change course, look foolish, endanger hostages and show what a pimp you are by calling off the man who can solve the problem.

* For more in-depth articles by Jim on Outside America, check out Opinion-Columns.com