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Successful Hostage Rescue Could Lead to a Third Term for Uribe

Friday, July 4, 2008

BOGOTÁ, Colombia -- The stunning rescue by Colombian soldiers of 15 guerrilla hostages, including three American contractors and a one-time presidential candidate, brings the government closer to victory in its long civil war. This latest success could also pave the way for an unprecedented third term for President Álvaro Uribe, a prospect that worries some analysts.

In the meticulously planned operation, the Colombian military infiltrated the communications network of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, and convinced units holding prominent hostages that a guerrilla leader wanted the hostages transported to another region. In a jungle clearing in southern Colombia, surrounded by dozens of armed guerrillas, two guerrilla commanders and 15 manacled hostages boarded a disguised helicopter. But, instead of another guerrilla camp, the hostages were flown to freedom and the guerrillas to prison. ...

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