Film Claims Colombia Paid FARC Rebels to Free Betancourt

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A documentary film claims the Colombian government faked its dramatic 2008 rescue of politician Ingrid Betancourt and 14 other hostages, and in fact paid rogue FARC guerrillas millions of dollars for their release.

The official version of events is that the government tricked the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – FARC) into handing over the hostages in Operation Jaque, which was hailed as a coup for the security forces.

However, according to journalist Gonzalo Guillen, who made the film “Operacion Jaque: Una jugada no tan perfecta” (Operation Checkmate: Not Such a Perfect Trick), the Colombian government negotiated the hostages’ release by paying two rogue guerrillas $100 million dollars.

The film’s co-producer claimed that the military faked the operation to boost the standing of then-Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos, who won the 2010 presidential election.

The film claims that the government negotiated with two FARC rebels known as “Gafas” and “Cesar,” who initiated the process by contacting a lawyer. Both men were arrested in the operation, but Guillen claims that nothing is known about their current whereabouts.

Ingrid Betancourt, a French-Colombian presidential candidate, was kidnapped in 2002. She was held along with many other hostages, including three U.S. contractors.

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