After the stunning rescue last week of 15 hostages held by FARC rebels in Colombia, Ingrid Betancourt — the most well-known of those rescued after being held hostage for six years — has urged the end of a vocabulary of hate against her former captors.
I think we have reached a point where we must change this radical, extremist vocabulary of hate of very strong words that intimately wound the human being.
Though her sympathy for her captors sounds a little Stockholm Syndrome-y, she says she has no illusions as to the true nature of the group, but that a honey trap of kindness would be a better way to ensure more hostage releases.
And there are many more to be released from the group one American is calling "terrorist." To see the extent of the situation,
Despite the high-profile rescue last week, the 14 saved are the tiniest portion of those being held. It's thought that at least 700 to 2,000 Colombians remain in the custody of the rebels, and the rescue has destabilized the group — whose main source of income is ransom money — endangering those left. One mother whose son was abducted ten years ago, feels the sting stronger now that rescues have been shown possible. She says, “I know my son isn’t a trophy, but I demand to have him back.”
In the US, the three Americans rescued echo that concern. Marc Gonsalves, one of those saved, says, “there are people in this exact moment who are being punished because we got rescued successfully.” He went on to call FARC "a terrorist group with a capital T." The three men are said to be in good health despite their concerns including Keith Stansell who has 5-year-old twin sons that he's just met.
Which is a better method to negotiate for the release of the hundreds of hostages left? Honey, or force? Was the rescue mission a good move given the number still held? How will they be rescued now that the "trick them" hand has been played?