Sunday, June 8, 2008

American Hostage, prisoners of the FARC

I found this article in another blog.
The hostages are:
  • Marc Gonsalvez
  • Keith Stansell
  • Thomas Howes
American Hostage Crisis, Day 1,749: Prisoners of the FARC
On February 13th, 2003 four Americans under contract with the U.S. government and a Colombian citizen onboard a Cessna 208 crashed in the Colombian jungle. They survived. Unfortunately, they were deep within territory controlled and patrolled by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, widely referred to as the FARC, the largest armed insurgent force in the Western hemisphere. The revolutionaries soon surrounded the crash site. They executed pilot Tom Janis and Colombian Luis Alcides Cruz on the spot. They took the three other Americans, Marc Gonsalves , Keith Stansell, and Thomas Howes, prisoner. And so they remain to this day. Five years held hostage in the Colombian jungle.
I do not support the U.S. government’s “War on Drugs.” I am highly critical of the U.S government’s foreign policy history in Latin America. But I can find only heartbreak and tragedy in the plight of Marc, Keith, & Tom. They were, quite simply, doing their jobs as employees of California Microwave Systems, a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman. They were flying in support of U.S. and Colombian law enforcement agents combating narco-trafficking in Colombia. To a large extent, these three American citizens have been forgotten by their nation, ignored by their media, and flushed from the consciousness of their fellow citizens. They are perhaps caught in the unfortunate position of being contractors; mercenaries in the eyes of many. Ineligible for the “outrage from innocence” that uninvolved citizens would gain, deprived of the patriotic tendency to protect “our boys” in uniform. But they are still citizens, and regardless of your feelings on the drug war and our support for the government of Colombia’s 40 year counter insurgency war, we can not deprive our fellow citizens of our empathy. They were doing their job, aiding U.S. and Colombian law enforcement officials, they crashed, and now five years of their lives have been spent in captivity.
Here is what I propose: In one month, on February 13th, on the fifth anniversary of their imprisonment, I would like to see every blogger and journalist with which we have the slightest influence post something about Marc, Keith, & Tom. Anything. Decry the drug war. Rail against the communist-based, narco-trafficking insurgents. Rage against Western imperialism in Latin America for all I care. Just remember Marc, Keith, & Tom. Express concern for their welfare, and hope for their freedom. Demonstrate to their families that they are not forgotten. Help spread the word. If you have a blog, mark the date, prepare a post. If you don’t, send an email to your favorite blog. I don’t care if anyone link’s to this post, I really don’t. Just get something posted. Let’s spread this far and wide. This is something that can cross nearly all ideological boundaries. I don’t know what good this can do, but I would like to think that it might elevate the issue in the minds of influential parties. Hostages have been released for lesser public relations reasons.
In the coming weeks, I intend to post more about their captivity, the FARC, the hundreds of other Colombian hostages, and Colombia’s 40+ year civil insurgency. I will, without doubt, include much subjective vitriol against USG policy related to the drug war, but that really doesn’t matter. What matters is Marc, Keith, & Tom.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...


02 July, 2008 14:09  

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