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Ingrid Betancourt

November 23, 2007 | Chris Kraul, Times Staff Writer
Families of kidnapping victims reacted with anger Thursday after Colombia's president canceled authorization he had given Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to negotiate a prisoner swap with leftist guerrillas. President Alvaro Uribe ended the controversial mediation by Venezuela's firebrand leader after Chavez attempted to talk directly to Colombia's armed forces commander for information about the hostages.
September 24, 2008 | Chris Kraul, Times Staff Writer
The renaming of a U.S. Embassy wing here in honor of a pilot killed by leftist rebels five years ago is expected to add a poignant postscript to the rescue of his three passengers by Colombian commandos in July. The 2009 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill coming to a vote soon in Congress contains an amendment by Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) proposing that a section of the bunker-like embassy be renamed in honor of Thomas Janis. Passage is likely.
December 27, 2007 | Chris Kraul, Times Staff Writer
In an unusual twist to an ongoing hostage saga, President Alvaro Uribe has agreed to let emissaries of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez travel to the Colombian jungle to take custody of three kidnapping victims set for release by their leftist rebel captors. The exchange could take place as early as today. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, said last week that it would release hostages to Chavez if the logistics could be worked out.
June 13, 2010 | By Chris Kraul, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Colombian soldiers have freed three members of the nation's security forces from rebel captivity, President Alvaro Uribe announced Sunday. Police Brig. Gen. Luis Herlindo Mendieta, the highest-ranking officer held by rebels, and Col. Enrique Murillo were freed in a military operation in Guaviare state, in the country's southeast, Uribe said at a community meeting in Choco state in the northwest. Details of the operation were not immediately available. Later Sunday, the Defense Ministry said a third hostage, army Sgt. Arbey Delgado, had also been rescued and that troops were hoping to rescue a fourth hostage, army Col. William Donato, who was thought to be in the area.
June 5, 2007 | Chris Kraul, Times Staff Writer
President Alvaro Uribe on Monday began releasing 193 jailed rebels, including a leader who was kidnapped in Venezuela in 2004 and turned over to Colombian authorities. For nearly five years, Uribe had refused to swap any of the hundreds of guerrillas in Colombian prisons for the estimated 3,000 hostages held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, and other groups.
December 9, 2007 | Angela Doland Associated Press
"Not a day of your captivity goes by that I don't think of you," the teenager said into a radio microphone in Paris -- a message he hoped would reach his mother deep in the jungles of Colombia, where she has been held hostage for nearly six years. Ingrid Betancourt, a French-Colombian citizen, was abducted by leftist guerrillas while campaigning for Colombia's presidency in 2002.
March 28, 2009 | Chris Kraul
The would-be killers mounted a daring plan: renting a property adjacent to Colombian Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos' suburban farm and secreting police uniforms, weapons and motorcycles at the site to facilitate a Holy Week assassination. Once again, Colombia's largest rebel group, known as the FARC, was trying to kill Santos. In revealing the foiled plot this week and announcing the arrests of 11 alleged rebel conspirators, Colombian National Police commander Gen.
July 3, 2008 | Chris Kraul, Times Staff Writer
Fresh from a ride on a fast boat used to chase narcotics traffickers, John McCain on Wednesday praised this nation's efforts to crack down on its illicit drug trade. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee, on the second day of a Latin American tour, also continued touting a proposed free-trade pact between the United States and Colombia that faces stiff Democratic opposition in Congress.
A minor Colombian presidential candidate was apparently kidnapped by leftist rebels over the weekend while attempting to enter an increasingly anarchic zone once ceded by the government to guerrillas for peace talks. Ingrid Betancourt, a former senator who won popularity in Europe for a memoir about her fight to expose corruption in Colombia, was reported missing late Saturday along with her campaign manager, Clara Rojas.
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