The plan as carried out called for flying two helicopters into the camp where the hostages were being held, tell the bad guys they're moving the hostages to another camp on the orders of the insurgents' leaders, and fly the hostages to freedom. Shit...I could have come up with that plan if I thought it was, you know, actually possible.
Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos told reporters earlier in the day that the rescue mission had been made possible by "a special intelligence" operation that had penetrated the highest reaches of the FARC, including the group's seven-man directorate and one of the rings of specialized rebel units entrusted with guarding hostages. Santos said that ring, commanded by a rebel known by the alias Cesar, was tricked into believing that the FARC's leader had called for the hostages to be brought to him.Awesome. In your face, commies!
Yesterday, two white helicopters arrived in a jungle clearing where the hostages were being held. The men in the helicopters looked like guerrillas, Betancourt later said, describing details of the rescue at the military airport.
"Absolutely surreal," she said, noting that some of the men who got off the helicopter wore T-shirts emblazoned with the iconic image of the Argentine revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara. [Heh. --ed.] "I thought this was the FARC," she said.
Their hands bound, the hostages were forced aboard the helicopters, wondering where they would be taken next in their long ordeal. But once aboard, Betancourt said, Cesar and another guerrilla were overpowered and the crewmen announced that the passengers were now free. "The chief of the operation said: 'We're the national army. You're free,' " she said. "The helicopter almost fell from the sky because we were jumping up and down, yelling, crying, hugging one another. We couldn't believe it."