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A Hostage Situation

by Ashley Grashaw
Nov 28, 2007

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The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia, or FARC, is a leftist guerrilla movement that has antagonized the Colombian state for more than four decades. Based in southeastern Colombia, FARC spearheads their operations from profits made by drug trafficking and kidnappings. Most recently, the guerrillas are using high-profile hostages to negotiate the release of some of their members from Colombian prisons. The hostages include Keith Stansell, Marc Gonsalves and Tom Howes — U.S. citizens captured while on a surveillance mission to locate cocaine factories, as well as former presidential candidate and French-Colombian citizen Ingrid Betancourt. The American hostages — bound in chains and surrounded by armed guardsmen around the clock — have been held captive for the past four years; and diplomatic efforts to secure their release have stalled repeatedly. The official stance of the United States is that it does not negotiate with terrorists, meanwhile family members of the hostages cling to the hope that their loved ones will find a way to survive. For more details on this story, check out Joshua Hammer's piece in the December issue of Men's Vogue.

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