Bogotá, October 13 (SP). With reference to the item published by The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald, repeated by certain other media, the Commander in Chief of the Army and Acting Minister of Defense General Freddy Padilla-de León wishes to make the following statement:
1. “Operación Jaque”, which secured the rescue of fifteen people who had been kept in deplorable conditions by FARC for more than six years, as an initiative of the Colombian army and was devised by military intelligence personnel with the supervision, control and guidance of the high command of the army and the approval of the Government.
2. It should be noted that in mid-2008 a number of Colombian and foreign organizations were pursuing activities designed to secure the release of the kidnap victims, despite which the rescue of the three Americans, the French-Colombian citizen and 11 Colombian citizens was only possible as a result of intelligence work by the army and the professional and patriotic actions with which Operación Jaque was executed.
3. We note that only now, 100 days after the completion of the humanitarian rescue mission, have certain persons attempted to propose, for inexplicable and unknown reasons, new versions of the event which seek to discredit its successful oucome.
4. The information disseminated by the media tends to favor – unintentionally – the FARC version of the event, which has tried to justify the blow dealt to them in Operación Jaque. It pretends to minimize serious internal problems of command and control which have allowed the Colombian army to penetrate and infiltrate them, right to the top of their narco-terrorist organization.
The Government of Colombia hereby informs that:
1. Colombia and the United States have been allies and friends for many years. We consider the Free Trade Agreement a natural manner in which to strengthen our relation.
2. Colombia has always had a bipartisan approach from the US in their relations with our country. More than situational relations with one party or with one Government, these are historical and timeless relations between States.
3. By approving the TLC, the United States would be strengthening the financial growth of the two countries, supporting democracy, fighting against drugs and facilitating the road to peace and prosperity in Colombia and throughout the region.
4. We trust the Congress and the Executive branch will find a bipartisan solution in order to make progress regarding the approval of the agreement. Every day that passes by is a lost opportunity for the citizens of the two countries.
Bogotá, April 10, 2008.