Discovery Channel Documentary Reveals US Role in Operation Jaque

By Dialogo
June 19, 2009

Bogotá, June 17 (EFE).- To mark the first anniversary of the “Operation Jaque” in which fifteen FARC hostages including former Colombian presidential candidate were liberated, Discovery Channel will release a documentary on the key role that the United States played in that operation. According to the documentary, presented today to the press in Bogotá, the United States’ played the major role in the covert operation. Washington provided the key technical resources for “Operation Jaque,” carried out on July 2, 2008, which freed Betancourt, American civilians Marc Gonsalves, Thomas Howes and Keith Stansell intelligence operators for the Department of Defence , and eleven Colombian military and police officers. An aircraft Platform ( intelligence) was provided by the United States to contribute to the communication network of the operation. The aircraft’s first task was to intercept radio communications of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). “We are always monitoring,” admits American Ambassador in Bogotá, William Brownfield, in a fragment of “El Rescate Perfecto” (“The Perfect Rescue”), the title of the documentary that recreates the operation in the Colombian eastern jungles, and that will be released on June 30. The film, directed by Colombian Jaime Escallón, presents in 43 minutes – ten of them of archive images – the details of the “Operation Jaque,” with emphasis on the three Americans. The documentary reconstructs the kidnapping of these Pentagon contractors, abducted on February 2003 in the Colombian southern jungle, after their plane crashed during a "Plan Colombia" mission, an American aid program offered to the South American country in support of the fight against drugs and guerrilla. The former Colombian general Mario Montoya admits in the documentary that the event forced the United States to assign several resources in the search for their citizens. Montoya led the Jaque’s planning and execution team as Army Commander. "El rescate perfecto" includes testimonies of 28 individuals involved in the operation, former hostages Gonsalves and Stansell declarations, as well as American expert in military affairs David Spencer’s statement. "We were interested in summing up what the operation meant (...), and they (Gonsalves and Stansell) also wanted to tell their stories,” said Colombian documentary producer Juan Pablo Santos during the presentation. According to Santos, this "is one of the most incredible stories of the Colombian conflict." The producers of “El rescate perfecto" recorded approximately eighty hours in military barracks in the centre of the country and on flights over the jungle, among other scenarios. Speaking through a videoconference from Miami , the Director of Production and Development for the Discovery Networks in Latin America, Michela Giorelli, stated that the Colombian armed conflict and the FARC “are of importance for international history”.
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