US Diplomat Involved in Hostages’ Rescue Decorated

By Dialogo
June 15, 2009

Bogotá, June 12 (EFE). - American diplomat David Zimov, who was involved in the 2008 operation that rescued fifteen hostages kidnapped by the FARC, was decorated by the Colombian Senate, parliamentary spokespersons reported today. Zimov, who works as joint counsellor for political affairs and first secretary of the US Embassy in Bogotá, received the Title of Caballero on Thursday, in a ceremony held by the High Chamber, which stated that the decoration consists of a medal and a resolution by which it was conferred. In this way “his praiseworthy diplomatic work for the benefit of the ties between the American and Colombian Congresses” was recognized, the Senate press staff explained. The source emphasized that Zimov "acted as chief of the joint task force for “Operation Jaque,” which enabled the rescue of two Americans and the French-Colombian Ingrid Betancourt, as well as eleven Colombian soldiers and police officers, all of whom were kidnapped by the FARC. The operation, in which the Colombian Army simulated a humanitarian mission, was carried out on July 1, 2008 in the jungle of the southern department of Guaviare. The rescued people were on a list of kidnapping victims that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) intended to exchange for five hundred imprisoned insurgents, including several who had been extradited to the United States. After “Operation Jaque” and the further unilateral liberation of six hostages, the number of “exchangeable” hostages dropped to 22.