Yank Hostages Still Alive Years After Kidnap in Colombia

Seized tapes shows Americans & French pol
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 30, 2007 4:39 AM CST
Mariana Howes, left, Gene Stansell, center, and Lynne Stansell, right, relatives of three U.S. defense contractors kidnapped by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC, arrive at the Presidential...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – American hostages and a French-Colombian politician are apparently still alive in South America years after they were kidnapped by Marxist rebels, according to dramatic tapes just released by the Colombian government. Three American security contractors whose plane went down in 2003 are seen looking haggard against a jungle backdrop. Politician Ingrid Betancourt appears gaunt and apparently in chains.

A kidnapped soldier on one of the videos said the tape was made last month. A spokesman for French President Nicolas Sarkozy called the tape "big news—it is the first proof of life [for Betancourt] in more than four years." The insurgents want to swap hostages for rebels in Colombian and American jails. Some of their dozens of captives have been held for over a decade.