Disorganized Rebels Duped By Hostage Rescuers

'Movie-plot' op exploited reb chaos
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 4, 2008 2:15 AM CDT
The commander of Colombia's Army, Gen. Mario Montoya, front, gestures in front of rescued hostages as they arrive to a military base in Bogota.   (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)
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(Newser) – The Colombian military's daring rescue of FARC guerilla hostages relied on increasing disarray within the rebel ranks, the New York Times reports. Latin America's longest-running insurgency has suffered a near-total communications breakdown in recent months. With the command structure in chaos and rebels depending on "medieval" communications methods, the time was right for the army to pounce.

Agents trained as actors and briefed on the local commander's psychological weaknesses rushed in and turned captors into captives without firing a shot. "There were a lot of people crossing their fingers,” an American official said. “More than one person who looked at this said, ‘My God, this looks like a movie plot.'" Many think the bold rescue of its best-known hostages will now accelerate FARC's disintegration.