Politics 03-07-2018

I would do Operation Jaque again a thousand times: Juan Manuel Santos

On Tuesday, the president will commemorate the military intelligence action at the Monument to the Fallen Heroes, accompanied by the current defense minister, the military leadership, responsible for the operation and several of the rescued people.

On Monday, July 2, ten years were commemorated since the Colombian State carried out Operation Jaquea military intelligence action that resulted in the release of 15 people kidnapped by the former FARC guerrilla, among them, the presidential ex-candidate Ingrid Betancourt, three North Americans and 11 members of the Public Force.

This conquest of the National Army was "without spilling a drop of blood," as highlighted by President Juan Manuel Santos, then Minister of Defense in the second government of Álvaro Uribe Vélez, in an interview published by the Presidency of the Republic .

Operation Jaque was based on a deception or stratagem with a completely humanitarian objective. Beyond winning a confrontation, the Armed Forces posed as members of an NGO with the sole purpose of rescuing the "kidnapped in the heart of the jungle, the most powerful, most dangerous and oldest guerrilla in the continent. ", Remembers Santos. " This was perhaps the boldest , most ingenious and most successful military intelligence operation in recent history in the entire world," he says.

They were 22 minutes and 13 seconds of operation in which, without firing a single bullet, the State achieved its goal. "We are the National Army, welcome to freedom," the commander of the mission told the newly freed men as they left the captivity zone.

However, this intelligence action had effects that went beyond the success of the rescue. According to the outgoing president, "Operation Jaque had two diametrically opposed effects. For our Army, it was an injection of morale , enthusiasm, optimism, self-confidence. For the FARC it was a mortal blow to their morale, to their enthusiasm. In other words, it was decisive as an additional factor in the search for peace, because it took away from the FARC that capacity and that desire to continue the war. "

A little more than a month after leaving the Palace of Nariño, Juan Manuel Santos recognizes that not having taken advantage of the situation to attack the adversary, having had the opportunity, was essential for the success of the operation. "It was the Forces themselves, who said: 'No, this Operation has to be totally clean. That has more value and has more impact on the morale of the FARCthan if we do a kind of rake operation at the end of Operation Jaque '", he recalls.

For this reason, he affirms that this intelligence was essential to reach the Peace Agreement in Havana in 2016, by weakening the armed group as an organization "and breaking the will of the guerrilla commanders, so that it would be better for them to negotiate the peace to continue in the war . " "I would do it a thousand times because it was successful. It was an operation that nobody really will forget about her. The history books are already talking about her, "concludes Santos.

This Tuesday, at 9 o'clock in the morning, at the Monument to the Fallen Heroes, in Bogota, the chief executive will be commemorating this event, accompanied by the Defense Minister, Luis Carlos Villegas, the military leadership, responsible for the operation, and several of the people rescued.

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