CARACAS, Wednesday April 01, 2009 | Update
The Colombian army swept the camp that sheltered Raúl Reyes, one of the strongmen of the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC). Upon his death, his e-files triggered innumerable conflicts. Few months later, it was the demise of Manuel Marulanda Vélez, the FARC founder. Shortly afterwards, the guerrillas was beat again. In a "neat operation," the army rescued ex presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt and other hostages. Venezuela and the world closely followed up these events
Ingrid Betancourt, dressed in camouflage, was welcomed by her mother, Yolanda Pulecio, in a heartfelt act at Bogotá Airport File Photo: Andrés Mata Foundation / Inaldo Pérez / AFP
The Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) were the indisputable leading characters that year. The release of Clara Rojas and Consuelo González, with the help of Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez and Colombian Senator Piedad Córdoba, was the advent of multiple events ranging from attacks on clandestine guerrilla camps, to the killing, in one raid, of guerrilla leader Raúl Reyes and also the death of Manuel Marulanda Vélez, the FARC commander-in-chief.
Besides the political effects of Reyes' death due to the contents found in his e-files, the most significant news was Operation Jaque. It was a military operation where the Colombian government rescued ex Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, who had been held hostage in the jungle for six years.
The reunion with her children, her mother, her people; her visit to France, her second homeland; and the display of affection around the world, marked Betancourt's comeback to life. This woman formerly engaged in politics turned out to be the official spokesperson, able to bring a message of hope to the rest of men and women who face an ordeal for being illegally deprived of their freedom by rebel groups which operate in the Colombian jungle.
Upon her release, the talks among the Colombian government, friendly nations and the guerrillas continue to try to put an end to the scourge that started more than 50 years ago.
Back to Venezuela, after their victory in a referendum on the draft constitutional reform opposition political parties signed an agreement to run for mayors and state governors in the local election of November.
While the agreement was partly fulfilled and despite legal obstacles, such as the Comptroller General's decision to bar some political leaders from elected public office, opposition candidates were elected as governors in the states of Miranda, Táchira, Carabobo, Zulia and Nueva Esparta, while opposition leader Antonio Ledezma won the election as Caracas Metropolitan Mayor.
Also in the field of elections, but in the United States, Senator for Illinois Barack Obama became the first US Afro-American President after an unprecedented campaign.
Both Obama and his Republican challenger John McCain had to stress the economic issue in their election campaigns in the aftermath of a financial crash that dragged the mortgage sector along. Initially deemed as a once-in-a-while event, it ended up being an unprecedented collapse with unforeseeable effects on the global economy.
Just one year after his failed attempt at reforming the Constitution, President Chávez insisted on the subject and strongly recommended the National Assembly to discuss the possibility of an amendment.
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