Thursday, July 31, 2008

Handling kidnappers in Colombia

Gateway Pundit has been posting some fantastic reports about the success of Colombia in curbing violence in their violence racked country. This is in great part due to President Alvaro Uribe’s superb handling of the FARC insurgency.

It’s hard to get a handle on the methods used. Most press accounts don’t report them (the Washington Post a notable exception) but a Colombian acquaintance gave me some insight on how Colombia is curbing kidnapping. Kidnapping is the financial lifeblood for terrorists. It is easy, rewarding and relatively risk free. Victims are generally from well off families who can afford ransom payments.

This Colombian had been kidnapped himself but escaped and is now living in southwest Florida. He told me he could never return to Colombia. “They would kill me” he said. To curb kidnapping the Uribe government immediately puts a hold on all financial accounts when a family member has been kidnapped. They are allowed to withdraw enough to meet normal expenses, but they can’t meet ransom demands. By taking the decision not to pay ransom from the family, terrorist lose their leverage. It must be heart rending, but it is working. Kidnapping is down 83% since Uribe took office.

If only the European countries in Iraq would learn this lesson, there would be far fewer civilian kidnappings and less money in the hands of the terrorists. The Italians are the worst. And they wonder why their citizens are kidnapped so often.

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