The rescuers came wearing Che Guevara T-shirts and logos declaring them delegates of some obscure organization.What an incredible military operation. Truly demonstrates the first class nature of the Colombian military and intel services. Read it all,
They didn't look much like an international humanitarian brigade. And they weren't.
They were the Colombian intelligence agents who pulled off ''Operation Checkmate,'' one of the greatest military capers in Colombia's history -- a mission that would finally liberate the world's most famous hostage from the hands of leftist rebels in the jungle.
Without firing a single shot.
Betancourt said the hostages thought they were being picked up by some kind of international humanitarian organization to be taken to the FARC high command.Any time you get a chance to kick Commies in the nuts is a good day.
''Our hearts broke. More captivity. Another transfer,'' Betancourt said in a dramatic press conference minutes after embracing her mother. ``Every time we heard helicopters my pulse would race. Run, hide, gather your things. But this helicopter was white. It was exciting.
''It was surreal,'' Betancourt said, describing the bizarre white helicopter and the strangely dressed men who came for her. ``They had logos that certified they were a delegation of who-knows-what.''
She and the others were handcuffed as they boarded the chopper, which she described as ''humiliating.'' Once aboard, something happened so fast Betancourt missed it.
But then she saw ''César'' -- the ''cruel despot'' who guarded her -- subdued on the floor of the helicopter. The pilots turned and said the words she and the others had waited so long for:
``We are from the army. You are free.''