Colombian rebels free U.S. Army veteran
BOGOTA — Colombia's main leftist rebel group on Sunday released a former U.S. Army private whom the guerrillas seized in June when he refused to heed local officials' warnings and wandered into rebel-held territory.
Kevin Scott Sutay, who is in his late 20s, was quietly turned over to Cuban and Norwegian officials along with the International Committee of the Red Cross in the same southeastern region where he had disappeared four months earlier.
Secretary of State John Kerry immediately thanked Colombia's government in a statement for its “tireless efforts” in securing the Afghanistan war veteran's release. He thanked the Rev. Jesse Jackson for advocating it.
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, had said it was abandoning kidnapping as a condition for the triggering of peace talks that began 11 months ago to end a half-century internal conflict. Cuba and Norway are facilitators in those talks.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos resisted FARC efforts to make what he deemed a “media show” of Sutay's release, and no images were released of the jungle handover or of his reported late morning arrival in Bogota, the capital.
The rebels first announced in July their intention to free Sutay as a good-faith gesture, but the liberation was delayed.
On Oct. 8, the FARC published on its website what it billed as a recounting of Sutay's life in his own words that it prefaced by describing him not as the U.S. agent it originally suspected but rather a vagabond traveler — “a classic gringo, a gum-chewer and marijuana smoker, who with backpack on his back, blue jeans and a few dollars in his pocket lights out to know and travel the world.”
Santos' firmness on prohibiting a ceremonial release included objecting to the FARC-endorsed intercession of Jackson, who met with rebel leaders in Cuba in late September and said then that he would go to Colombia to lobby on behalf of Sutay's release.
Sutay was delivered to U.S. government representatives at Bogota's airport, according to a statement issued by the Cuban and Norwegian embassies.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- In Paris, nations, investors to pledge billions for climate change research
- Senators call for 20,000 more troops in Syria and Iraq
- Climate summit spawns protest marches around world
- Israel suspends contact with some EU groups over labels on exports
- EU expects ‘immediate’ clampdown on migrants in $3.2B deal with Turkey
- Norway mulls using medical heroin to prevent deadly overdoses
- Iran gives investors glimpse of $30 billion in oil deals to come
- Pope Francis appeals for peace amid tight security in Central African Republic
- A third of world’s cacti threatened with extinction, report says
- Mexico seizes El Chapo’s planes, cars, houses
- Kenyans accused of spying for Iran