this will be a deathblow to the FARC. They just lost their best negotiating chips.
nd the loss of much of the territory it once held.
By FRANK BAJAK, Associated Press Writer 17 minutes ago
BOGOTA, Colombia - Colombian spies tricked leftist rebels into handing over kidnapped presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt and three U.S. military contractors Wednesday in a daring helicopter rescue so successful that not a single shot was fired.
Betancourt, who was seized on the campaign trail six long years ago, appeared thin but healthy as she strode down the stairs of a military plane and held her mother in a long embrace.
"Thank you for your impeccable operation," she told top military commanders. "The operation was perfect."
Eleven Colombian police and soldiers were also freed in the rescue, the most serious blow ever dealt to the 44-year-old Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, which considered the four hostages their most valuable bargaining chips. The FARC is already reeling from the deaths of key commanders a