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Clara Rojas


Clara Leticia Rojas Gonzalez is a Colombian tax lawyer, university lecturer, and campaign manager for former senator and presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt. She was kidnapped along with Betancourt by the FARC guerrilla group near San Vicente del Caguan on February 23, 2002, while Betancourt was campaigning for the presidency. After the kidnapping, Rojas was named as Betancourt's vice-presidential candidate.

In 2006, it was revealed that Rojas had given birth to a boy named Emmanuel while in captivity. The father was said to be a FARC guerrilla.

Rojas had last been seen publicly in a video released by the guerrilla group in 2003. However, on January 10, 2008, Rojas and former congresswoman Consuelo Gonzalez were freed after six years in captivity.

Operation Emmanuel

On December 27, 2007, the FARC guerrilla group was said to be planning the imminent release of Rojas together with her son and congresswoman Consuelo Gonzalez in a one-sided prisoner release negotiated by Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.

Chavez planned their release in an operation dubbed Operation Emmanuel, using Venezuelan aircraft and with the support of the Red Cross.

Emmanuel

The FARC delayed the release of the hostages because the child, Emmanuel was missing. According to reports, the FARC had placed the child in custody of a peasant family and he could not be found in time for the target day of release of the hostages. In the meantime, the Colombian Government learned that a child fitting Emmanuel's description was in the custody of the Colombian Institute for Family Welfare (ICBF) on December 31, 2007. On January 2, 2008 the government called the FARC's bluff, and verified that the child was Emmanuel. Subsequently, on January 4 according to the Colombian Government the child was subjected to a mitochondrial DNA test. According to the Institute of Legal Medicine of Colombia, the test verified that he is in fact the son of Clara Rojas. Noticias politicas de Colombia - ELTIEMPO.COM -> Nino en poder de Gobierno si es el hijo de Clara Rojas; asi se confirma tesis de Uribe de por que las Farc no liberaron rehenes This information was subsequently confirmed as accurate by FARC. Emmanuel had become ill as a baby, and Rojas had allowed her son to be taken to a doctor for care on the condition that he would be returned to her. Instead, he was placed into the care of a peasant who did not know to whom the child belonged.

Release

After being temporarily suspended, the operation resumed and, on January 10, 2008, a humanitarian commission headed by the International Committee of the Red Cross flew in two Venezuelan helicopters to a location in Colombia that had been designated by FARC the previous day. Rojas and Gonzalez were then released to the care of the commission.

On January 13, 2008, Clara Rojas was reunited with her son, Emmanuel; the first time she had seen her son after being parted from him for more than two years.

See also

Colombian armed conflict

Humanitarian exchange

Ingrid Betancourt

Operation Emmanuel

External links

http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/12/26/america/LA-GEN-Colombia-Hostages-Thumbnails.php

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/03/world/americas/03colombia.html

http://edition.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/americas/12/28/chavez.hostages.ap/

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Clara Rojas


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