Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

American Hostages Rescued in Colombia

Colombian military spies tricked rebels into giving up 15 political prisoners Wednesday, including three American Defense Department contractors and former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, Columbia's defense minister said.

The three Americans — Marc Gonsalves of Connecticut, Thomas Howes and Keith Stansell — worked as Pentagon contractors for a Northrop Grumman Corp. subsidiary. They were captured in 2003 when their drug surveillance plane went down.

Betancourt, who was kidnapped a year earlier by the leftist guerillas — also known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC — as she was running for president, was rumored to be in poor health. As she was also a French citizen, the French government had been campaigning for her release.

Juan Ferraro, who has been following this story, spoke about the rescue and what it means for the families of the hostages.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit