By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Thursday, December 8, 2016, US Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) spoke on the floor of the US Senate in support of the CAPTIVE Act and to request unanimous consent for its consideration.
The measure was blocked by Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) who objected to the request.
Senator Shelby said, “I rise to call up for consideration HR3394 – the CAPTIVE Act. I have long advocated for the Senate to pass the CAPTIVE Act, which passed the House by unanimous consent in July.”
Sen. Shelby explained, “In 2003, a group of Department of Defense contractors were on a counter-narcotics mission in Colombia when their plane crash-landed. These Americans were captured by members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as FARC, which is a violent guerilla group heavily involved in drug trafficking.”
Shelby continued, “My fellow Alabamian Thomas J. Janis, the pilot of the plane, tragically lost his life at the hands of these terrorists on February 13, 2003. The other three Americans aboard the flight were kidnapped, held hostage, and tortured for more than five years until they were finally rescued by the Colombian military. These heroes are now seeking justice for themselves and their families against those who have carried out unthinkable acts of violence.”
Shelby said, “The CAPTIVE Act is simple – it would make it easier for all US victims of narco-terrorism to recover court-awarded damages. “I believe that the family of Tom Janis and all of the victims of terror deserve nothing less than for the Senate to swiftly pass the CAPTIVE Act, and I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting them.”
FARC and the Columbian Government have recently negotiated an end to the hostilities in their fifty-year civil war. FARC began as the military army of the Columbian Communist Party; then attempted to seize control of the South American country by force in 1964 igniting a civil war that went on for decades. In the beginning, FARC was a Soviet Union and Cuban backed Marxist insurgent force. After the collapse of the Soviet empire and its largesse for Carl Marx inspired revolutionary movements, FARC turned to the powerful Columbian drug cartels for support. FARC controlled territory in the country turned to cocaine production feeding the USA’s insatiable demand for illegal narcotics, which in turn financed an escalation of the war. The U.S. sent military aid to assist the Columbian government against FARC, which was known for taking people hostage for years at a time. FARC as a narco-Marxist entity enjoyed its greatest success at one point seizing control of over half of the country, until a series of military setbacks turned the tide of the war decisively against the rebels.
The Columbian people recently voted down a United Nations backed proposed peace settlement with FARC on the grounds that the terms were too lenient. The two sides are back in negotiations. FARC has an estimated 5,000 fighters left in the field.
Senator Richard Shelby has represented Alabama in the US Senate since his election in 1986. Shelby was re-elected to a sixth term in the US Senate in November.