Washington, DC – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) released the following statement praising the actions of the Colombian security forces to rescue three American citizens who were serving as civilian contractors in a U.S.-backed aerial eradication campaign and were taken hostage by the FARC after their plane was shot down in February 2003:

 “My best wishes go to Marc Gonsalves, Thomas Howes, and Keith Stansell, who will soon be reunited with their families after being held captive for many years by the Colombian terrorist group, the FARC.  This valiant operation by the Colombian security forces to rescue the Americans, former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, and the other hostages demonstrates that U.S. assistance to our reliable regional ally has yielded significant security dividends and will hopefully continue to improve the prospects of a peaceful and prosperous Colombia in the future.  Now is the time for the FARC and other terrorist groups to immediately release all other hostages.”