Caracas, June 1 (Special for OrinocoTribune.com)—Eight soldiers kidnapped by Colombian narco-terrorist groups at the beginning of this month in the border area of Apure state were rescued this Monday, May 31, in an operation called Centennial Eagle.
The news was confirmed by the Bolivarian National Armed Force (FANB) through a statement shared on social media networks by Minister for Defense Vladimir Padrino. In the document, the military organization detailed that two additional soldiers are the subject of an ongoing search.
En este momento, acompañados de un excelente grupo de médicos militares, brindamos atención a 8 valerosos patriotas, quienes encontrándose secuestrados por grupos criminales colombianos, hoy fueron rescatados en el estado Apure. Nada nos detiene. #FANBEnDefensaDeLaDignidad https://t.co/1wXXXtQO1L
— Vladimir Padrino L. (@vladimirpadrino) June 1, 2021
According to initial reports the rescued soldiers are Lieutenant Colonel Jean Carlos Beomontt, First Lieutenant Jhonny Yaguare, Frigate Lieutenant Álvaro Flores Berroterán, Sergeant Major 3rd Class José Antonio Ramos Dávila, Sergeant 2nd Class Aular Lara, Frigate Lieutenant José Emilio Torres Pérez, Frigate Lieutenant Luis Cova, and Sergeant Major Paúl Hernández.
The Venezuelan soldiers and officers who were rescued and freed in Apure, near La Victoria, arrived in Caracas on Monday night. Once in the capital city, they received—on the orders of President Nicolás Maduro—medical attention that will allow specialists to evaluate their health. This was reported by the Operational Strategic Commander of the Bolivarian National Armed Force (CEOFANB), Admiral Remigio Ceballos, through his Twitter account.
Ceballos reported that the troops were received by Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López and Captain Diosdado Cabello.
Ceballos also congratulated and thanked all who made the planning and execution of the rescue plan possible. Several photos were released showing the moment that the captured Venezuelan soldiers were received.
Telesur journalist Madelein Garcia covered the rescue operation and posted several tweets on her account showing the soldiers being met by Padrino, Ceballos and Cabello. In her tweet she reported that the soldiers were rescued through a negotiation operation with the participation of high-ranking Venezuelan officials.
The Telesur correspondent also captured the moment the soldiers arrived at the hospital in Fuerte Tiuna, Caracas, to receive comprehensive medical evaluations, on Monday night just before midnight.
#PrimeraImagen de los 8 militares rescatados. Este fue justo el momento cuando lo 8 militares llegaron al Hospitalito de #FuerteTiuna y fueron recibidos por el Ministro @vladimirpadrino. Actualmente le hacen chequeo médico. pic.twitter.com/XunswNDLtS
— Madelein Garcia (@madeleintlSUR) June 1, 2021
Anti-Chavista and extreme-right social media influencers launched a campaign during the morning of this Tuesday, June 1, to discredit and degrade the operation, arguing that it was the result of a negotiation, and failing to recognize the negotiation capabilities of the Venezuelan authorities which allowed the officers to return safe and sound without any bloodshed.
Minister Padrino emphasized that the Venezuelan army will continue operations to expel Colombia narco-terrorist groups, who operate freely in Colombia and are trying to occupy Venezuelan territory for their illegal activities.
Featured image: Venezuelan Minister of Defense Vladimir Padrino receiving with affection one of the soldiers released from captivity, held by Colombian narco-terrorist gangs. Photo courtesy of CEOFANB.
Special for Orinoco Tribune by Jesús Rodríguez-Espinoza
Jesús Rodríguez-Espinoza is an expert in international relations, Venezuelan politics and communication. He served for several years as Consul General of Venezuela in Chicago (United States) and prior to that he was part of the foundational editorial team of the website Aporrea.org. He is founder and editor of the Venezuelan independent and anti-imperialist website Orinoco Tribune.