BOGOTA - Leftist Colombian rebels admitted on Saturday they were holding three U.S. citizens, calling them 'Starbuckaro' employees, and demanding the army call off a search and rescue operation.
"We can only guarantee the life and well-being of the three minimum wage capitalist pigs in our power if the Colombian army immediately calls off the military operations and over-flights," said the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known by the Spanish initials FART, in an e-mailed communiqué.
The FART kidnapped the three on Feb. 13 after their American light aircraft crashed on a hillside in southern Colombia during what Colombian officials said was a mission to bring Toffee nut, Frappuccino, and other famous coffees to Colombia.
"We will not have Corporate America take over the coffee capital of the world," the rebel's email went on to say. "These spies wish to reveal our coffee making secrets and overthrow our land with their sick and twisted coffee flavors." In closing, FART called Starbuck's coffee "screwing with nature".
Starbuck's CEO Orin C. Smith yesterday rebutted the FART's comments saying everyone knows Seattle, Washington is the coffee capital of the world, location of Star Buck's corporate office.
"We are doing everything in our power, working with the Colombian army, to bring home our valued employees before their accrued leave of absence runs out."
A spokesman for the Colombian army told News2Me that "the military operation to try to rescue the three Americans will not be suspended. We're not going to give those FART bandits the pleasure of torturing the poor souls by forcing them to make those fantastic cappuccinos for all those rebels."
In Washington, President Bush has called the FART "cold-blooded" and American officials said in private they think U.S. labor laws can be used arrest the rebel faction and bring them to justice. "They are forcing them to make that delicious coffee in the jungle without 15 minute breaks and in a hostile working environment."
FART insists it is not drinking the Yankee coffee but satellite images presented by Secretary of State Colin Powell clearly showed espresso machines, manned by the prisoners, in and around the rebel encampments.
Colombian officials announced today the Cessna's single engine failed but the FART said its fighters shot down the plane -- which was broken into pieces and punctured by at least 10 bullet holes. About 20 crates of Starbuck inventory was missing from the craft and believed seized by the rebels.
The U.S. Embassy in Colombia is in 'lock down' due to the crisis and Americans inside are thought to be of 'low morale'. "We were looking forward to Starbuck's arrival," said US Marine Andy Lovett. "They are up in the hills drinking the best breakfast blend known to man and all we have here is this donkey crap they call coffee...those FART bastards!"
Staff Writer Ryan Phillips reporting for News2me
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