February 28, 1980 – 1980 seemed to have been The Year Of The Hostage, by the looks of the first few months. No sooner were we getting used to the almost daily reminders and attempted negotiations to free the 52 Americans held hostage at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, we were now facing another hostage crisis where several American diplomats got caught in a siege and takeover of the Dominican Republic Embassy in Bogota Colombia.
Where the drama in Tehran began as a series of protests outside the compound there, the drama in Bogota began as a dinner party. As many as 60 hostages, among them a number of diplomats, were being held captive by leftist guerrillas. U.S. Ambassador Diego Asencio was among the hostages. He was able to telephone the American Embassy in Bogota and spoke with a senior Embassy official, telling him there were high hopes the women and those wounded in the previous days attack would be released sometime that day. According to the official, the Ambassador was in very-very good spirits. No details were given of the conversation, but Asencio did speak with his wife. The Terrorists holding Asencio and the others were still demanding $50 million ransom and the release from jail of political prisoners. A government representative was supposed to meet with the terrorists on this day in a bid to find a successful solution to the matter. The Terrorists set a deadline of 10 pm to have their demands met.
Meanwhile, in another hostage drama in another part of the world – It was day 117 of captivity for the hostages at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. Reports from officials at UN Headquarters in New York were waiting for word from the Waldheim Commission in Tehran that arrangements to visit the hostages were agreed to, but no such word as yet had been given. But until it is done and the meeting of the Commission takes place, the work of the commission will be drastically incomplete. So far, it had dwelled on one-half of its mandate; to air Iran‘s grievances. The other half was “to allow for an early solution to the crisis between Iran and the United States“. The commission replied that it could not submit its report until it has met with each of the hostages in order to ascertain the situation. The commission went on to indicate it was hopeful the Iranians would grant this request sometime that day.
And the waiting game continued.
And that’s just a little of what went on, this February 28, 1980 as reported by The CBS World News Roundup and The World Tonight.