Friday, November 23, 2007

Colombia: Hostages’ families want talks to resume

The families of victims currently held hostage by Colombian guerilla factions are upset and disappointed over the halt of negotiations. Approximately fifty people protested in Bogota’s main plaza yesterday over President Alvaro Uribe’s decision to remove Hugo Chavez as mediator. As the head of one hostages’ families organization said:

The lives of those held hostage by the FARC is ahead of any political reasons, which is why we ask the president to reconsider his position and allow President Chavez to return to his duties.” – [ed. Personal translation]

As we briefly mentioned yesterday, the Venezuelan government accepted Uribe’s decision though expressed its “frustration since a process is aborted that was being carried out…amidst great difficulties.”

Another government frustrated with Uribe’s edict was that of France that has supported Chavez’ mediation to free French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt.

Who’s to blame for the end of negotiations? Several parties according to the Center for International Policy:

The guerrillas once again deserve condemnation for precipitating the entire situation by cruelly holding hostages for so many years. They also come under fire for their continued rigidity at every stage in these initial conversations…

The Uribe government gets some of the blame too. After “authorizing” (Colombian Senator Piedad) Córdoba and President Chavez, it did little to make their difficult job any easier…President Uribe made a show of nominating the two “facilitators,” then washing his hands of the whole affair.

Image- BBC News (“Sen. Cordoba (right) was involved in a series of talks with rebels”)

Sources (English)- Associated Press, Reuters, The Latin Americanist, Xinhua, Plan Colombia and Beyond

Sources (Spanish)- El Tiempo, RCN

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