Colombian Government Creates Obstacle to Hostage Release
News from Colombia |
on: Monday, 22 December 2008
The Colombian Government has responded to yesterday's announcement that the FARC guerrilla group are to free six hostages by announcing that they will not permit any foreign involvement in the release. It is unknown if such a move will sabotage the initiative, though five previous releases in January and February this year were all brokered by Colombian civil society leaders with international support – most notably from President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela.
The FARC announced that they would release six hostages after an exchange of correspondence with civil society coalition 'Colombians for Peace' which is led by Liberal Party Senator Piedad Cordoba. However, in comments today, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, rather than welcoming the move, appeared to pre-empt suggestions from Senator Cordoba that international mediators could help secure the releases.
"The government will not permit our foreign relations to be put at risk by involving personalities from the international community," Uribe said before claiming that international involvement would allow the guerrillas to put on a "show".
His comments appeared to be directed at President Chavez who Uribe abruptly fired from his mediation role in February this year after Chavez and Cordoba had negotiated the release of five politicians being held hostage by the guerrillas. Senator Cordoba responded to Uribe's negative comments by saying that she was confident that the proposed release would still go ahead sometime next month though exact details were still not clear.