This Monday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez informed, during a speech to commemorate a civil-military coup he led in 1992, about the possibility that three former Colombian legislators, currently retained by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), could be released soon.
In January, while I was on vacation in Caracas, I witness the first hostage release made by the FARC. Clara Rojas and Consuelo Gonzalez de Perdomo were liberated on January 10th, 2008 after a rift between Chavez and the Colombian Government.
In his speech Chavez said that Venezuela is ready to receive this people (soon to be liberated by the FARC). Relatives of the people soon to be released are in Venezuela’s capital waiting for the FARC to release the hostages.
During the speech, Chavez said “We are ready. We urge the FARC to continue giving demonstrations of this type, independently of the attitudes of the Colombian government that is subordinated to the United States”
According to the source, the FARC has published a statement saying that they will release Gloria Polanco de Losada, Luis Eladio Perez and Orlando Beltran, for health reasons. They point out that this is gesture to President Hugo Chavez for his efforts to achieve a humanitarian release last year.
The process of mediation had started months before when Chavez offered himself as a mediator between the Colombian Government and the guerrilla FARC. However, when things were going well, the president of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe, unilaterally ended Chavez mediation citing Chavez´s attempt to be involved in Colombian internal affairs.
Here is where the rift between the two presidents started. The humanitarian accord was actually an attempt to exchange FARC hostages for more than 500 guerrilla people held in Colombian jails. However, as a gesture from the FARC to Chavez, Rojas and Gonzalez were liberated a few days after the Uribe-Chavez controversy.
The tension between Venezuelan and Colombian government has increased dramatically since then especially after Chavez has called for the removal of the FARC from the list of terrorist organizations.
The Colombian government insist on considering the FARC as terrorist and called for a massive demonstration that, although has been portrayed as “spontaneous” and “independent” it is definitely promoted by big business and the Colombian state.
Critics have spoken out that the march has been organized and manipulated by Colombia’s wealthy middleclass. Astrid Betancourt, sister of Ingrid Betancourt, former presidential candidate of Colombia held by the FARC since 2001, accused Uribe of “manipulating the pain of the families.”
While many of the relatives of the hostages are calling for bringing Chavez back as a mediator, many protesters on the anti-FARC march said that Chavez should go home and not to be involved in Colombian affairs.
Venezuela To Receive Three More Hostages Held By Colombian Rebels. By: Kiraz Janicke – Venezuelanalysis.com