SEMANA/Kidnapping | 1/7/2009 12:00:00 AM
Release of the six kidnap victims: the wait goes on
FARC political maneuverings have set back the hostage liberations that they had promised. It cannot be discarded that in the future the guerrillas will seek the intervention of UNASUR
A year later there is another inexplicable delay in the turning over of six hostages. Two weeks ago the FARC Secretariat announced that the FARC would free the former Meta department Governor Alan Jara, former Valle department assemblyman Sigifredo López, a sergeant from the Colombian Army and three policemen. But the humanitarian gesture still has not been finalized. This time, it isn’t known whether the delay is because of logistical reasons or if it is rather FARC political maneuvering with the Colombian government in order to ensure that, at the handing over of the hostages, along with representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross there are also representatives from the governments of Venezuela and Ecuador. The Colombian government has categorically rejected this proposal.
In the political realm, everything has changed. First of all, because of the bombardment of the camp of “Raúl Reyes” and the capture of his PC, the Colombian government has shown that in the two neighboring countries there were not just people acting out of philanthropy in those humanitarian delegations but rather that in some cases these delegations included those with political and military alliances with the FARC.
With this information in all of the continent’s newspapers it is difficult that the events of one year ago will repeat themselves. Secondly, with “Operación Jaque” or “Operation Checkmate,” the government annulled the FARC’s cause of humanitarian exchange, even though the government does not have a proposal to gain the freedom of those who remain captive by the guerrillas. It will be very difficult for the guerrillas to create a favorable international political scenario with the current hostage releases. Their credibility is weakened and many of those who before thought that the exchange was imperative, today think that the FARC simply should release their captives without expecting anything in return.
However, it is clear that the FARC Secretariat will take advantage of these liberations to launch a new political offensive that could include, according to sources consulted by SEMANA, stirring up the idea that the recently created Unión de Naciones del Sur (UNASUR), led by Brazil, undertake a humanitarian mission in Colombia.
In this case, it is hoped that the delay in the handing over of the six hostages is because of logistical reasons and not because of political calculus. It is known that Jara and López are in different locations and although the names of the soldier and the policeman are unknown, it’s possible that they are also in different regions and that at least one of them is in poor health.
In any case, after the series of errors committed by the FARC that started with the fiasco of the liberation of Emmanuel, it is unthinkable that they would try to repeat such a media spectacle, or that the guerrillas would subject the family members and the hostages to political maneuvers with the Colombian government and not concentrate on making a genuinely humanitarian gesture which is what, paradoxically, would help them regain some of their lost credibility.