Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez is meeting with members of the FARC and Colombian envoys to arrange a humanitarian exchange, where Colombian hostages like former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt and Clara Rojas who have been captive for more than 10 years would be released in exchange of certain actions the Colombian government would have to take. Some pictures taken during the humanitarian exchange discussions stuck like a thorn in many bloggers’ sides.
A photo gallery of the pictures in question can be found at the Bolivarian Press Agency's site.
For a bit of background, Kate, in A Colombo-Americana´s perspective, writes:
The humanitarian exchange [is] to be realized between the Colombian government and the FARC terrorists. Colombians have been divided on this topic; some feel that the negotiation is good, in that FARC will have a chance to prove itself to be trustworthy, with a more long-term goal being that they will become a formal political actor; others have condemned this mediation as a way in which the FARC will make lofty promises without fulfilling their end of the bargain, as their past track record, coupled with the way they have viciously affected thousands of Colombian families, leaves much to be desired.
One of the mediators, chosen by Colombia's president Álvaro Uribe Velez, is the opposition´s Senator Piedad Córdoba, and the polemic pictures from APB (Bolivarian Press Agency) have leaders of the terrorist group FARC arm in arm with Senator Córdoba, who is wearing a matching beret and holding a flower bouquet with a slight smile in her face.
El Observador Solitario [es], in his post titled “Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer” writes about how this decision to have Piedad Córdoba from the opposition sent to discuss the humanitarian exchange, is futile. He supports his theory with two points, mentioning that not only are the FARC´s conditions for the exchange ludicrously high at this point, but that the FARC is currently divided. This agreement would only take place with a fraction of the insurgent organization, and that currently the FARC has the upper hand now that they've expanded into Venezuela and have found a safe haven there.
According to blogger Víctor Solano, Piedad Córdoba has mentioned that the pictures were taken out of context, [es] that she had just snatched the beret from one of them as a joke and that she was surprised with the bouquet between her hands.
Ricardo Buitrago [es] writes sharply in his post “Piedad's offensive hug”:
La foto del emotivo abrazo de la senadora Piedad Córdoba con los jefes de las FARC, en su reciente reunión en el palacio Miraflores constituye una nueva bofetada del grupo insurgente, que con la indolencia y permisividad de quienes se proclaman defensores del pueblo, han hecho del dolor de los familiares de la victimas del conflicto y del pueblo colombiano, rey de burlas. No se le podía olvidar a quien abraza efusivamente a los subversivos, que estos fueron los que cometieron el atroz crimen de los 11 diputados, los mismos que han efectuado cualquier cantidad de atentados con numerosas victimas en el país, los que trafican con drogas y los que tienen a numerosas personas retenidas en condiciones de cautiverio infrahumanas.
The photographs of the emotive hug between Senator Piedad Córdoba and the FARC leaders, in their recent meeting in the Miraflores palace [in Venezuela] represents the newest slap in the face from the insurgent group, which with the indolence and permissiveness of those who proclaim themselves defenders of the people, have made the pain of the families of all the victims of the conflict and the Colombian people in general, a laughing matter. She shouldn't have forgotten that she was effusively hugging the subversives, those are the ones who committed the heinous crime of the 11 deputies, the same who have orchestrated countless attacks with numerous victims in the country, those who traffick in drugs and who have held numerous people as hostages in inhumane conditions.
¡Vaya error de Piedad Córdoba! Sonreír en medio de conversaciones conducentes, esperamos, a la liberación de prisioneros y, además, colocar en su cabeza una boina que posiblemente simboliza la siembra de confianza.
Some, like Víctor Solano in Desnudos (untying knots) [es] stand on a wary middle ground, waiting to see what happens, and hoping it´ll all be worth it in the end. He writes that the pictures raise his suspicions of Cordoba's work with Venezuela's president Hugo Chávez and the FARC. Nevertheless, they are the only concrete actions that have been taken to reach the humanitarian exchange which would allow hostages to return to their homes and it is up to Senator Piedad Córdoba to prove that all this fraternization with Chavez and las FARC will be conducive to firm actions.Víctor closes his separate article in ¿Comunicación? [es] with the following phrase:
Si Córdoba quiere fortalecer su gestión debe tener claro que comunica tanto lo que dice como lo que no dice; lo que muestra como lo que esconde.