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Colombia: Released Videos Shows Silence From Hostages

Categories: Latin America, Colombia, Costa Rica, Venezuela, History, Human Rights, Politics, War & Conflict

The proof of survival videos and images that were discovered last week when 3 emissaries of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) [1] terrorist group were captured, contains poignant images of several of the hostages the FARC has in their power. These videos were allegedly on their way to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, as part of the conditions for the humanitarian exchange negotiations which were halted a week and a half ago.

There are videos and images of hostages [2] who speak about the conditions they live under, the concentration camp-like quality of their prisons, and other hostages just take the time to send their love and regards to family and children. One of the most talked about videos has been the one which shows ex-presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, kidnapped on February 2002, who stares out straight ahead while sitting very still, only her blinking eyes are proof that it is a video and not a still image. She didn't speak a word, but her sad, haggard face, her stick thin arms and silence spoke volumes to many .

Ingrid Betancourt might not have spoken on the 55 second long video [3], but she wrote a long letter to her family, and the content of that letter was leaked and was published on El Tiempo newspaper and website and then transcribed on Costa Rican blog Por la Boca Vive el Pez [es] [4], much to Ingrid's family's indignation [5]. In this extensive letter, she tries to cram years of her life in torturous captivity, while sending out love to her children, ex-husband and mother.

Durante mucho tiempo hemos sido como los leprosos que afean el baile, los secuestrados no somos un tema “políticamente correcto”, suena mejor decir que hay que ser fuertes frente a la guerrilla aún sin sacrificar algunas vidas humanas. Ante eso, el silencio. Solo el tiempo puede abrir las conciencias y elevar los espíritus.

For so long we've been like the lepers who spoil the party. As hostages we aren't a “politically correct” topic, it sounds better for them to say that they have to be strong towards the guerrilla but without sacrificing some human lives. To face this, silence. Only time can open minds and elevate spirits.

Another type of silence is that of all the other hostages out there in the FARC concentration camps, those who are not deemed important enough to merit sending out videos and letters, and whose families are still waiting for a sign of life, waiting to see if they have any right to hope for them to come home.

Bloggers such as Bluelephant [es] [6] criticizes the reactions of some politicians like Piedad Córdoba [7] who do not miss a chance to take advantage of any situation to back their own agendas.

Esas caras descompuestas, granulosas, que miramos desde la distancia con total impotencia mientras los políticos de todos los pelambres -empezando por Uribe y Chávez- los capitalizan electoralmente (qué vergüenza Piedad Córdoba acreditándose su existencia, jugando a la política con esas cartas (y con sus lágrimas) …

Those uncomposed pixelated faces we saw through the distances with complete impotence while every type of politician -starting with Uribe and Chávez- capitalize on them electorally (Shame on Piedad Córdoba, crediting herself with their existence, playing politics with those cards (and her tears)…

Others like Octav at Crítica destructiva [es] [8] condemns the situation and the way these people are being used as merchandise to be exchanged.

Maldito tiene que ser un pueblo que permite que se utilice la vida y la libertad de las personas como mercancía y no exige…y obliga a los responsables a liberarlos y por el contrario, le sirve y le da beneficios inclusive por encima de los representantes que éste mismo eligió.

Damn those people who allow the lives and freedom of people to be used as merchandise and who don't demand and force those responsible to free them, those who instead work for them and give them benefits over the representatives that they themselves have chosen.

Alejandro in Diary of an unknown programmer [es] [9] wonders why these videos weren't sent as email earlier as examples of good will.

…lo que no puedo tolerar es que sean tan brutos como para decir que esos tipos iban para donde Chavez como mensajeros,,, ¿Es que acaso no existen los mails? Para qué carajos tienen una puta página web donde montan sus fechorías y sus maldades, no podrían hacer algún tipo de upload en Youtube de cualquier video de los secuestrados y enviarlos periódicamente?

…what I can't tolerate is that they are so ignorant they say these guys were going to Chávez as messengers… Are we in a world where email does not exist? Why on EARTH do they have a f-ing web site where they upload their wrongdoings and evil, but they can´t upload on Youtube any of the videos of the hostages periodically?

The video which includes US citizens, Colombian hostages and French-Colombian citizen and former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt can be seen at the El Tiempo newspaper's site [10], along with other video material.