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Colombia: Outrage after failed FARC hostage release

On December 8, 2010, in an open letter to former senator Piedad Córdoba, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) announced they would release five hostages: local politicians Marcos Baquero and Armando Acuña, from San José del Guaviare and Garzón, respectively; marine infant Henry López; national police official Guillermo Javier Solórzano; and army corporal Salín Sanmiguel.

After obtaining permission from the national government, and the participation of Brazil as mediator and logistics provider, the hostage releases, assisted by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), were taking place without any difficulty: on Wednesday February 9, Baquero was released (even bringing a cat [es] from the jungle, who was his only companion [es] during his captivity); and on Friday, February 11, councillor Acuña and infant López met again with their families. On Saturday it was announced that another hostage would be released on Sunday, police officer Carlos Ocampo, kidnapped late December 2010 in San Antonio, Tolima.

However, things did not go as planned on Sunday. Initially, bad weather was blamed as the cause for the delay of the operation. Ocampo was freed after being picked up from an unknown location and taken to the Ibagué airport (central-western Colombia), and later to Bogotá where he was reunited with his relatives. But Solórzano and Sanmiguel were not present at the coordinates provided by FARC to former senator Córdoba. Eduardo Pizarro Leongómez, who was appointed by the Santos administration as delegate for the releases, told the media that the FARC had given the wrong coordinates and that the kidnapped were not in Tolima but in Cauca (southwestern Colombia).

Many Colombian Twitter users expressed their outrage:

María Isabel Ángel (@MaisAngel) (1, 2):

Con el envío de falsas coordenadas, las FARC demuestran que no había ningún acto humanitario en entrega de secuestrados. Quién sabe que hay detrás de eso, la interrupción de operativos militares para liberaciones les conviene de algún modo.

By providing false coordinates, FARC shows there was no humanitarian act in the release of the kidnapped. Who knows what's behind that, the suspension of military operations for the releases is convenient [for them] in some way.

José L. Peñarredonda (@noalsilencio) (1, 2, 3, 4):

La pregunta complicada que hay que responder es si @Piedadcordoba actuó o no de mala fe. A la larga, a @PiedadCordoba le convenía más que todo saliera bien. ¿Pero si los uribestias tienen razón después de todo? Si las Farc usaron a @PiedadCordoba para ganar ventaja estratégica, eso cambia muchas cosas[, p]ero si @PiedadCordoba usó al Gobierno para darle ventaja estratégica a las Farc, pues lastimosamente los uribestias tenían razón

The hard question which should be answered is if @Piedadcordoba acted with bad faith or not. Ultimately, it was better for @PiedadCordoba if everything turned out okay. But what if ‘Uribeasts’ [a derogatory term to refer to supporters of former president Álvaro Uribe] are right after all? If FARC used @PiedadCordoba to gain a strategical advantage, that changes many things, but if @PiedadCordoba used the Government to provide FARC a strategical advantage, then unfortunately the ‘Uribeasts’ were right

Camilo Andés (@n0ta_mental):

y para mi que @piedadcordoba y su grupito armado Farc, están transportando droga del Tolima al Valle usando las liberaciones como excusa!!

I'm sure @piedadcordoba and her little FARC armed group are moving drugs from Tolima to Valle [del Cauca] using the releases as an excuse!!

@Vulturno:

estos hijueputas de las FARC se parecen cada vez más a esos generales que sacan el resultado a punta de caguémosla y despues nos disculpamos

these FARC motherf***ers increasingly seem like those army generals who achieve results by screwing it up first and apologizing later

@ensergio:

Las Farc son unos desgraciados y buscan show. Pero si mañana se puede de nuevo coger el helicóptero pa liberar a la gente, ¿no vale la pena?

FARC are bastards and seek to make a show. But if tomorrow the helicopter can be used again to free people, isn't it worthy?

Victor Solano (@solano):

Lo de hoy con las falsas coordenadas recuerdan otros episodios de mentiras enormes de las farc como el caso de Emmanuel, hijo de Clara

Today's news with the false coordinates remind us of other episodes of huge lies by FARC as the case of Emmanuel, [politician] Clara [Rojas's son]

Since FARC top leader Guillermo Sáenz, aka Alfonso Cano, is long believed to be hiding at Las Hermosas National Park [es] (which is close to the area where the hostage release operation took place), with the Colombian Army actively pursuing him, some Twitter users claim the false coordinates were a strategy:

Diana (@DianaPala):

Los defensores d Colombianos x las Farc serán tan ignorantes q se tragan cuento d “error” en las coordenadas? Las dieron falsas! Entiendan!

Those defending Colombians for FARC [derogatory term to refer to ‘Colombianos por la paz,’ [es] (Colombian's for peace)] are so ignorant that they buy the “mistaken” coordinates story? They were false! Get it!

Juan Gutiérrez (@JuPaGuCa):

Sabe usted cuando vamos a saber de Alfonso Cano. Cuando alguno se lo encuentre en Isla Margarita. Y sin duda ya va a mitad de camino.

Do you know when are we going to know about ‘Alfonso Cano'? When someone stumbles upon him in Margarita Island. There's no doubt he's already halfway.

Daniel Arango (@stultaviro), with irony, writes:

Felicitaciones a @PiedadCordoba. El operativo de liberación del comandante Alfonso Cano fue todo un éxito.

Congratulations to @PiedadCordoba. The release operation for commander Alfonso Cano was a complete success.

Still, some questioned the government's version, like Laura Gil (@lauraggils) (1, 2):

No entiendo cómo se pasa juicio a favor FARC o Gob ref: liberaciones. Nadie sabe exactamente qué pasó. ¿No deberíamos tener cosas + claras? / Pregunta para los q tienen todo claro sobre incidente liberaciones: como sabe el Gob q los dos secuestrados estan en Cauca?

I don't get how one exactly favours FARC or the Gov't re: releases. No one exactly knows what happened. Shouldn't we have things clearer? / Question for those who have full clarity about the release incident: how does the gov't know the two kidnapped are in Cauca?

On Sunday night, Pizarro announced [es] that early on Monday February 14, the ICRC would propose an area in Cauca for the hostage releases to be finally completed, but that military operations will resume in Tolima at 06:00 (11:00 UTC) on Monday, as previously agreed.

Thumbnail image by Flickr user Agencia Prensa Rural, used under a CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license.

3 comments

  • Augus Menmar

    EN ESTE ARTÍCULO SE PERCIBE CLARAMENTE: 1] Santos hizo el imbécil (cosa que no parecía ser) 2] Santos es cómplice de piedad cordova, FARC y chavez y se hace el pendejo engañado- como el celador que se hace pegar de sus amigos ladrones para decir que es un “no cómplice” – 3] Santos es indeseable en su gestión de destruir los narcoterroristas FARC bolivarianos y sus cómplices dentro de Colombia (cordova, benedetti, pastrana, samper, gaviaria, duzan, coronel, etc.)

    Eso de nombrar sus mejores amigos a correa y chavez que financian, soportan y protegen a los narcoterroristas que masacran colombianos es traición a la nación Colombia.

  • […] Colombia: Outrage after failed FARC hostage release · Global Voices […]

  • […] Once again former senator Piedad Córdoba and a group called Colombianos y Colombianas por la Paz (Colombians for Peace, CCP) brokered the release. Two Brazilian helicopters left the airport of Villavicencio to pick up the hostages, with two delegates of the International Commitee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Ms Córdoba and Olga Amparo Díaz from CCP. […]

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