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Colombia: 10 ‘Last’ Armed Forces Hostages Released by FARC

On Monday April 2, 2012, four soldiers and six policemen, kidnapped by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) since 1998 or 1999, were released by that same guerrilla group in a rural area [es] between Meta and Guaviare (southeastern Colombia). The release of six of these hostages was announced by FARC late last year, and in February the group announced they would abandon kidnappings and release the remaining hostages.

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.

At 17:40 COT (22:40 UTC) the helicopters went back to Villavicencio bringing the former hostages back to freedom. Minutes later, they were sent to a brief medical checkup before being taken to Bogotá, where they met their families and received more medical attention.

Twitter overflowed with thousands of reactions to the news.

Diana Lara (@LaCura_) [es] tweets:

What's the outrage of the Uribistas (supporters of former president Álvaro Uribe Vélez) with the TV broadcast of the releases? What have they done to broker at least ONE? NOTHING!

While Mario Cabrera (@amarilloazulado) [es] celebrates with caution:

So happy for the release of the kidnapped. We can't forget those who kept them hostage during 14 years #nomoreFARC

Angela Ospina (@aodenicholls) [es] reminds her followers that the FARC is still holding civilians:

NGO País Libre says there are still 407 [civilian] people kidnapped by FARC. Is there someone [willing to] mediate for their return home? Will we stay silent?
Villavicencio, Colombia. April 2, 2012 -- A group of 10 hostages held for more than 12 years arrive on the tarmac in Villavicencio. Photo by Nestor Silva. Copyright Demotix.

Villavicencio, Colombia. April 2, 2012 — A group of 10 hostages held for more than 12 years arrive on the tarmac in Villavicencio. Photo by Nestor Silva. Copyright Demotix.

José Carlos García R (@JoseCarlosTecno) [es] writes:

After 14 years of despicable and awful kidnapping, this ‘good will’ from FARC should be answered with a good bombing

Some used humor, like El Chiflamicas (@elchiflamicas) [es]:

The Walking Dead! RT @Hora20: Today on H20 (a nightly radio opinion show): 10 kidnapped come back to life…

And not all users are celebrating the release. Ramiro Castañeda (@ramiroski_) [es] tweets:

I, actually, feel angered and outraged, by seeing these men with half of their lives destroyed because of the FARC terrorist. Let's not forget.

Daniel Arango (@stultaviro) [es] recalls how former hostage Ingrid Betancourt sought to sue the state:

Good for the kidnapped that were released. Tomorrow they'll sue the State and we all pay.

Julieth Beltrán (@JuliethBlues) [es] also remembers another release:

I'll never forget when they freed Moncayo and a lot of people said he looked like a guerrilla member. They went that far…

Meanwhile Andrea Salazar (@MssSookie) [es] expresses her thoughts on this release and on kidnapping in general:

Seeing this makes my country hurt. I'm glad they recovered their freedom. But [that] joy can't overcome the pain of what in principle shouldn't happen.

Juliana Fitzgerald (@Julianitra) [es] points out the irony in this release:

I live in the strangest country in the world, a paradise which makes war by proclaiming peace.

Similarly, Luis G. Forero (@LuisGForero) [es] points out:

Las liberaciones NO son un acto humanitario que hay que agradecer, pero SÍ son un gesto político que hay que apreciar en toda su dimensión

The releases ARE NOT a humanitarian act which should be thanked for, but ARE a political gesture which should be appreciated in its whole dimension.

Diego Pava (@salentoq) [es] refers to William Domínguez, a former FARC hostage released in 2009 and murdered in a bar fight in September 2011:

And the government should isolate these kidnapped from the press, we don't want more Domínguez soldiers

Yoyoma Carrillo (@medio_evo) [es] tweets:

Liberación humanitaria? Después que lo tuvieron en un campo de concentración y encadenados como animales.

Humanitarian release? After they put them into a concentration camp and chained as animals.

Colombia en ruinas (@PaisEnRuinas) [es] mentions the role of the army:

Este es un triunfo de nuestro Ejército que nunca cedió a los requerimientos de los terroristas, los asedió y fueron obligados a liberarlos.

This is a victory for our Army which never gave in to the terrorists’ request, besieged them and forced them to release them.

Finally, Camilo Martínez N. (@CamiloMartinezN) [es] declares:

OJO, comunidad internacional debe recordad que el criminal, asesino, terrorista y secuestrador son las farc! No olvidar!! No caer en juego!

BEWARE, the international community should remember that the criminals, murderers, terrorists, and kidnappers are the FARC!! Don't forget! Don't fall in their trap!

The released (date of captivity): Army First Sergeant Luis Alfonso Beltrán Franco (1998-03-03), Army First Sergeant Luis Arturo Arcia (1998-03-04), Army First Sergeant Robinson Salcedo Guarín (1998-08-03), Army First Sergeant Luis Alfredo Moreno Chagüeza (1998-08-03), Police Intendent in Chief Carlos José Duarte (1999-07-10), Police Sergeant Major César Augusto Lasso Monsalve (1998-11-01), Police Intendent in Chief Jorge Trujillo Solarte (1999-07-10), Police Intendent in Chief Jorge Humberto Romero (1999-07-10), Police First Sergeant José Libardo Forero (1999-07-10), and Police Intendent in Chief Wilson Rojas Medina (1999-07-10).

1 comment

  • It is a very good sign that they have been released. Maybe these guerrilla groups will start lo learn that they cannot obtain everything by violence.

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