Friday, November 28, 2014

Colombia: After FARC Said Captives Would Be Released on Nov. 29, FARC Says Nov. 30, Causing President Santos to Look Foolish

According to The Latin American TribuneColombian Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzón has said that delays in the planned release of an army general, corporal and lawyer seized by a leftist rebel group two weeks ago were unjustified.

“There are no justifications or explanations for the delays. We hope that these people return to their families, in compliance with the protocols,” the defense minister said Thursday (November 27).

A statement released by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) said Gen. Ruben Dario Alzate, Cpl. Jorge Rodríguez and attorney Gloria Urrego would be released on Sunday (November 30) and not on Saturday as announced by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.

The kidnapping of the general and his companions from Choco Department prompted President Santos to suspend peace talks with the FARC being held in Havana.

On Tuesday, the guerrillas freed soldiers César Rivera and Jonathan Díaz as part of the agreement to release the general and his companions.

The handover is being mediated by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and representatives from Cuba and Norway, guarantor countries of the peace negotiations.

COMMENT: On Wednesday, the Defense Ministry received the coordinates of where the three are to be released and suspended military operations in the region in the area to allow the ICRC humanitarian operation.

The defense minister said that the government had fulfilled its part of the deal “to comply with the protocols of the ICRC that there be a suspension of military operations in a given area.”

It was now the FARC’s turn to “comply with the protocols” agreed upon and release the three hostages, he said.

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