Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Colombia: Kidnapped Gen.Ruben Dario Alzate Requests to Leave Active Duty

According to The Latin American Tribune, Colombian general Ruben Dario Alzate, who was released last Sunday (November 30) by the FARC after being held hostage for 14 days, said on Monday (December 1) that he has asked to resign from active duty and revealed that during his captivity he was handcuffed and threatened by his captors, rendering him a potential threat in the future.

“Out of love and respect for our military institution, which has been affected because of this deed, I have asked the National Government to (allow me to) withdraw from active service,” said the general in his first appearance before the press at Bogota’s Central Military Hospital wearing his dress uniform and accompanied by his wife, Claudia Farfan.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), released Gen. Ruben Dario Alzate and the two other hostages being held with him on Sunday.

Alzate, Cpl. Jorge Rodríguez and attorney Gloria Urrego were kidnapped on Nov. 16 in northwestern Colombia.

The three captives were “in perfect condition” when released and President Juan Manuel Santos said in a statement later that the release of the general and his two companions had created the proper climate for resuming the peace talks in Cuba that had been suspended two weeks ago.

COMMENT: I still find it bizarre that the FARC’s political affront to President Santos in releasing the trio a day later than promised strangely had no political consequences.

Santos suspended the peace talks with the insurgents in Havana following the abduction of the three in the remote village of Las Mercedes in the jungle province of Choco.

A few days later, the two sides agreed on conditions for freeing the hostages as soon as possible to open the way for a resumption of the negotiations to end the conflict in Colombia.

The FARC said in a statement released Sunday in Havana that it had freed the three captives and wanted to “redesign the rules of the game” in the peace process, and called on the government to agree to a bilateral cease-fire.

No public statement was made by the Colombian government regarding a request for a bi-lateral cease-fire.

The General is the highest-ranking military officer ever kidnapped by the FARC, which classified him as a prisoner of war.

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