Brazil Will Assist in Liberation of FARC Hostages if Objective is Humanitarian

By Dialogo
June 24, 2009

The government of Brazil is prepared to facilitate the liberation of hostages held by the Colombian FARC guerillas so long as the purpose is humanitarian and not political, the Brazilian chancellor, Celso Amorim, indicated in an interview published in Bogotá on Tuesday. “If the opportunity arises without any political intentions, in a purely humanitarian operation, we would do it, as we have before,” the chancellor - who recently visited Colombia - told the daily El Tiempo. Amorim indicated that at the moment there is no process of facilitation ongoing, and he emphasized that any Brazilian cooperation would need the the blessing of the Colombian government and exclude “the taking on of any roles that are not immediately useful.” In February, Brazil granted the use of its helicopters and pilots to receive two politicians, three members of the police, and a soldier who were in the FARC’s power in the Colombian jungle, after a request made by President Álvaro Uribe’s government. On April 16, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) announced the unilateral release of Army Cpl. Pablo Emilio Moncayo, kidnapped 11 years ago, but his release has not taken place due to Uribe’s refusal to allow opposition senator Piedad Córdoba to attend the handover, as demanded by the rebel group. Besides Moncayo, the Marxist guerrilla group holds another twenty-one police and military personnel and demands for their release a humanitarian agreement envisioning an exchange for captured members of the group. Brazil has offered its territory for carrying out this process, Amorim recalled.