Colombian Catholic Church Wants Direct Dialogue with the FARC

By Dialogo
July 08, 2009

I agree in that they shouldn’t make a “show” of this case, sirs, they are human beings, remember that you pay very harshly for the mistakes committed in this world. Have a little pity. They are human lives; they aren’t an old shoe dust rag. Use it instead to shake out the hatred and resentment in your souls. Colombia, don’t give in to shameless murderers such as FARC. Bogotá, 6 July (EFE).- The Colombian Catholic Church today asked the head of the FARC, “Alfonso Cano,” to engage in a direct dialogue that would make it possible to reach an agreement on the exchange of hostages for captured guerrillas as a prelude to peace negotiations. The archbishop of the city of Tunja, in the center of the country, Msgr. Luis Augusto Castro, indicated in the context of the annual meeting of the Colombian Bishops’ Conference that the Church wants “to be able to talk to them face to face, personally and not just accompanying them.” “This is a direct message and a message that I hope they hear soon, because it seems to me that it would be a very good thing to be able to have a dialogue,” the prelate said. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) indicated in a statement issued last week that they would hand over a member of the military wounded in combat, about whom no one had had information, along with Cpl. Pablo Emilio Moncayo, and that they would accept the presence of the Catholic Church at the release of the two hostages. The general secretary of the Colombian Bishops’ Conference, Fabián Marulanda, said for his part that the release of hostages cannot be made into a “show.” “This should not be made into a spectacle,” Marulanda emphasized. Kidnapping and violence in Colombia will be the central topic of the meeting of the ninety members of the upper clergy of the Catholic Church in Colombia, which began today and will conclude on Saturday. The FARC said more than two months ago that they would hand over army soldier Pablo Emilio Moncayo to opposition senator Piedad Córdoba, but the Colombian president, Álvaro Uribe, is opposed to the legislator’s presence. President Uribe insists that he will not permit the subject of the release of the twenty-three hostages in the hands of the FARC, whom the guerrillas hope to exchange for their comrades held in Colombian and U.S. jails, to be used for propaganda or for an electoral “show.”
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