Colombian Government Demands FARC and ELN Account for Kidnappings

By Dialogo
August 08, 2011

Colombian Defense Minister Rodrigo Rivera pointed to the leaders of the FARC, “Alfonso Cano,” and the ELN, “Gabino,” as those responsible for the safety and well-being of 252 kidnapped compatriots and demanded their immediate release.

“Mr. Cano: the FARC should set the captives free, and in regard to those whom they murdered while they were being held, they should tell the truth, indicate their whereabouts, and make reparation to the victims,” Rivera said at the presentation of the new National Policy for the Defense of Personal Liberty.

He revealed that the FARC is holding more than 200 people, of whom evidence of life is available for only 46, and he indicated that this terrorist group and its highest-ranking leader, alias Alfonso Cano, should answer to Colombia and the international community for those victims who have not returned.

“There are 154 victims, not counting the other 46 people for whom there is evidence that they are alive and being held captive, without denying that some organizations, such as País Libre [Free Country], have documented more cases,” the high-ranking official affirmed.

With regard to the ELN, he said that there are 98 kidnapping victims from whom their families have never heard. “I ask Mr. alias Gabino: where are the 98 kidnapping victims from whom their families have never heard? The ELN should return them, like those whom it continues to hold captive,” Rivera added.

The minister reiterated that for the national government, there is no asymmetry among the victims of terrorist groups. “They are all equal and suffer the same violation of their dignity, independent of whether they were part of the old AUC, common criminals, guerrillas, members of criminal gangs. What really matters to the government is that the perpetrators, without exception – I repeat, without exception – should answer to the courts, meaning zero impunity,” the minister indicated.