FARC Blames Uribe for Preventing Liberation of Corporal Kidnapped 11 Years Ago

By Dialogo
June 05, 2009

BOGOTA, 03 June 2009 (AFP) - The leader of the Colombian Guerrilla Group FARC, Alfonso Cano, released a statement on the Internet this Wednesday blaming President Alvaro for obstructing the liberation of an Army corporal who has been held hostage for more than 11 years. The document released on the FARC website indicated that “the order of the day is to exchange the prisoners of war, which President Uribe opposes with various syllogisms, as an expression of his blind strategy.” “His stubbornness and lack of greatness (…) block, through his arbitrary and irritable disposition, the unilateral liberation of Corporal Moncayo, while in the hundreds of battles that occur daily all over the country, the risks of the prisoners increase,” he added. Cano, who replaced the FARC founder, Manuel ‘Tirofijo’ Marulanda, stated that during recent battles more “military members” have been taken prisoner, and blames Uribe for choosing to forget this so that they wouldn’t remember the existence of a serious social and armed conflict through which our country suffers.” Cano published the message to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the founding of the Marxist guerrilla forces of the FARC, which currently, according to official sources, has more than 6,000 combatants. FARC announced that on April 16 Moncayo will be released, and the organization demanded the presence of the soldier’s father, Gustavo Moncayo, a professor who led a protest to request his son’s liberation; and of the opposing senator Piedad Córdoba, to whom in February they had released 4 soldiers and two politicians that they had been holding hostage. Uribe reacted by warning that he would not allow the presence of any politician at the prisoners’ release, and he indicated that he would only authorize the Red Cross and the representatives from the Catholic Church to be present. Moncayo was 19 years old when he was taken prisoner during a guerrilla attack. He forms part of a group of 22 soldiers—among which there is a general on the Police Force who was promoted to this rank while he was in captivity—who the guerrilla fighters wish to exchange for rebels who are being held hostage.