[Marxism] Chavez Willing to Mediate in Colombian Conflict
sabocat59 at mac.com
Fri Aug 10 05:26:15 MDT 2007
Chavez Reiterates Venezuela's Willingness to Mediate in Colombian
By Chris Carlson
August 8, 2007
Mérida, August 8, 2007 (venezuelanalysis.com)— Rumors spread recently
that Ingrid Betancourt, a hostage of the Colombian FARC guerrillas,
will soon be released in Venezuela, but President Hugo Chavez says he
is unaware of such plans. He reiterated his offer, though, to mediate
in the conflict between the guerrilla army and the Colombian government.
Ingrid Betancourt, a former Colombian senator and candidate for the
presidency, has been held captive by the Revolutionary Armed Forces
of Colombia (FARC), since she was kidnapped in 2002 during her
presidential campaign. Patricia Poleo, an anti-Chavez journalist
based out of Miami, claims to have evidence that Betancourt is being
held in Venezuela and will be released soon by the FARC in the state
of Apure near the border with Colombia as a part of a deal between
the French government and the FARC.
Poleo assures that the Venezuelan president is the "mediating
negotiator" between the French government of Nicolas Sarkozy and the
FARC. While French authorities have not denied this information,
Colombia's Foreign Minister Fernando Araujo expressed doubts about
Poleo's information and said his government is not aware of any plans
to release the hostages.
On Sunday, during his TV and radio program Aló Presidente, Hugo
Chavez reiterated a long-standing offer to mediate in the conflict
between the FARC and the Colombian government and help them reach an
agreement, including calling a conference among multiple nations.
The Colombian Senator Piedad Cordova was present at the Venezuelan
president's TV program and asked Chavez to help in negotiating a deal
between the two sides of the conflict. Chavez expressed his desire to
help Colombia achieve peace, but also denounced a campaign against
his government to accuse him of supporting the FARC.
"We have always said that in the case of Colombia we are willing to
do what we can to achieve peace," he said in response to the request
of Piedad Cordova. "We would like to help, Piedad, but of course that
depends on the actors over there. What more can we do?"
"I commit to do what I can, although in Colombia they use these words
to attack us. If I could make some kind of humanitarian agreement, I
hope that I can," he said.
The Colombian foreign minister recognized the good will of the
Venezuelan president and assured that he has always been willing to
"There is a permanent attitude of cooperation on the part of
President Chavez and his government and that statement is along the
same lines," said Minister Araujo, referring to Chavez' statements on
Sunday. Chavez "has always declared himself a friend of Colombia and
a friend of peace in Colombia," said the minister.
Upon arriving to Argentina earlier this week, journalists asked
Chavez about the Betancourt case and what he knew about her release.
Chavez said he did not know what they were referring to and showed
surprise at their questions.
"I am trying to digest what you are asking me. I hope (Betancourt) is
freed, but I am surprised by that question," said Chavez claiming to
not be informed of the situation.
Betancourt is one of 45 hostages being held by the FARC, some from as
many as 10 years ago, including three U.S. defense contractors held
captive since their spy plane went down in the Colombian jungle more
than 4 years ago. The FARC guerrillas hope to trade these hostages
for the release of many guerrilla insurgents being held prisoner by
the Colombian government, but it is unclear whether there is an
agreement to release any in the near future.
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