Ãngela Giraldo was a dentist in Cali until April 2002, when the FARC kidnapped her brother Francisco and eleven other state legislators from Valle del Cauca department (of which Cali is the capital). The guerrillas have been holding them and about 45 other hostages – in some cases for ten years – in order to pressure for a prisoner-exchange agreement with the Colombian government. Three of the hostages are U.S. citizens.
Ãngela has since become a leading voice among the hostages’ family members, who have organized to pressure both sides to negotiate a “humanitarian exchange” of prisoners. The governor of Valle del Cauca, Angelino GarzÃ³n, named her to the post of departmental peace commissioner.
Ãngela Giraldo was in Washington last week to attend events hosted by the U.S. Institute for Peace. I sat down with her to talk about obstacles to freeing the hostages, and the important role that the U.S. government could play. Here is a five-minute video.