I’m going to the airport in a little while to pick up Luis Eladio PÃ©rez, the former Colombian senator who was a hostage of the FARC between June 2001 and last February.
Senator PÃ©rez will be here in Washington for four days, through the end of the week. The purpose of his visit – the first from one of the six hostages freed earlier this year – is to raise awareness about the need for a humanitarian accord to free the remaining hostages.
If you’re in the Washington area, I hope you’ll be able to attend one of the public events at which Senator PÃ©rez will be speaking:
Wednesday at 12:30 – United States Institute of Peace
Thursday at 10:00 – House of Representatives (Room 210 of the Cannon House Office Building)
Members of the press are encouraged to meet Senator PÃ©rez at a press conference that will take place at the National Press Club on Thursday at 12:30.
Here is the text of the media advisory we are sending out.
For Immediate Release
Contact: Adam Isacson, Abigail Poe
Freedom, After 2,452 Days as a Guerrilla Hostage: A Visit from Colombian Senator Luis Eladio PÃ©rez
Who: Luis Eladio PÃ©rez was abducted by Colombiaâ€™s FARC guerrillas in June 2001. He was freed on February 26 of this year, after six years, seven months and seventeen days in captivity.
Of the six hostages whom the FARC liberated earlier this year, Senator PÃ©rez is the first to visit Washington.
When: Thursday, May 15th, 12:30 PM
Where: National Press Club, Murrow Room
What: Today, the FARC continues to hold seven civilians and thirty-three Colombian military and police officials to pressure for the release of guerrillas in Colombian and U.S. prisons. Some have been hostage for more than ten years.
Of the seven civilian hostages, three are U.S. citizens. Senator PÃ©rez spent most of the last year of his captivity in the same encampment as the three Americans. He also spent several years with French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt, whom he last saw on February 4.
Senator PÃ©rez will discuss his ordeal, give an update on the condition of the U.S. citizens and other hostages, and share his perspective on how the crisis can be resolved. His wife Ãngela and daughter Carolina will join him.
His visit is sponsored by the Center for International Policy and the U.S. Institute of Peace.
Also: Senator PÃ©rez will speak at two other public events:
- At the U.S. Institute of Peace on Wednesday, May 14th at 12:30 PM; and
- In the House of Representatives (210 Cannon Building) on Thursday, May 15th at 10:00 AM.