What the new FARC documents tell us America’s newest prison inmates
May 122008

I’m going to the airport in a little while to pick up Luis Eladio Pérez, the former Colombian senator who was a hostage of the FARC between June 2001 and last February.

Senator P̩rez will be here in Washington for four days, through the end of the week. The purpose of his visit Рthe first from one of the six hostages freed earlier this year Рis 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 Pérez 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 Pérez 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
(202) 232-3317

ADVISORY

Freedom, After 2,452 Days as a Guerrilla Hostage: A Visit from Colombian Senator Luis Eladio Pérez

Who: Luis Eladio Pérez was abducted by Colombia’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 Pérez 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 Pérez 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 Pérez 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 Ángela 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 Pérez 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.

7 Responses to “A most welcome visitor”

  1. maremoto Says:

    What a sick joke…the same people who killed the humanitarian process which was already under way, that’s who he’s going to go talk to…
    If he had any guts he would rally all the ex-hostages and go on a hunger strike in front of the pentagon and the white house…that’s the only way to get some decency out of these people…shame them publicly …

  2. maremoto Says:

    this is potentially good news for Colombia

    Obama went a step further in an interview in March with the Mail Tribune newspaper in Medford, Ore. While still expressing qualms about patients growing their own supply or getting it from “mom-and-pop stores,” he said it is “entirely appropriate” for a state to legalize the medical use of marijuana, “with the same controls as other drugs prescribed by doctors.”

    the first baby steps to ending the Second Prohibition ? way too slow…
    In Colombia we need a leader who will rally the entire country for legalization of all drugs…even if we have to do extraordinary things to shame these destroyers out of influence like the whole country on a hunger strike beamed worldwide

    we pay the price in blood, chaos and corruption that keeps our institutions weak…like the Colombian Congress right now

    we don’t care about your social wars or manipulations of the truth

    we want our country back…our peaceful Colombia

    and it was peaceful..the guerrillas were a ragtag bunch who couldn’t shoot straight and the paramilitaries, at least in Colombia’s northern coast did not exist… now, we’re comparable to Iraq , Darfur

    jesus h christ get out of Colombia

  3. Chris Says:

    Most hostages come out with a strong feelings against the FARC… in this case, the former senator is not. I have heard some disparage him for what they say is pro-FARC comments.

    Why did he turn out to be different when compared to the other hostages (i.e. more benign towards a negotiated solution and seemingly anti-Uribe)? Was that his disposition prior to his capture?

    I have no preconceptions one way or another…I am simply looking for your opinions on why I have heard bad comments made of a man that you would think should receive praise for suffering so much under captivity.

  4. jcg Says:

    Briefly, I recall he made both kinds of comments: unexpectedly positive statements, but also some harsh criticisms .

    Depends on which ones you want to consider, and if you think they are “pro-FARC” just because, say, he said that they are politico-military organization which has committed acts that can be considered terrorist and has mistreated the hostages and other prisoners in its power.

  5. Camilla Says:

    Given that the recent crop of released hostages spouts the FARC party line about a ‘negotiated settlement’ and other ways of letting FARC take over towns and delaying the war’s end through endless, endless, endless ‘peace’ negotiations whose delays are actual ways of securing truces until FARC can get resupplied by either drugs or Chavista cash, the question I have is whether these hostages, hand-picked by FARC itself, might have been picked for release precisely because FARC knew they would do its bidding. It’s an unpleasant question but the facts fit.

    We know that rebellious hostages, like Betancourt, aren’t going to get freed – they say too many bad things about FARC afterward. We also know that do-it-yourself freed hostages, like Fernando Araujo, who escaped, don’t spout the FARC party line either.

    But these docile hostages freed by Hugo Chavez for his own political aggrandisement, these people who say the things FARC likes afterward, somehow get released. Coincidence? I think it’s possible this isn’t a coincidence and they were released precisely because the FARC trusted them to act as their agents of appeasement.

  6. Randy Paul Says:

    Camilla obviously has no shame.

  7. Randy Paul Says:

    Joe South said it best.

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