FARC Release Hostage Josué Daniel Calvo; Uribe Opens Door to Humanitarian Agreement

Protesters demand the release of hostages held by the FARC in a march in Bogotá, Colombia on Feb. 4, 2008.
Protesters demand the release of hostages held by the FARC in a march in Bogotá, Colombia on Feb. 4, 2008.
Protesters demand the release of hostages held by the FARC in a march in Bogotá, Colombia on Feb. 4, 2008.
Protesters demand the release of hostages held by the FARC at a march in Bogotá, Colombia, on Feb. 4, 2008.

Today in Latin America

Top Story — The Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC, in Spanish), a leftist guerrilla army, released hostage Josué Daniel Calvo on Sunday, raising hopes that more of the remaining hostages might be freed in the near future.

Calvo, a soldier in the Colombian Army, was kidnapped in April of 2009, following a battle in Vistahermosa in which he was wounded.

Another hostage, Pablo Moncayo, is scheduled to be released unilaterally by the FARC on Tuesday.

Moncayo was abducted in 1997. His father, Gustavo is one of the most vocal proponents of a “humanitarian agreement” that would oblige the Colombian government to release all FARC prisoners in exchange for the FARC releasing the soldiers and police officers it holds hostage.

Colombian President Álvaro Uribe opened the door to the humanitarian agreement in a speech on Sunday, putting forth the condition that if FARC prisoners were released by the government, they must not take up arms.

“We can’t have a humanitarian agreement to return delinquents to the FARC, which would fortify their criminal capacity,” Uribe said, according to Colombian weekly Semana.

The FARC still holds 23 Colombian soldiers and police officers hostage, including Pablo Moncayo, according to The BBC.

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America

  • Over 7,000 people gathered in Monterrey, Mexico Sunday to protest the wave of violence that has recently plagued the city. The protest happened only hours after two soldiers and a civilian were wounded in Monterrey.
  • Mexican President Felipe Calderón said that resistance from lobbyist groups in the United States has blocked efforts to stop the flow of illegal assault weapons into Mexico.

Caribbean

Central America

Andes

  • A package bomb in El Charco, Colombia killed a 12-year old boy, who may have been given it to take to a local police station.
  • A poll in Colombia has former Defence Minister Juan Manuel Santos leading in the race for the June presidential elections, but would likely face a run-off with Conservative candidate Noemí Sanín.
  • Peruvian police said that five people died after heavy rains caused a mudslide in the country’s Puno region.
  • An editorial writer for Ecuador’s El Universo newspaper was sentenced to three years in prison for editorial piece insulting the head of the Ecuador government’s National Financial Corp.
  • Bolivia will be quadrupling its natural gas exports to Argentina over the next decade, according to a deal signed Friday in the Bolivian city of Sucre.

Southern Cone

Image: Pattoncito @ Flickr.

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