Protesters march against the FARC (February 2008).
Colombia, This Week in Latin America

Colombia’s FARC Releases Politician Taken In 2009 As Gesture Of Peace

February 10, 2011 By Staff

Protesters march against the FARC (February 2008).

Today in Latin America

Top Story — The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla group released the first of five hostages it promised to free this week as a gesture of peace to the government.

Marcos Baquero, a San José del Guaviare city councilman who was kidnapped in June 2009, was collected by a Brazilian military helicopter at an undisclosed location in Colombia’s eastern jungle region. Baquero, who has been in captivity for 19 months, was flown to his home town of Villavicencio and reunited with his family.

“The loneliness, knowing my family was suffering, knowing that there are still many people being held. I think that’s the worst thing that can happen to someone,” Baquero said, according to Reuters.

Baquero’s release is due in part to a humanitarian delegation led by former senator Piedad Cordoba, who played a role in other hostage releases but was banned from the senate for her alleged links to Colombia’s rebel groups.

While she has been stripped of her senate seat, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos still permits Cordoba to continue her role brokering hostage releases.

This gesture of peace by the FARC seems to have little effect on Santos’ stance toward Latin America’s oldest insurgency. Santos said Monday that he won’t consider peace talks with the FARC until it frees all captives, halts attacks and stops drug trafficking and extortion.

He added that the FARC should stop laying land mines, which kill and maim hundreds of Colombians a year.

The FARC, which traces its origins to the 1960s, was once a large rebel army controlling sizable swaths of Colombian territory. However, they have recently been battered by a U.S.-backed security drive that began in 2002 under former President Álvaro Uribe.

The military push has forced the FARC into remote mountains and jungles. Fewer than 20 hostages remain in FARC hands.

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America


  • A long-awaited underwater fiber-optic cable linking Venezuela to Cuba reached the island Wednesday, promising more and faster Internet and telephone service to the least wired country in the Americas, Cuban and Venezuelan officials said.
  • Haitian police say a radio journalist has been killed by a gunman who tried to rob him outside a bank.
  • The Puerto Rican Association of University Professors is staging a 24-hour strike in support of students who have clashed with police during protests over a new fee.

Central America


  • Authorities have detained 42 people and are seeking more than 100 others in an expanding housing construction fraud investigation, Venezuela’s attorney general said Wednesday.
  • Bolivia is buying six Chinese combat aircraft as part of its effort to correct its image as a country that isn’t doing as much as it should to cut off the narcotics trail to North America.
  • Hundreds of voices chanting “Libertad! Libertad! Libertad!” in unison marched through 6 de Diciembre, a principal street of Quito, Ecuador, Monday morning to express their opposition to the arrest and imprisonment of indigenous Shuar leaders Pepe Acacho, Fidel Kaniras, and Pedro Mashian.

Southern Cone

Image: WikiCommons.

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