• Hopes of peace talks alive again


Colombian Marxist rebels agreed to release an abducted army general, a move that may lead to the resumption of peace talks and defuse a crisis that threatened to extend, even further, 5 decades of warfare. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) promised to free General Ruben Dario Alzate and four others captured in the past two weeks “as soon as possible” after reaching agreement on liberation terms with the government and guarantor nations, Cuba and Norway.

President Juan Manuel Santos’ office responded immediately to the announcement, pledging to resume talks as soon as the hostages are free. Alzate and two others were seized on Sunday by a FARC patrol as they left a boat in the poor and crime-ridden coastal region of Choco, prompting Santos to halt talks and throwing into doubt the two-year peace process under way in Cuba.

Just days earlier, the rebels had kidnapped two soldiers in eastern Arauca department. “Once they are all free, the government’s delegation will return to Havana,” an official release from President Santos’ office stated. The FARC decision to release the captives may counter critics of the peace process who say the rebels are not serious about ending Latin America’s longest-running war, which has killed more than 200,000 people since it began in 1964.

The final straw came when the FARC boarded a commercial plane and seized a senator, who was held captive for six years. Santos has staked his presidency on bringing peace to Colombia, winning re-election this year against a right-wing opponent who threatened to ditch the talks and finish the FARC on the battlefield.


Extracted and modified from Yahoo News


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