COLOMBIA Anti-FARC March: World’s Oddest Peace Rally- Hostage Relatives Denounce it and Uribe’s Bellicose Rhetoric

Posted on February 5, 2008

While the anti-FARC march snaked across the globe, many watching this spectacle were coming to the same conclusion: What effect did this have on current hostage negotiations? And, for a march professing peace, why was the rhetoric so bellicose, especially the rhetoric from Colombian president, Alvaro Uribe? See two articles below.

Finally, as a longtime organizer, I know it takes a lot of money and the backing of very influential people to get as many people out on the streets in as many cities as this march accomplished yesterday. Something doesn’t fit. Perhaps, there are answers in a new video out about opposition students in Venezuela, including who is backing them and what their goal is. The video was made after the December 2 referendum in Venezuela and, in addition to addressing these issues, reveals the truth about the student clash that took place at Central University . See the video “Nuevas Caritas, El Mismo Objetivo” or “Different Faces, Same Objective.”

Colombia Marches against FARC Criticized

Caracas, Feb 4 (Prensa Latina) Relatives of detainees by Colombian guerrilla and solidarity groups in France criticized today the government-induced marches against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) who said their pain was being manipulated.

Astrid Betancourt, sister of the former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt said in statements made by phone to Venezolana de Television that the marches are not a solution for the release of detainees or for peace.

She added that it is a manipulation of hatred for FARC but not for peace in Colombia. It is a game to justify war and prevent dialogue.

The release of three former members of Congress announced here comes as a result of the mediation by Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, whose mediation she considered decisive for a humanitary exchange agreement.

Relatives of detainees Eladio Perez and Gloria Polanco, who arrived today in Caracas, also criticized the marches against FARC. Colombian Senator Piedad Cordoba considered the marches an expression of hatred, racism and exclusion.

Cordoba also arrived in Venezuela as part of the preps for the humanitarian operation which will convey the release of three politicians detained by the FARC.

Meanwhile, in Paris, French solidarity groups rejected today the marches promoted by the Colombian government in several cities throughout the world.

Astrid Betancourt told Prensa Latina that the marches are manipulative and distort the message that detainee relatives want to send out. Ingrid, in the hands of the FARC since 2002, said in the South American country a destructive hatred has been unleashed and the people march not in the name of our detained relatives.

Before the members of the International Federation of Ingrid Betancourt Committees, based in France, Astrid gave a press conference to clear her personal position and that of the groups that in Europe promote the release of those detained.

She said that President Alvaro Uribe looks for support in the international community in order to deny there is an armed struggle in Colombia and that he has the economic, logistic and military support of the United States.

Astrid Betancourt together with the FICIB appealed once more to French head of State, Nicolas Sarkozy, and stressed that any peaceful mediation should go through the Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.

In Paris, about 200 persons gathered in the Plaza de Chatelet to express their points of view against kidnapping, terrorism and the FARC, in presence of Colombian ambassador to France, Fernando Cepeda.

The march was supposedly summoned by an independent, unknown organization, but the Colombian consulate in the French capital sent out e-mails calling to participate in the rally.

The Polo Democratico Alternativo of Colombia revealed in a release distributed in Paris, that it was threatened for his stand in favor of a humanitary accord and its rejection of war in that South American country.

ABN: Uribe Declares All-Out War

World’s oddest peace rally…

Uribe says he will leave no land for insurgents“For my love to Colombia ,”
the Colombian President Álvaro Uribe
said. Later, he stated that they must act “in a solid way in order to
defeat criminals.” This way, he emphasized his persistent vision of a
military solution to the 60 year-armed conflict that affects his
“Colombia , we totally love you,” Uribe said in a short broadcasting.
This way, he broke the strategy that he had followed in order to make
the announcement of this mobilization, in which the Colombian
government was not expected to appear like the promoter.
Uribe issued these statements in Valledupar, capital of
Cesar department, Colombia, considered as the cradle of vallenato
music and also famous because of housing one of the high security
prisons in Colombia, where, one of the biggest serial killers in
history, Luis Alfredo Garavito; is imprisoned. He is the confessed
author of the death of 174 children in different regions of Colombia.
Uribe, visibly satisfied, thanked the participants of mobilizations
and promised to maintain “firm up to the day criminals understand
that Colombia territory will never receive them.” He issued this
statement referring to the guerrilla groups but he did not include the
paramilitary groups who were politically acknowledged by Uribe´s
The statements of the Colombian President widely contrast with the
ones issued by hostage´s relatives and many humanitarian movements
and peace promoters, who demand Uribe to desist of a military rescue
as an option to free the hostages in the hands of the FARC.
It is important to recall that Uribe´s military plans include the
enclosing of the insurgent camps where 44 hostages, including the
former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, remain.
Hostage´s relatives gathered in the Colombian church Voto Nacional
instead of attending the protest, while the left-wing political
party, Polo Democrático Alternativo (PDA), (Alternative Democratic
Pole), met in Bolivar Place under the slogan “For the humanitarian
agreement: no war, no kidnapping.” They attended the protest together
with labor union groups since they wanted to make the difference
before Uribe´s call, which was supported by paramilitary leaders.
“Astrid Betancourt, Ingrid´s sister, former presidential candidate of
Colombia kidnapped by the FARC in Colombia, accused today President
Uribe of manipulating the march called for today in different parts
of the world and present them as if they were against the FARC, the
DPA informed.
Astrid Betancourt accused Uribe of “poking the rage and anger of the
Colombian people, without proposing any solution” and intending to
justify the use of force and armed intervention and not dialogue.
She also denounced that “in France (the march) was called by the
Embassy of Colombia.” “This happened in the rest of the world as

“The government has hired journalists in Paris , Tokyo and Dubai , in
order to promote these marches. He wants to enhance and manipulate
the pain, rage and indignation of relatives.”

Ingrid´s sister pointed out that those who march today in different
parts of the world “do not protest in the name of hostages or
relatives.” “The government has called people with the slogan of a
patriotic act. Thus, for the government, those who do not attend the
call are not patriot. They are against the government and in favor of
the FARC. This is not true since we reject the FARC´s actions and
mobilize for peace in Colombia and the freedom of hostages,” she

Another relative, Carolina Pérez, daughter of Senator Luis Eladio
Pérez Bonilla, kidnapped in 2001, also criticized the marches
promoted by her country.

Before traveling to Venezuela , where she will participate in the
release operation of her father, she also informed to radio
Continental that “the message of these marches is not constructive.”

“We all reject the use of force and terror as a fight mechanism, but
we want to protest constructively, open dialogue spaces not against
the FARC. The message is for us to march against war, kidnapping and
any kind of violence against the human being, she said.

Bolivarian News Agency / February 04, 2008