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Cablegate: Farc Intentions On Humanitarian Exchange Remain

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159499 2008-06-24 22:06:00 08BOGOTA2293 Embassy Bogota CONFIDENTIAL VZCZCXYZ0001\
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RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 8261\
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E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/24/2018 \
TAGS: PGOV PREL PREF PTER PHUM CO
SUBJECT: FARC INTENTIONS ON HUMANITARIAN EXCHANGE REMAIN \
UNCLEAR \
\
Classified By: Political Counselor John Creamer \
Reasons 1.4 (b and d) \
\
SUMMARY \
------- \
1. (C) On June 21-22 the FARC released proof of life videos \
for two Colombian hostages, and the media reported renewed \
French contacts with the FARC Secretariat--a claim discounted \
by the French Embassy in Bogota. XXXXXXXXXXXX \
told us the GOC received a message from a reliable contact \
who claims to have a new FARC humanitarian exchange/peace \
proposal. XXXXXXXXXXXX said the GOC will likely explore the FARC \
channel, but believes FARC leader "Alfonso Cano" views \
negotiations in purely tactical, Leninist terms. XXXXXXXXXXXX also said he has received a FARC \
peace proposal, while XXXXXXXXXXXX told us FARC 1st \
Front Commander "Cesar" continues to explore an individual \
demobilization deal involving Ingrid Betancourt. New Mexico \
Governor Bill Richardson, who visited Colombia in March, is \
planning another trip to Bogota to engage on the humanitarian \
exchange issue. End Summary. \
\
FARC PROOF OF LIFE FOR COLOMBIAN HOSTAGES \
----------------------------------------- \
2. (U) The FARC provided video tapes on June 21-22 to local \
officials in Cali with proof of life for FARC-held hostages \
Sigfredo Lopez and soldier Pablo Moncayo. Lopez, the only \
survivor of a group of 12 state assemblymen kidnapped by the \
FARC (eleven others were murdered by the group in June, 2007) \
called on the GOC and the FARC to hasten efforts towards a \
humanitarian accord, and accused President Uribe of \
intransigence. The video was apparently filmed on March 30. \
Moncayo, son of humanitarian accord activist Professor \
Gustavo Moncayo, urged fellow hostage Ingrid Betancourt to \
remain strong in captivity. \
\
FRENCH TRY TO REESTABLISH FARC CONTACTS \
--------------------------------------- \
3. (C) French media reported that high-level sources in the \
GOF claimed to have "resumed contact with certain members of \
the FARC Secretariat" after contacts ceased with the March 1 \
death of Raul Reyes, but French DCM Alain Fort said the media \
misquoted the GOF source. Fort said he was not aware of any \
French contacts at the Secretariat-level. The Elysee sources \
also reportedly claimed that Betancourt was alive and in \
poor, but stable, health. Meanwhile, former FARC hostage \
Luis Eladio Perez continues to claim that the FARC's release \
of Betancourt and other hostages is imminent. XXXXXXXXXXXX told us Perez claims to \
have received a call while in Europe from FARC International \
Commission member "Andre Paris" who told him the FARC would \
soon unilaterally free Betancourt and other hostages. \
\
4. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX added that the computer files recovered from \
the FARC/Reyes computers show French intermediary Noel Saez \
and Swiss envoy Jean Pierre Gontard in a bad light. For \
example, XXXXXXXXXXXX said that in February Saez told Reyes the \
GOF would lift the EU's classification of the FARC as a \
terrorist group and allow the FARC to open an office in Paris \
in exchange for Betancourt's release. XXXXXXXXXXXX said that \
Saez' and Gontard's FARC sympathies made it difficult to \
accept them as facilitators. Still, the GOC has not \
communicated its concerns to the French or Swiss. \
\
GOC CONSIDERS FARC CONTACTS \
--------------------------- \
5. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX told us on June 19 that the GOC suspended \
contact "through a reliable source" with Guillermo Leon Saenz \
Vargas ("Alfonso Cano") and Jorge Torres Victoria ("Pablo \
Catatumbo") last August after authorizing Senator Piedad \
Cordoba and Venezuelan President Chavez to facilitate \
humanitarian talks. The contact recently reached out with a \
new FARC proposal. The GOC is considering whether to receive \
the proposal, or to instead focus its negotiation resources \
on individual FARC commanders. XXXXXXXXXXXX said Uribe would \
likely opt to explore the FARC channel, but cautioned that \
the GOC believes Cano remains focused on consolidating his \
authority and views negotiations in purely tactical, Leninist \
terms. XXXXXXXXXXXX commented that the GOC last received a FARC \
\
proposal on February 28. That proposal linked FARC release \
of its civilian hostages to GOC recognition of the group's \
belligerent status. Negotiations on release of military \
hostages would follow with the demilitarization of Florida \
and Pradera. \
\
6. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX told us June 17 that he \
also has received details of a FARC offer to the GOC through \
a contact close to Cano. XXXXXXXXXXXX outlined an offer similar to the February proposal \
described by XXXXXXXXXXXX. He said he would brief XXXXXXXXXXXX on \
his contacts. XXXXXXXXXXXX told us the GOC knew of XXXXXXXXXXXX's \
outreach to Cano and had his contact "controlled." XXXXXXXXXXXX \
said the GOC had revoked its authorization for \
intermediaries Alvaro Leyva and Carlos Lozano to reach out to \
the FARC, but added that the two continue to so on their own. \
Due to evidence contained in the Reyes' computers, Lozano \
and Leyva are under investigation by the Prosecutor General's \
Office (Fiscalia) for their previous FARC contacts. \
\
CHURCH: INDIRECT CONTACT WITH 1st FRONT COMMANDER "CESAR" \
--------------------------------------------- ------------ \
7. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX told us on June 13 that the \
Church is in indirect contact with FARC First Front Commander \
Giraldo Antionio Alguilar Ramirez ("Cesar") who is supposedly \
seeking GOC release of his wife and daughter -- as well as a \
GOC commitment to allow himself, his family, and any FARC who \
demobilize with him safe passage to France -- in exchange for \
freeing Ingrid Betancourt. XXXXXXXXXXXX briefed Defense \
Vice-Minister Sergio Jaramillo who promised his full \
cooperation. If the deal came through, XXXXXXXXXXXX said the \
Church would participate at the parish priest level, due to \
fears that higher-level involvement would burn the Church \
with the FARC Secretariat. XXXXXXXXXXXX \
told us June 17 that the ICRC has not been able to \
reestablish contact with the Secretariat since Reyes' death. \
He considers demobilization by a local commander holding the \
hostages more likely than a Secretariat authorized release. \
\
8. (SBU) New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson's staff told us \
the governor is likely to travel to Colombia in the near-term \
to continue his engagement on the FARC humanitarian accord \
issue. Richardson, who visited Colombia in March, reportedly \
remains in contact with Columbia University's Aldo Civico and \
XXXXXXXXXXXX on the exchange issue. \
BROWNFIELD \

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