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Guerrilla Commander On Columbian Prisoner Exchange

Márquez: The floodgates of the Exchange or the Humanitarian Interchange must be opened

We want to decide a procedure that ends the captivity, as much of institutional prisoners, as of the guerrilla, said the commander of the FARC, Iván Márquez to the correspondent of ANNCOL, Daniel Santamaría. The FARC is not going to say that they are not going to release some people because they are implied in Terrorism of State, or because they are corrupt thieves of white shirts, or because they betrayed their country and they betrayed the sovereignty, or because they are managers of repressive laws against the people, no! Also, he said, I want to ask all the democratic and revolutionary organizations of the world for their solidarity with the political prisoners of Colombia, and in special towards Simón Trinidad who can very well be a worthy symbol for all of them.

14.09.2004 [ Daniel Santamaría, ANNCOL ] An interview made by ANNCOL to the commander Iván Márquez, member of the Secretaryship of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, Army of the People, the FARC-EP.

ANNCOL: Why has the FARC rejected the new proposal sent by Uribe on a humanitarian interchange of prisoners?

Márquez: The exchange of prisoner is a determination, an intention in which the FARC has put all their persistence and will. We want to decide a procedure that ends the captivity, as much of institutional prisoners, as of the guerrilla. Our plenipotenciarios were designated a long time ago. Also we have brought up something that harmonizes with the logic: the necessity of a safe scene for the construction, face to face, of that bilateral agreement. Although there has not been a coherent answer by the government yet, we lodged the hope that the conscience and the reason prevail. It makes not sense to persist in this obnubilación, caused by the dangerous idea of a military rescue, when there is a less expensive exit. The government has legal tools to its disposition and counts in addition with the support of international protocols to finish with the suffering of the captives, object of the interest of the two parts.

ANNCOL: Three military of the United States Army have already been a year in hands of the FARC. How are the three?

Márquez: I believe that they are under an enormous risk. On them and on the other prisoners oscillates the dangerous sword of Damocles, that is the Plan Patriotic. Uribe and its generals have said that they going after them... Soon after the fatal and absurd outcome of Urrao, words more, words less, Ingrid said ': if the government obtains the rescue, it wins. And if the prisoners perish in the attempt, it also wins. Tremendous perception! One wanted that the government chose the most sensible, than is the agreement, saving itself the laborious spectacle of washing its hands before the country and the rest of the world with lies and slanted versions.

ANNCOL: How do you see the possibility that captured guerrilla members will be extradited to the United States?

Márquez: Like the triumph of the Law of the Forest on the International Right that consecrates as governing principles the free determination of the people, the nonintervention in the internal subjects of other countries and the inviolabilidad of the sovereignty, among others. What happens it is that the White House sees in the bolivariana guerrilla of the FARC, as in other processes of the region, a menace to his domination in the continent. We are resolutely against the neoliberal depredation, to the ALCA and the TLC, with the same argument as the father of the Mother country, Simón Liberator Bolivar: once the pact with the strong is bild, the obligation of the weak is eternal. By principle we are against the extradition of nationals. They must be prosecuted here, and in Spanish.

ANNCOL: Why is so important for you Simón Trinidad?

Márquez: All our combatants are important. Simón is a spokesman of peace in the FARC, and this fact by itself gives him a great relevance. The world is witness of this condition because he acted as plenipotenciario of the collective will of peace of our organization in the dialogues in the Caguán. The prosecutor of the General Office, against all evidence and the truth, presents him as member of the Main Army Staff (which is a high honor for a farian combatant); but it does it with the wily intention to tie him up to a universe of positions and prefabricated crimes, not only with the porpose of punishing his nonsingle and unruly revolt against a disgracious regime, but also his important roll in the search for a political solution to the social and armed conflict that country goes trough. I ask all the democratic and revolutionary organizations of the world for their solidarity with the political prisoners of Colombia, and in special towards Simón Trinidad who can very well be a worthy symbol for all of them.

ANNCOL: Uribe´s government says that any agreement of exchange, in which many guerrilla members would leave the jails, would demoralize the troops of the army, and therefore it is not possible to be accepted. He also sais that good citizens cannot be interchanged for terrorists. What do you think?

Márquez: In June 2001 the FARC released, without any reciprocity mediated on behalf of the State, 305 military prisoners of the official Armed Forces, all captured in combat, and no guerrilla combatant became demoralized for that reason. I do not understand how a political decision as the one of the exchange is going to deflate the moral of a whole military institution.

Now, to disqualify the public with arguments like the ones you indicate, only prolongs the human drama of the prisoners. Before September 11th they imputed us other descriptions, all of them with the twisted intention to deny the deep political character of our fight and to justify before the nations of the world the armed intervention of the government of the United States in the internal conflict of Colombia.

The FARC is not going to say that they are not going to release some people because they are implied in Terrorism of State, or because they are corrupt thieves of white shirts, or because they betrayed their country and they betrayed the sovereignty, or because they are managers of repressive laws against the people, no! It is understood that we are opposite; that what we are looking for is a bilateral agreement between non compatible so that some people return from the mountains to their homes and headquarters

and others come back from the jails of the regime to the place where their companions are waiting for them. The statutes of the FARC order to respect the prisoners of war and their physical integrity and convictions.

"I do not believe that the government makes an extreme sacrifice if it treats in an equal way his worthy adversary. The floodgates of the Exchange or the Humanitarian Interchange, must be opened, as people request ", Márquez commander.

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