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Cablegate: Nicaragua Urges Farc "Brother" to Release Hostages

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SUBJECT: NICARAGUA URGES FARC "BROTHER" TO RELEASE HOSTAGES

1. On December 7, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega called
on his "beloved brother," Revolutionary Armed Forces of
Colombia (FARC) leader Manual Marulanda, to free Ingrid
Betancourt, apparently in response to Venezuelan president
Hugo Chavez' appeal for his involvement. Ortega added that
"in the name of all Latin American revolutionaries and as a
signal to work for peace," such a gesture would help
strengthen the FARC and its leadership. He said he had spoken
directly to Chavez and volunteered his assistance.

2. On December 12, Ortega ordered the Nicaraguan military to
be placed on alert. The next day he reiterated the need for
the GOC and the FARC to re-open negotiations aimed at the
obtaining the release of all hostages. He said he hoped
President Uribe would listen to his message because, although
the FARC had the will to release Betancourt, there was also
"serious risk" that she could be killed. Her death would then
be used to blame the FARC. Ortega said he was not meddling in
another country's affairs but rather reacting to the hostage
families' appeals for help, concerns which go "beyond
borders". He criticized the GOC's conditions for negotiations
with the FARC, accusing Uribe of "condemning Betancourt and
the other hostages to death" and of bowing to "imperialist
pressures."

3. Ortega's comments came on the heels of a December 13
International Court of Justice ruling in favor of Colombia's
sovereignty over San Andres and two other islands disputed by
Nicaragua. Still, the Court asserted jurisdiction to rule on
Nicaragua's claims to three other cays, as well as to
de-limit the maritime boundary between the two countries.

4. Colombian Foreign Minister Fernando Araujo lodged an
"energetic protest" to Ortega's comments on December 14,
rebuking Ortega for using positive terms towards a
narco-terrorist group without consideration for the FARC's
victims. He denounced Ortega's comments as "unhelpful" to
internal Colombian matters and rejected his characterization
of the situation. The rift with Venezuela and Nicaragua has
prompted a private request by Colombian police to Post's
Narcotics Affairs Section (NAS) not to invite more Venezuelan
or Nicaraguan participants to its international training
courses.
Nichols

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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