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Cablegate: Farc Delays Hostage Recovery Mission As

VZCZCXYZ0015
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #8723 3651920
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 311920Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0740
INFO RUEHSW/AMEMBASSY BERN PRIORITY 1369
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 7968
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES PRIORITY 2115
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 9719
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 5755
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA PRIORITY 1022
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 1171
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 6460
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL PRIORITY 4247
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA PRIORITY 0161
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS BOGOTA 008723

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL PTER PREF VZ CO
SUBJECT: FARC DELAYS HOSTAGE RECOVERY MISSION AS
INTERNATIONAL DELEGATION WAITS

REF: BOGOTA 8694

1. The Venezuelan-led, international mission to recover
three hostages -- Clara Rojas, her son Emmanuel, and Consuelo
Gonzales de Perdomo -- held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces
of Colombia (FARC) remains on hold as the GOV awaits transfer
point coordinates from the FARC (reftel). President Uribe
visited international representatives waiting in the Meta
Department capital of Villavicencio on December 31 to
reiterate GOC support for the mission and explain GOC
guarantees allowing it to move ahead. Venezuelan Foreign
Minister Nicolas Maduro arrived in Villavicencio at 0800 EST,
December 31, prompting speculation that the recovery stage of
the mission would get underway. The media also hinted,
however, that Maduro's mission may have been to convince
international representatives (including former-President
Nestor Kirchner, Brazilian presidential advisor Marco Aurelio
Garcia--and American filmmaker Oliver Stone) to remain in
Villavicencio to wait for the mission to commence.

2. International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Chief in
Colombia Barbara Hintermann publicly urged quick action from
the FARC, but the imminent launch of the recovery mission
remains in doubt. The GOV's intermediary with the FARC,
Ramon Rodriguez Chacin, is reportedly not yet in
Villavicencio with the needed coordinates. Participants
continued to voice optimism that the mission will eventually
proceed, and urged patience with the FARC's delays--which
they called understandable based on security concerns.

3. In Caracas, President Hugo Chavez criticized GOC military
operations for delaying the hostage release. Peace
Commissioner Luis Carlos Restrepo said the GOC denied the
delay was due to military operations, and reiterated the GOC
commitment to make the operation work. The mission, when it
launches, will likely need to begin early in the day to avoid
ICRC restrictions on nighttime operations. ICRC officials
also noted that the September mission to recover the remains
of the eleven Valle deputies murdered by the FARC took much
longer than expected to complete. Meanwhile, the ICRC
continues to object to GOV plans to allow Oliver Stone to
film the hostage recovery.
Nichols

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