In the lastest debate, Colombian presidential candidates disagreed over whether the Andean nation should negotiate “humanitarian exchanges” of FARC hostages for incarcerated guerrillas, with the Marxist rebel organization.
Partido de la U candidate Juan Manuel Santos definitively ruled out an exchange with the FARC but said he would accept a unilateral release. The “Uribista” also said that another military rescue of prisoners held by the FARC remains an option.
Green Party candidate Antanas Mockus was in favor of mediation by the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Catholic Church to seek the liberation of all hostages, but said he would not negotiate with the FARC.
Polo Democratico’s Gustavo Petro was the only candidate to say he would seek to negotiate a humanitarian exchange with the FARC, on the previso that the guerrilla group committed to stop their practice of kidnapping.
Liberal Party candidate Rafael Pardo said that present conditions in Colombia do not favor negotiation with the FARC, but that the doors to both a humanitarian exchange and a unilateral release should be kept open.
Cambio Radical candidate German Vargas Lleras catagorically ruled out a humanitarian exchange because to accept one would be to accept kidnapping “as a valid force of political struggle.”
Colombians will head to the polls on Sunday to elect their next president.
As of midnight last Sunday, candidates for the 2010-2014 presidency were required by law to stop canvassing. The latest polls are too close to predict who will win the most contested elections in the country’s modern history.