‘Colombians for Peace’, the social activist group that brokered the
liberation of six hostages earlier this year, want to talk with
Colombian President Álvaro Uribe about the possibilities for a prisoner
swap after the FARC abandoned their demand for a demilitarized zone.
The group, led by opposition senator Piedad Córdoba, tries to mediate between the right-wing government of Uribe and the left-wing rebels of the FARC and is engaged in a correspondence with the guerrillas.
‘Colombians for Peace’ want to talk to Uribe about the FARC’s concession to abandon their demand for a demilitarized zone — the government’s primary obstacle to negotiate peace with the rebels — and their offer to release the remains of Julián Ernesto Guevara, a policemen who died while in FARC captivity.
The rebels want to exchange the remains of the deceased hostage for the bodies of slain FARC commanders Iván Ríos and Raúl Reyes who, according to the rebels and relatives of Reyes, never were handed over to their families.
The Government insists having handed over the remains of ‘Reyes’ and now demands that the FARC submits to a “verifiable ceasefire” and stops all criminal activities before Bogotá agrees to negotiations about the exchange of hostages for imprisoned guerrillas and peace. According to the Government, the armed forces will begin a new offensive to further minimize the rebels’ capacity to undertake criminal or terrorist activities.
‘Colombians for Peace’ insist on a dialogue and want to talk to Uribe to see what possibilities exist of reaching agreement about the release of some twenty members of the security forces in FARC captivity in exchange for approximately 500 imprisoned guerrillas.
“We believe that if the Government and the FARC define the area where a reunion can take place within two or three weeks, we can already have an exchange in a month,” Córdoba said.