Mediator Piedad Cordoba arrives in Colombia after torrential rain delayed her departure from Brazil, where she collected helicopters and pilots for the FARC hostage release mission, reports El Tiempo.
“Now we are in the airport of Villavicencio together with the team of soldiers from Brazil, the Red Cross, and Colombians for Peace,” Cordoba Tweeted at 2:20PM.
Cordoba flew to Brazil on Monday to collect the Brazilian team who, along with the Red Cross, will be assisting with the release operation, due to begin on Wednesday.
The first hostage due to be released is councilman Marcos Baquero. In an interview with Caracol Radio, his wife stated, “We are anxious and hoping that the release operation is quick so that we can have him home with his two children and all his family.”
According to a security protocol signed by the defense minister and the Red Cross, the government has committed to ceasing all armed forces operations in the areas surrounding the rescue site 12 hours before the rescue begins. Providing the processis a success, normal armed forces operations can recommence Thursday.
Party representatives from across the political spectrum celebrated the liberation efforts but echoed President Juan Manuel Santos’ sentiment that until the FARC release all hostages and cease terrorist activities, meaningful peace talks will be on hold.
Contrary to these proclamations of cautious hope, former president Alvaro Uribe announced via his Twitter account that the FARC offering of a hostage release as a gesture of peace should be seen as an “affront to [Colombia’s] institutions.”
The release of the five hostages is due to be carried out until Sunday.