The FARC’s release of a proof-of-life video of five hostages that are being held captive in the jungle was a politically motivated act that aims to turn the captives into “political tools,” said the Colombian government on Monday.
According to Colombia’s Minister of Defense, Gabriel Silva, the release of the video – which shows the testimonies of five hostage members of Colombia’s security forces – was “not a humanitarian act” by the FARC but an effort to overcome recent blows made to the organization by the Colombian army.
Speaking at a military base in the central Colombian city of Rionegro, Silva said “To send proof of survival is not a humanitarian act, they are trying once more to convert the hostages into political tools, with their aim of subjecting the country to negotiations which are not convenient, seeking to overcome the weakening and deterioration that they have lived.”
Colombia’s ombudsman, Volmar Perez, also spoke on the subject, saying that the government should “explore alternatives” in negotiations with the FARC, leading to a “humanitarian agreement … inspired by the protective rules of international humanitarian law.”
Messengers sent the 26-minute video to opposition senator and mediator Piedad Cordoba who passed it on to national television.
The videos show testimonies of hostages Alvaro Jose Moreno, Libio Martine, Edgar Yesid Duarte, Elkin Hernandez Rivas and Luis Alberto Erazo.
All of the hostages have been in FARC captivity for several years. One of the hostages in the video has been held by the rebels since 1997.
The FARC is holding 22 members of the armed forces hostage and wants to swap them for hundreds of guerrillas currently in Colombian and U.S. jails.