Colombia’s main rebel group FARC published a letter on Monday written by kidnapped US veteran Kevin Scott Sutay, serving as proof of life.
Sutay was kidnapped on June 20th in Guaviare state, in the south of the country, a remote area with a strong rebel presence. In the letter he talked about his time serving in Afghanistan and his life as a soldier more generally, as well as how he came to be a hostage of the FARC.
On Afghanistan, he wrote about the Taliban and their indiscriminate killing.
“I am a witness to the number who died in Afghanistan. The Taliban shoot indiscriminately, killing innocent civilians; while we actually identify enemy targets. For the innocent people it is a real nightmare.”
“I’m not sure that you [FARC] are going to win the war in Colombia,” Sutay wrote. “But I know that no-one is going to win in Afghanistan, only death will win.”
He went on to describe how he came to be in Colombia. “I travelled from the U.S.A to Mexico with $1911 and I spent it all on the way.”
“I met a guy who robbed a plane in the middle of the day in Managua [Nicaragua], he gave me good marijuana to sell in the capital. He was the boss of a criminal gang in Mexico City.”
“I really wanted to come here”
“From Costa Rica to Panama by bus, and from there to Colombia. I really wanted to come here.”
“I bought a plane ticket to Barranquilla because it was $100 cheaper than a direct flight to Bogota… The people at the hotel where I stayed told me that I probably shouldn’t go to Inirida [on the border in Guainia state) and the Puinwai national park, because it was really dangerous, but I really wanted to go, so I did.”
It was on his way there, while walking through the jungles of El Retorno in Guaviare state, that Sutay was captured by the FARC. Despite his kidnapping, in the letter he said that he was happy and wanted to spend more time in the jungle, “surrounded by life, animals, which makes me happy.”
“I am enjoying my time here in the jungle, it’s a shame that you [FARC] are telling me that I cannot stay here much longer, you really are good people, I would like to stay for longer, but if you tell me that it’s better for me to leave, I believe you. Will you come to visit me? We can go to parties and have a good time.”
Releasing the hostage
The FARC have said that they want to liberate Sutay, but that the government has not yet provided the “minimum necessary conditions” required for the procedure. The FARC wanted leftist senator Piedad Cordoba to be part of the humanitarian mission to release the soldier, but President Juan Manuel Santos rejected her involvement.
Instead the FARC asked Reverend Jesse Jackson to be involved last week. A possibility that the Colombian government have also rejected as the involvement of a prominent American civil rights activist would represent a publicity coup for the guerrilla group.
The FARC, who have been in peace talks with the government since November, sent a directive to all FARC units in February 2012 banning kidnapping, although they continue to take ‘prisoners of war.’
Yesterday, the family of a former city council member, kidnapped in 2001, called upon the FARC to release information revealing his location. The official’s sister said to RCN radio, “If you say you are not holding any kidnapped people, then answer: what did you do with my brother?”
El Retorno, Guaviare
- CONVERSACIONES CON KEVIN SCOTT (FARC-EP)
- COMMUNIQUÉ RELEASE KEVIN SCOTT (FARC-EP English)
- COMMUNIQUÉ U.S. SOLDIER KEVIN SCOTT (FARC-EP English)
- Las Farc hicieron pública supuesta prueba de vida del exmarine secuestrado (W Radio)