In a statement released on Tuesday, the FARC said they kidnapped the governor to force him to respond to corruption and parapolitics charges.
The rebels blame Colombian President Alvaro Uribe for Cuellar’s death, saying it was “an undesired and tragic consequence of the order given by Alvaro Uribe to the armed forces to rescue with fire and blood” rebel-held hostages.
“They are murderers and terrorists who kill a man who was elected by the people and supported by his community, and now they say he was corrupt,” stated Defense Minister Gabriel Silva, as quoted by Spanish press agency EFE.
The abduction, murder, and then the justificiation of the murder “demonstrates the vileness and baseness of these terrorists that has no limit, not even with respect to the dead,” the minister continued.
Cuellar’s widow Imelda said she was outraged by the FARC statement. “Everything they say is a lie,” the widow said, adding that the FARC kidnapped her husband because he was an easy target, not because of alleged political crimes.
The governor was kidnapped from his home in the Caqueta department capital Florencia on December 21 and found dead just outside the city the next day. The FARC had not kidnapped any political figure of this caliber since President Alvaro Uribe took office in 2002.