The mother of deceased FARC hostage Julian Ernesto Guevara, whose remains were released by the guerrilla organization Thursday, said the mission to bring her son home was accomplished, but not as she would have wished.
“Today the objective was acheived, but not as I wanted it, to bring him [Guevara] home alive and free. I only have his remains to give a Christian burial, as soon as [national forensics agency] Medicina Legal their report,” Emperatriz de Guevara told media in Bogota.
The remains of policeman Guevara were transferred to Bogota from the Villavicencio, Meta airport, where a humanitarian mission had handed them over to Emperatriz de Guevara, after receiving them from the FARC Thursday.
Emperatriz de Guevara thanked the Colombian and Brazilian governments, as well as the humanitarian mission comprised of Senator Piedad Cordoba, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) representatives and Monseñor Leonardo Gomez, for their roles in bringing home her son’s remains.
The mourning mother asked for the Colombian public to allow the Guevara family the time and space to privately mourn the loss of their loved one away from the public gaze.
Guevara, who was one of 42 Colombian policemen kidnapped by the FARC in November 1998, passed away in captivity in 2006. His cause of death has not yet been officially determined but Cordoba told media she believed he may have died “from a tropical disease.”
Guevara’s daughter, 17 year old Ana Maria Guevara, took the opportunity to ask Colombians to support a humanitarian exchange for the return of the remaining 22 hostages held by the FARC.
“All of Colombia united we can get out the [rest of] the kidnap victims out of the jungle, but we have to do it fast, lest what happened to my dad happens to them,” Ana Maria said.
The FARC have announced that from now on they will only engage in humanitarian exchanges of incarcerated guerrillas for FARC hostages.
‘Colombians for Peace’ leader Cordoba also took this somber moment in Colombia’s history to agitate for a humanitarian exchage, following the humanitarian mission’s return to the Villavicencio airport Thursday.
The Colombian government on Wednesday announced the terms under which it would permit a humanitarian exchange to take place.
A team of 6, comprising of anthropolgists, forensic orthodontologists and geneticists from Medecina Legal will undertake DNA testing of the body handed over by the FARC, to clarify that the remains are those of Guevara. It may take up to a week for the results of the tests to be released.
“We pray to God Almighty that the remains retrieved during the humanitarian mission correspond to he who in life was police Lieutenant Colonel Julian Ernesto Guevara,” Commander of the Colombian Armed Forces General Freddy Padilla said.
The release of Guevara’s remains follows the successful liberation of FARC hostages Pablo Emilio Moncayo and Josue Daniel Calvo earlier this week.