Liberal Party Senator Piedad Cordoba said on Wednesday that the long-planned release of two hostages held by the FARC should be postponed until after the upcoming congressional elections on March 14.
Senator Cordoba said in a public statement that the Colombian government will not allow the FARC to free Pablo Emilio Moncayo and Josue Daniel Calvo until after the elections, due to concern that the release could be exploited for political advantage.
In response to government criticism that the hostage release could be used as a political tool, by Cordoba or by the FARC, the Liberal senator said that “it is best not to bother setting a date before the elections.”
Colombian President Alvaro Uribe had initially refused to allow Senator Cordoba to take part in the negotiations on the grounds that she would create, in his words, a “political show.” However, FARC said that it would not free Moncayo without Cordoba’s involvement, and Uribe relented.
Cordoba suggested that the date for the release could be set between March 15 and 20, following the congressional elections on March 14, reports W Radio.
Gustavo Guillermo Moncayo Rincon, the father of Pablo Emilio Moncayo, objected to the postponement of the liberation, but did not make a further comment. He is also running for Colombia’s Senate, and is careful to avoid being accused of using his son’s liberation for political gain.
Cordoba, who has been participating in the negotiations for the release of Moncayo and Calvo for nearly a year, announced on Tuesday that the only detail not yet determined is the date of the release.
Uribe said last week that the FARC are postponing the hostage release until close to the national elections in order to discredit the government.
Moncayo has been in FARC captivity since 1997, while Calvo has been held since April last year. Both are Colombian soldiers.
In addition to the hostages, the FARC will also release the remains of policeman Julian Guevara, who died in 2006 after eight years in captivity.