As deceased FARC hostage Julian Ernesto Guevara was finally buried on Monday, after dying in captivity in 2006, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe pledged to liberate the remaining 22 soldiers currently being held captive by the guerrilla group, reported Colombian media.
After attending the funeral ceremony, Uribe said in a speech that the fact that the remains of the policeman were returned was not cause for relief but rather an indication that the fight against the guerrilla group should not be abandoned.
“These terrorists from the FARC think that there will be a lot of gratitude and that the whole country will celebrate the return of the remains. What the people have to do is continue pointing the finger of blame at the kidnappers and continue putting all the pressure of the government towards defeating terrorism,” said the president.
The Colombian president spoke critically of what he considers to be the politically opportunistic timing of last week’s release of hostages Pablo Emilio Moncayo, Josue Daniel Calvo and Julian Ernesto Guevara, saying that the FARC “made the torture of the kidnapping into a game to suit their need for electoral gain and to try to deceive Colombians once again.”
Uribe went on to pledge to achieve the release of the 22 remaining hostages being held by the FARC, which he hopes to achieve before his term ends in August.
“To those who have been kidnapped,” said the Colombian president, “we are continuing with the task. Either they are liberated or we continue advancing until we liberate them ourselves. And any time now we will liberate them. We have never given up on the rescue.”
He announced, however, that two more of the 22 hostages are thought to have died in captivity.
This followed the lament by Guevara’s mother during the funeral, who said, “Today’s tears are not because your departure hurts us, but for the manner in which you left us.”
Guevara died in 2006 after eight years in FARC captivity, and his remains were released by the guerrilla group on Thursday in an operation led by Senator Piedad Cordoba and Colombia’s Peace Commission.