Colombia’s largest guerrilla group FARC is currently holding at least 27 Venezuelan citizens hostage, according to Venezuela Free of Kidnappings. The NGO, formed in 2006 to raise awareness of kidnapping along the border, contended that the victims were taken prisoner from between 2002 and 2010.
Venezuela, which is accompanying the ongoing peace talks between FARC guerrillas and the Colombian government, has an “excellent” opportunity to facilitate the release of the hostages, according to Porfirio Davila, the president of the group.
Davila added that, “the government should first give support to the families of the hostages. Here, the army, the police, the prosecution and judges have all failed us.”
However, former Venezuelan diplomats Fernando Gerbasi and Pavel Rondon believed the Chavez administration should not overstep their role and advised against formally raising the issue at the negotiating table.
FARC and government representatives are currently in the midst of phase two of the latest peace process, in the Norwegian capital of Oslo.
FARC, for their part, has insisted that they have no kidnapped persons in their possession. “In one moment it was said that we had 2,900 hostages. A sweep was taken block by block, front by front, and the accusations came out to be false that we were responsible,” claimed FARC spokesman Rodrigo Granda in early September.