Colombia’s largest guerrilla group, the FARC, releases a statement claiming they are prepared to release Romeo Langlois, a French journalist who has been in FARC custody since April 28, reported local media Monday.
“What follows is the release of Romeo Langlois, in order to ensure life and integrity,” the communique read. “We propose to provide a safe place for a commission consisting of the International Red Cross, Senator Piedad Cordoba and a personal representative of the new French President, Francois Hollande,” it said in reference to the FARC’s request for a committee that would be present at the time of the journalists’ release.
The text released on the FARC’s website, which was down at the time of publication, spoke on the role of journalism in Colombian society, accusing the national government of using the media to its own ends . The rebel group said, once released, Langlois “will finish fulfilling the role expected by the government of Colombia, its military and the mainstream media.”
“The case of the French journalist Romeo Langlois, is the ideal way to reveal the undeniable role of mass media in the social order imposed by big business. Before informing and promoting free thinking citizens, the mainstream media distorts reality to make a truly unique version [of reality] for its sponsors,” read the statement.
The Marxist organization claims that its May 6 request to have a “broad national and international debate about freedom of information” prior to Langlois’ release was “in the crudest terms rejected.”
The FARC reiterated that Langlois was a “prisoner of war,” as evidenced by its allegations that he was wearing military fatigues at the time of his capture. Someone “with a really skewed view would consider this a kidnapping,” the communique stated.
Colombian officials claimed that the French journalist was in civilian attire except for a combat helmet and bulletproof vest he was wearing for safety reasons. The reporter was filming a documentary on counternarcotics operations for TV network France 24 when the platoon he was embedded with came under FARC fire on April 28.
The FARC statement also referenced the case of three journalists who were “arbitrarily detained by the army in Caqueta [department], while independently covering the delivery of two prisoners of war(…) The mainstream press was totally indifferent to them.”
A date or location for Langlois’ release was not mentioned in the FARC’s communique.