Cuba’s official news agency is reporting that FARC rebels in Colombia plan to release at least three hostages to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Clara Rojas is said to be included. Rojas’s infant son and former Congresswoman Consuelo Gonzalez are also to be freed.
Rojas’ mother broke down in tears and said she hoped the news was true. “I have been waiting for this for a long time. I have often imagined how this moment would feel when it came. It is not just great happiness, but also satisfaction,” she told reporters.
Chavez confirmed the statement and welcomed the news saying: “I think this is a great Christmas present, especially for the relatives of Dr Clara Rojas and her son, Emmanuel.”
But he also criticized Colombian President Alvaro Uribe for ending his attempts at negotiation in November. France praised efforts leading to the first “tangible” results. Pressure for an accord has mounted since several rebel videos were seized in November.
They showed former presidential candidate, French-Colombian Ingrid Betancourt looking gaunt along with three Americans who are also being held.
The videos and letters to families were the first proof that Betancourt was alive since the previous tape in 2003.