The Colombian Marxist guerilla group FARC have demanded the resignation of the country’s president, Alvaro Uribe, to secure the release of hostages, among them the French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt. The guerilla commander released the demand in a statement carried on the internet.
Betancourt’s husband, Juan Carlos Lecompte said, “If Uribe resigns, that would guarantee the humanitarian accord, and I agree with that. The accord would have been signed years ago under a different President, and the hostages would have been signed years ago.”
Betancourt was captured in 2002 while campaigning for Colombia’s presidency. Her release has been given top priority by the French president Nicolas Sarkozy. She was seized along with Clara Rojas, who was one of three hostages whose release had been promised just a day before the call for Uribe’s resignation.
In Paris, Ingrid Betancourt’s family, politicians and other supporters rallied to call on President Uribe to renew negotiations with FARC. But observers believe the rebels’ return to a hardline stance, a day after offering freedom to the three, suggests there will be no quick deal for the other captives’ release.