In the first sign of life from any of the Colombian FARC hostages since February, Sigifredo Lopez, member of parliament in 2002 when he was kidnapped, has appeared in a video.
The 30-minute tape includes Lopez’s version of the events that led to the death of 11 other MPs taken with him.
“I am sure it is the last chance the hostages that still survive have of returning to their homes alive. That is why I pray to God, the international community, the media, the political parties the church and the Colombian public to support the mediators, and put ideological differences aside,” he appealed on the tape.
Last year, a bungled police operation to free Lopez and the others ended with what their FARC captors claim was the hostages’ deaths in “crossfire”. Lopez survived because he had been taken elsewhere for “punishment” he says. His wife wants something more concrete than a video.
“All the hostages’ relatives await proof that their loved ones are alive, and that all hostages will be freed,” she said.
The most high-profile detainee is Franco-Colombian
former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt. French diplomats have renewed contacts with the FARC, but Betancourt’s health remains a concern.