Well it looks like the FARC made good on their promise to release two of the people they had been holding hostage in the Colombian jungle for the past several years, Consuelo González and Clara Rojas. Gonzales is a former Colombian congresswoman, while Rojas was an aide to former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt who, along with Betancourt, was kidnapped inside of FARC-controlled territory while campaigning in February 2002. While in captivity Rojas gave birth to a boy, named Emmanuel, who was supposed to be released along with her and Gonzales as a goodwill gesture to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for his efforts to negotiate a hostage-prisoner exchange between the FARC and the Colombian government. However, in a exceedingly bizarre twist, it turns out the boy, now three years old, somehow had escaped from the FARC years earlier — apparently without the FARC realizing. That fact was revealed by Colombian President Álvaro Uribe just last month, and DNA testing shows he is indeed the son of Gonzales de Perdomo.
It’ll be interesting to see if the release of the two hostages will restart the negotiations that were cut short by the Uribe government in November. The FARC are still thought to be holding around 750 more hostages, including three U.S. military contractors.
Last month I covered the FARC hostage situation for Inter Press and spoke with Colombian Senator Piedad Cordoba, who had been working with President Chavez to negotiate a hostage release.