FARC denies medical mission access to Ingrid Betancourt

The Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) said the medical mission sponsored by the French government is inappropriate and will not be granted access to ailing hostage Ingrid Betancourt, in a communiqué issued by the guerilla General Staff April 9. The communiqué said that if President Uribe had agreed to rebel demands and pulled the army from the municipalities of Pradera and Florida (Valle del Cauca department) for 45 days earlier this year, Betancourt and other hostages would have been released. The medical mission has been waiting in Bogotá for FARC approval to fly into the jungle where Betancourt is held. French Exterior Minister Bernard Kouchner responded by accusing the FARC of a “great deception” for denying access to Betancourt, and pledged that France “will not abandon Ingrid.” (EFE, April 10; Prensa Latina, April 9)

Late last month, Costa Rican Security Minister Fernando Berrocal stepped down after accusing unnamed “political sectors” in his country of having close links to the FARC. A statement issued by President Oscar Arias was unclear about whether Berrocal was fired or resigned. The controversy came after information supposedly on the computer recovered from the March 1 raid on a FARC camp in Ecuador led investigators to $480,000 in cash at a house near the Costa Rican capital, San José. (Reuters, March 30)

See our last post on Colombia and the FARC.