Brazil calls for end to armed struggle in Latin America

July 4th, 2008 - 8:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Rio de Janeiro, July 4 (Xinhua) Following the Colombian troops’ dramatic rescue of former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt and 14 others from the country’s largest leftist rebels group, Brazil has called for an end to armed struggle in Latin America. “The waging of armed struggle as a means of achieving power should end in Latin America,” Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said Thursday.

Expressing extreme pleasure at the release of the hostages, Lula said there was no reason for someone to seize power through weapons because democracy dominates the South American continent.

“The belief that armed struggle can solve anything is out of date,” the Brazilian president said, calling Betancourt’s release a victory for the Colombian government and for those who love freedom and peace.

He called on the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) to participate in Colombia’s democracy and release the remaining hostages.

FARC, Colombia’s largest anti-government group, still holds some 700 hostages.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Lula expressed the hope that Betancourt’s release was an important step toward the release of all other hostages held by FARC, the reconciliation of Colombians and peace in the country.

Former presidential candidate Betancourt, three US military contractors and 11 Colombian officials were rescued Wednesday in an “unprecedented” army operation in the southern Colombian province of Guaviare.

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