‘FARC leader’s death won’t hasten hostage release’

May 28th, 2008 - 3:52 pm ICT by admin  

Brasilia, May 28 (IANS) The death of the top leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) may not lead to early release of its hostages, including former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, Spain’s EFE news agency reported Wednesday. “The FARC is a very well-organised group. They have a Stalinist line and their chain of command is intact,” the agency quoted Betancourt’s husband Juan Carlos Lecompte as saying.

Betancourt is being held hostage for more than six years by the FARC, Colombia’s largest left wing insurgency group fighting the government for control.

The group Sunday confirmed the death of their top leader and founder, Manuel “Sureshot” Marulanda, in March due to a heart attack.

Lecompte said Marulanda’s replacement, Alfonso Cano, would not bring any changes in the FARC’s political stand.

“Uribe gives priority to the military route and not to negotiations. He prefers to rescue the hostages militarily and … to annihilate the FARC before speaking with the guerrillas,” he said.

Lecompte said he received no information about his wife’s condition so far this year.

“The last message arrived Nov 30 last year, and since then we don’t know anything,” he said.

Betancourt, who holds a dual Colombian-French citizenship, is one of 40 high-value hostages the FARC wants to exchange for as many as 500 jailed rebels.

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