Freed Colombian hostage accuses Chavez of helping rebelsFebruary 17th, 2008 - 6:30 pm ICT by admin
Bogota, Feb 17 (IANS) A former Colombian hostage who spent nearly two years in the captivity of the country’s second largest leftist insurgent group has accused Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez government of providing safe haven to the rebels, Spain’s EFE news agency reported Sunday. Geologist Jorge Andres Sierra, who was in the captivity of the leftist National Liberation Army (ELN), went into exile soon after his release by the group.
Sierra has accused the Venezuelan government of having a secret pact - a “non-aggression treaty” - with the rebels, which allows the group to move freely in that country and in return it would not kidnap Venezuelan citizens.
Sierra said during an interview with the Colombian radio that he was taken to a Venezuelan jungle by his captors, since according to them, Venezuela was a “friendly territory”.
He said the insurgents were holding six more Colombians in their hideouts in the Venezuelan territory.
“When Venezuelan military helicopters flew overhead, the pilots waved at the guerrillas. I yelled that I was kidnapped, but they told me that if I escape, the Venezuelan National Guard would hand me over to the ELN”, Sierra said.
The ELN has some 5,000 combatants and is the second largest rebel group after the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in the country.
Both the rebel groups support the political ideals of Chavez and have asked for his support in initiating a peace process with the Colombian government.
Chavez maintains that the ELN and FARC are not terrorist groups but are “insurgent forces”. He urged the Colombian government to give them the “status of belligerents”, which brought an acrid diplomatic protest from that country.
- Colombian troops kill rebel blamed for 84 deaths - Apr 18, 2012
- Venezuela freezes relations with Colombia - Jul 30, 2009
- Colombian rebels kill 12 soldiers - May 22, 2012
- No cease fire during talks with FARC: Colombian president - Sep 08, 2012
- Four dead in Colombia bus attack - Jun 21, 2012
- Colombia's FARC frees 10 captives - Apr 03, 2012
- No grudges at talks with Colombian government: FARC - Sep 04, 2012
- Bomb strapped to horse wounds two Colombian soldiers - Jul 12, 2011
- Colombian Army rescues woman abducted by rebels - Jun 08, 2010
- Colombia seizes 2.6 tonnes of cocaine - Jun 06, 2012
- Venezuela's Chavez back in the public eye - May 24, 2012
- Guerrillas use dead body in attack in Colombia - Dec 08, 2011
- US plans to use Colombia for attack on Venezuela: Chavez - Dec 29, 2009
- Chavez not to attend Americas summit - Apr 15, 2012
- Two Colombian rebels killed by their own bomb - Jun 08, 2012
Tags: belligerents, colombian government, colombian radio, colombians, diplomatic protest, efe news agency, eln, hideouts, hugo chavez, insurgent group, military helicopters, national liberation army, political ideals, rebel group, rebel groups, revolutionary armed forces of colombia, revolutionary armed forces of colombia farc, secret pact, venezuelan government, venezuelan jungle