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Año 2006 | 2007
10
17
24
31
28 de junio

COMUNICADO DEL PRESIDENTE DE LA REPÚBLICA
Versión en inglés

The Colombian Government blames the terrorist group, FARC, for the murder of the eleven Valle del Cauca department members of parliament, death that has been informed by that same criminal organization.

  1. For the Colombian Government the liberation of hostages has been a priority.
  2. When the rescue mission of the former Minister Gilberto Echeverri, of Governor Guillermo Gaviria and their companions in captivity was attempted, the FARC assassinated most of them, in defenseless conditions, thrown on the floor, without engaging in combat with the Military that had not arrived to the zone. When military helicopters were heard, the survivors told the President, the bandits abandoned the camp, as the soldiers had not arrive they then returned and assassinated the kidnapped.
  3. Since that day the Government made the decision to previously inform the families of the kidnapped of any military rescue operation, which does not implicate requesting permission to proceed and comply with the Constitutional duty. In fact, Mr. Alberto Araújo Merlano, father of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Fernando Araújo, was previously informed of the rescue operation by the Minister of the Defense and by the President of Colombia.
  4. Government and Armed Forces had agreed that upon locating the place where the kidnapped were held captive, before launching a rescue operation, the operation would be rigorously studied and would need a specific and necessary authorization, or the option of blockading the zone would be considered and demand through national institutions and the international community that the terrorists proceed to free the hostages.
  5. The Government had not informed the families of any rescue operation, because none was under way due to the fact that the location of the hostages was unknown.
  6. The Government has also expressed to the governments of the United States and France, to Presidents George W. Bush and Nicolas Sarkozy, that in the event of locating the place of captivity of the hostages Ingrid Betancourt and the three North American citizens, before launching the rescue operation those governments would be informed and listened. They have not been informed because the place of captivity has not been located.
  7. The European emissaries, with authorization from the Colombian Government search for a humanitarian agreement, held a meeting with FARC’S terrorist Raul Reyes, during the third week of June of the current year. The delegates of the three European countries, France, Spain and Switzerland, had programmed an evaluation meeting tomorrow in Geneva, which still stands.
  8. The members of parliament would have been assassinated by the FARC, vilely. The Armed Forces were not in any rescue operations because there was no place of location.
  9. The Ministry of Defense has the following operation records:

    On June 18 there were no combats in the departments of Cauca or Valle del Cauca. There were combats that day in San Pablo, Puerres, department of Nariño against FARC’S 48th front, without any results. There was an exchange of shots between an Air Force helicopter that was giving support to the reparation of the Transandino oil pipeline between Nariño and Putumayo departments, and terrorists on land. On June 17 there were combats in Maguí Payán (Nariño) where a FARC terrorist was killed, the weapon was recovered and two 81 millimeter handcrafted mortars. On June 18, in that same location of Nariño department, harassment to the Armed Forces was carried out with no consequences. On June 19 there was an engagement in Victoria, Cauca, where 4 FARC terrorists were killed; two rifles, short range guns and grenades were recovered. On that same June 19, there was a combat on the Maguí River, Nariño department, where there were no killings and 5, 81 millimeter grenades, 740 cartridges and 26 camping equipments were seized.


  10. The assassination of all hostages, without survivors, except one that would be apart from the group, shows criminal premeditation that wants to be presented as crossfire with the Armed Forces, which never existed. The hypothetical death of the hostages, with no terrorist deaths, without soldiers killed or wounded, proves that there was no such crossfire, that the terrorist FARC wants to hide this crime against humanity that they would have committed.
  11. The FARC practice assassination of hostages and lie to hold crossfire with the Armed Forces responsible for the fact. The assassination of Helmut Bickenbach and his wife Doris Gil, both held hostage, must be reminded when they said it took place during an attempted rescue operation, which was not executed because the Armed Forces were a day away. There are many cases like these of Colombians and foreigners assassinated by the FARC in identical circumstances.
  12. The criminal purpose and concealing by the FARC is evident. Their press release talks about an unidentified military group, which is unusual in this terrorist group. The press release does not give the location of assassination nor does it inform about the corpses. The press release is dated June 23 when the events would have occurred on June 18, and it is only made public today, June 28.
  13. The government has not received information from any citizen or from a different source regarding any possible combat where 11 members of parliament might have died. The seriousness of the event would have made it difficult to go unnoticed during 10 days.
  14. The FARC searches to cowardly conceal their responsibility in a crime against humanity that turns civilians into defenseless victims kidnapped by terrorists.
  15. We ask for the support of the international community in the search of the bodies, and when found, we will request an international forensic commission to explain to the world the circumstances of this heinous crime.
  16. The Government will not accept blackmail, it will not accept demilitarized zones, it will not free guerrillas so they can return to the FARC to assassinate and kidnap.
  17. We ask the international community to strongly condemn the FARC terrorist group.
  18. In midst of the pain for the victims and their families, we appeal to the support of the Colombian people who have been the cornerstone of the Democratic Security policy.
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2003 PRESIDENCIA DE LA REPÚBLICA