Christmas is a great time of family unity in a Latin American culture like Colombia. However, many Colombian families will not stay together this year. The problem is that they have not been together since more than a decade, because somebody was always missing. Surely many people will be missing at home this Christmas and it seems to be normal. Many will be in foreign countries because they went to study, to work or to visit the wonders of the planet. But those absents we are talking about, are very different: they are the long years ago hostages of the Colombian Farc guerrilla. Their families will be together in a Christmas vigil in the Bolívar Plaza of Bogotá since this Saturday. We are with you.
We do not know what to think. The world was moved by the long captivity of Ingrid Betancourt. We hope it was not because she has also the French nationality. Actually, France pressed very much to release what it considered its own problem.
However, Ingrid Betancourt was not the only hostage of the Farc guerrilla and her release was not the end of a drama with this insurgent organization in Colombia. It has thousand of hostages in the Colombian forest and many of them have near 14 years in a kind of prison.
Most of the hostages are policemen and soldiers. Most of their families come from the most poor social classes of Colombia. If Farc presumes that it is fighting for the poor in Colombia, it is at the same time holding the sons of the poor and using them as instruments of war. In that case, any fight becomes contradictory and evil.
When you see the kind of people who come to Plaza Bolívar every year by Christmas to call the attention over the luck of their sons at the hands of the Farc, you realize that those persons are farmers, workers and the most vulnerable people of the Colombian society.
Seeing an old couple who in the last 14 years have seen only the pain of the absent for their son or grandson, moves anybody, less the Farc. If a guerrilla is captured by the authorities and put to prison under charges like rebellion, you can understand that it has a logic, even if the laws of the state are not fully just for everybody. However, to take a soldier or a policeman, that was fulfilling a duty according with the general laws, is more difficult to understand. By a natural perspective, they are not guilty. Farc can argue that the Colombian state has any kind of social responsability in the historical problems of the country, but ethically, it can not use characters that have not to see with the development of such conflict in an intellectual way.
This Saturday will start the Vigil for the Farc hostages at 22:00 in Bolívar Plaza of Bogotá. Different chief of state of some countries will send a message to Farc’s hostages and their families. Miguel Bosé, for example, the popular Spaniard singer, will join at the distance the meaninful act.
Anyway, International Community should do even more for the hostages, at the same level it moves with Ingrid Betancourt. If you ask me what the international community could do to press in this eternal drama, I would suggest something like this: give to every Colombian hostage, everyone of the thousand chained by the Farc, the French nacionality (or other nationality that could move the energy like it happened with Ingrid.)