The FARC gets feisty

-/AFP/Getty Images The French-Swiss-Spanish humanitarian mission to Colombia has apparently collapsed. There had been hopes the FARC rebel group would at least permit the mission’s members to visit and treat ailing hostage Ingrid Betancourt. The former Colombian presidential candidate, who holds French citizenship, has been in captivity for five years. In rejecting the mission, a ...

By , a professor at Indiana University’s Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies.
595567_080409_sarkozy_tv2.jpg
595567_080409_sarkozy_tv2.jpg

-/AFP/Getty Images

The French-Swiss-Spanish humanitarian mission to Colombia has apparently collapsed. There had been hopes the FARC rebel group would at least permit the mission's members to visit and treat ailing hostage Ingrid Betancourt. The former Colombian presidential candidate, who holds French citizenship, has been in captivity for five years. In rejecting the mission, a FARC spokesman placed the blame squarely on Colombian president Alvaro Uribe, whose military recently dealt the FARC a harsh blow.

We profoundly regret that while we were making palpable progress for a prisoner exchange, President Uribe planned and executed the cunning murder of comandante Raul Reyes, mortally wounding the hope for a humanitarian exchange and peace."

-/AFP/Getty Images

The French-Swiss-Spanish humanitarian mission to Colombia has apparently collapsed. There had been hopes the FARC rebel group would at least permit the mission’s members to visit and treat ailing hostage Ingrid Betancourt. The former Colombian presidential candidate, who holds French citizenship, has been in captivity for five years. In rejecting the mission, a FARC spokesman placed the blame squarely on Colombian president Alvaro Uribe, whose military recently dealt the FARC a harsh blow.

We profoundly regret that while we were making palpable progress for a prisoner exchange, President Uribe planned and executed the cunning murder of comandante Raul Reyes, mortally wounding the hope for a humanitarian exchange and peace.”

The failure of the mission is lamentable and the plight of the FARC hostages is tragic. Still, the high-level French attention to the issue is remarkable. President Sarkozy has declared himself ready to jet to the region if necessary to secure Betancourt’s release. Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner regularly wrestles with the details of the case. Betancourt’s case has become a cause-celebre, and French politicians may simply be responding to the French street, but the sight of France’s leaders hanging on the utterances of FARC guerrillas must have de Gaulle spinning in his grave.

David Bosco is a professor at Indiana University’s Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies. He is the author of The Poseidon Project: The Struggle to Govern the World’s Oceans. Twitter: @multilateralist

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