Friday, March 21, 2008

Colombian Citizen Initiative to Rescue FARC Hostages

The Collective Civilian Rescue is the response of many Colombians and people from abroad, who are, sincerely and without reservation, committed to doing something to get our fellow citizens out of where they are being held. We know that we are taking on a difficult objective, but, without a doubt, we will achieve it.
All are invited, the only condition is that you not bring your political banners. The only thing that matters is a love for Colombia and the will to carry out our unique humanitarian task, which is, to "rescue civilly" those who have been unjustly deprived of their liberty.

This is the mission statement of a collective initiative which began as a Facebook group. The group, composed of young people from Colombia and supporters from all over the world, is preparing for an unprecedented rescue mission to the Colombian jungle to demand that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) release the civilian hostages they have detained there. Colombians have been encouraged lately by a strong surge in citizen involvement and nonviolent protests such as the 5 million person peace march against the FARC which took place on the 4th of February of this year. This march is a continuation of this movement and an indicator of the renewal of hope and civic unity among the Colombian people.
A representative from the group told Caracol Radio that they are currently in the initial planning stages and are in the process of consulting with security experts, humanitarian organizations, and Colombian and international NGOs to assess strategies for the march. They hope to secure 1,000 volunteers willing to march. Right now, they plan on starting on June 16th, from Villavicencio, near the center of the country, and marching all the way to San Jose de Guaviare, which is where many hostages have been received after liberation by the FARC.

I have found that this initiative, and many other happenings in Colombia, are not commonly covered by English language news media. Rescate Civil has a blog in Spanish and I will do my best to update the blog with any English coverage that emerges.

"I am a free man only so far as I recognize the humanity and liberty of all men around me. In respecting their humanity, I respect my own". Mikhail Bakunin

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