Thursday, November 22, 2007

Frustrating news about Ingrid Betancourt and Clara Rojas

The Associated Press is reporting that President Uribe of Colombia has decided to suspend Hugo Chavez's role in negotiating the possible release of prisoners, including Ingrid Betancourt, by the FARC. The AP reports that Uribe has done this because Chavez initiated contact with the head of Colombia's military.

I am not Latino. I am about as whitebread as one can get. I lived in Caracas from 10 to 13, and that experience informs my politics to this day. I know that the corruption Betancourt and Rojas were fighting kills a people's belief in a future. As the founder and presidential candidate of the Partido Verde Oxigeno, Colombia's Green Party, she was fighting for Justice, Democracy, Ecology and Non-violence, as Greens everywhere do. For this, for serving her people and her values, these women were abducted and held as prisoners in conditions none of us can know.

President Chavez initiated a military coup in 1992 which failed and landed him in jail for some time. He was then elected to the presidency in 1998. Venezuela, and other nations in Latin America have had coups, often times lead by the nation's military, goaded and aided by the US government.

If Chavez did not know that going directly to the military leadership of Colombia would put Uribe's teeth on edge, it's pretty damn hard to understand why not. If my whitebread ass can see the threat there, surely Chavez can also.

What peeves me the most about this is that Ingrid Betancourt and Clara Rojas, as well as other victims, hang in the balance while Chavez and Uribe play God and the FARC play Satan. The FARC should immediately and unconditionally release Betancourt and Rojas. Uribe should immediately contact Chavez and ask him to return to his role as mediator, and Chavez should apologize for contacting the Colombian military without going through Uribe.

Because these two leaders of two of our planet's most important and influential democracies cannot find a way to play nice together, two women sit rotting in the jungle, captives of violent and anti-democratic forces. Betancourt's children live thousands of miles from their mother, and have had to suffer for want of her loving embrace for far too long. The time is past for these men to act like men and secure their release from capativity. They have suffered too much already.

If you would like to speak out by signing a petition to Presidents Uribe and Chavez, that would be welcome. You can sign it right here.
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