Peace talks

FARC claim to have no ‘prisoners of war’

posted by Zach Edling

colombia news/rodrigo granda

Contrary to previous statements from a fellow member, Colombia’s largest rebel group FARC on Monday claimed to have “no prisoners of war at this time,” suggesting a divided front during peace negotiations with the Colombian government.

Rodrigo Granda, considered FARC’s foreign minister, told local media that fellow guerrilla, Sandra Ramirez, was mistaken when she claimed FARC was still holding “prisoners of war.”

Granda said Ramirez “might have committed an indiscretion…but…I can attest that this [holding of prisoners of war] is not so. We can assure the country that we do not have POWs.”

Sandra Ramirez, a member of the FARC’s negotiating team, on Sunday told the Cuban newspaper Juventud Rebelde that Colombia’s longest-standing rebel group still has “prisoners of war.” Ramirez said FARC continues to hold captives for possible prisoner exchanges with the government.

“We maintain this project [prisoner swap],” said Ramirez, “because that is the only way that we could get the comrades, who are rotting in prisons around the country, back.”

According to Granda, however, Ramirez was simply referring to a previous policy that has since abandoned. In September, FARC claimed they had ceased kidnapping and had released all prisoners of war.

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