Divulgan video de legisladores secuestrados en Colombia

CALI, Colombia – A video released by Colombian guerrillas aired Saturday showing 12 kidnapped lawmakers pleading with their government to work with Venezuela’s leftist President Hugo Chavez to help obtain their release.
The video, which aired on Colombia’s Caracol television station, was the first sign in 15 months that the provincial congressmen might still be alive. Leftist rebels dressed as police officers seized the men in April 2002 from a government building in Cali, 190 miles southwest of the capital, Bogota.
In the video, three of the men beg Venezuela to grant them political asylum — an unprecedented request for hostages held by Colombia’s rebel groups.
The appeal could be an effort to enlist Chavez, who they believe has leverage with the guerrillas, to take up the hostages’ plight since the Colombian government has failed to win their freedom.
«I beg the international community for greater solidarity, and the people and government of Venezuela that they grant me political asylum,» a lean but healthy-looking Juan Carlos Narvaez said in the video.
Narvaez complained that Colombian President Alvaro Uribe was not interested in obtaining their release.
Uribe issued a statement supporting the proposal.
«The government does not object that the hostages be granted asylum as a condition for release and we’re confident that President Chavez would agree,» he said.
Chavez, who has been accused of harboring and providing support to Colombian rebels, has repeatedly offered to facilitate a prisoner swap, but the Colombian government has so far refused.
Instead, Uribe, with the support of three European nations, has been pursuing his own humanitarian exchange proposal while leading a military campaign against the leftist guerrillas.
To win the release of 59 high-profile hostages, including three U.S. defense contractors, the government has offered to free jailed guerrillas convicted of minor crimes.
But the country’s biggest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, wants the government to grant the group, known by the Spanish acronym FARC, a safe haven before any prisoner swap is discussed, which the president has so far rejected.
The FARC, which has been battling to topple the government for 40 years, is thought to have hundreds of hostages in remote jungle camps.

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