Caracas, Venezuela, 27 February, 2008. According to a televised interview with Red Cross representative, Bárbara Hinterman, the four Colombian hostages held by FARC have been released. After confirmation of the health status, Gloria Polanco, Luis Eladio Pérez, Orlando Beltrán and Jorge Eduardo Géchem were found to be fit to continue their liberating journey to Caracas, Venezuela. On the other hand, Venezuelan Ministry for the Presidency, Jesse Chacon, confirmed hostages had been liberated. He also informed they had telephone contact with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Frias. Just liberated hostages are now on their way to Venezuela. Their families eagerly await their return in Caracas.
According to unconfirmed information at the Caracol, FARC would have issued a new communiqué at ANNCOL website. Caracol stated FARC announced these four unilateral releases were the last one; after having showed its willingness to negotiate, FARC felt it did not receive any positive response from the Uribe administration. Thus, negotiations are now called for demilitarization at Pradera and Florida for 45 days. There and then, an humanitatian exchange of prisioners and hostages could take place. Finally, FARC also thanked the humanitarian role played by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Colombian Senator Piedad Cordoba. Colombian government annouced it would continue its military operation against FARC from 6:00 PM today.
UPDATES: In a televised Telesur video, the just released FARC hostages sent messages of gratitude for the humanitarian mission that brooked their freedom. They thanked both President Chavez and Senator Piedad Cordoba. From the video it was possible to confirme they show a good health and were eager to continue their travel to Caracas.
At 4:45 PM, the four just released hostages arrived at the city of Santo Domingo, western Venezuela, and proceed to change planes. They are now on their way to Caracas to meet with their relatives and most probably President Chavez.
At 5:45, Venezuelan Minister for the Presidency, Jesse Chacón held an interview with international media. Minister Chacón explained even if it meant to battle constant media manipulations, Venezuela was ready to continue all possible efforts to bring peace to neighbouring Colombia. He pointed out the historical origins of the Colombian conflict during the 50´s and remembered the peaceful resolution of civil wars in Central America. Finally he comnfirmed that just realesed hostages were in good health and shape; their arrival in Caracas is expected by 6:05 PM.
At 6:14 PM. Gloria Polanco, Luis Eladio Pérez, Orlando Beltrán and Jorge Eduardo Géchem who were held captive by FARC until this morning arrived in Caracas and met with their families.
At 7:00 PM Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez Frías, met with former FARC hostages -Gloria Polanco, Luis Eladio Pérez, Orlando Beltrán and Jorge Eduardo Géchem - and their family members. They were greeted at the Governmental palace with full honours. During their meeting anf after hearing on the situation endured by French Colombian hostage Ingrid Betancourt and her deteriorating health, Chavez asked FARC leader Marulanda to improve her captivity conditions. Chavez requested Betancourt be kept under Marulanda´s direct care. Chavez also pledged to help in the liberation of all remaining hostages.