Despite Uribe’s Controversial Release of FARC Prisoners, Colombian Hostage Standoff Continues

Despite Uribe’s Controversial Release of FARC Prisoners, Colombian Hostage Standoff Continues

BOGOTÁ, Colombia - A decision by the Colombian government to release hundreds of guerrillas from state jails has sparked controversy and provoked criticism among political allies of Álvaro Uribe, the Colombian president.

Earlier this month, over 150 imprisoned Marxist guerrillas were transferred from prisons to a temporary holding center as part of a unilateral prisoner release that Uribe hopes will kick-start a prisoner swap and prompt the country's largest guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), to free scores of hostages held by the rebels in remote jungle camps across the country.

Among the 56 so-called political hostages, which include members of the armed forces and local politicians, are three U.S. contractors and Ingrid Betancourt, an ex-presidential candidate with French-Colombian citizenship who was kidnapped by FARC five years ago during a presidential campaign tour.

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