.- The secretary general of the Bishops’ Conference of Colombia, Bishop Fabian Marulanda, praised efforts by the French government to secure the release of former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt but stressed that equal efforts should be made to ensure all the hostages held by the FARC are freed.
Speaking to Caracol Radio, Bishop Marulanda said, “This concern, this zeal for the release (of Betancourt) should be directed at the release of all the hostages because in a certain sense it would be inhumane to make the effort for one sole person when there are so many who are living the same painful and inhumane situation.”
Bishop Marulanda noted that Colombians are very sensitive to the issue of the hostages and are unanimous in their desire to see them released, and he stressed that anything aimed at facilitating their liberation must be praised and supported. Genuine efforts in this direction must not be obstructed, he added.
He said the Church hopes the FARC will respond to calls to release the hostages. “I hope the same effort that is being made to free Dr. Ingrid will also be made for the release of all the kidnapped” who also deserve “help and pressure from the Colombian people.”
Bishop Marulanda said the Church does not have any additional information about the state of Betancourt’s health besides what has been reported in the media.