People Are Not Commodities To Be Exchanged, Says Cardinal To Columbian Guerrillas


Responding to calls by the National Liberation Army (ELN) in Colombia for a prisoner exchange with the government as a condition for the release of seven foreign nationals who were kidnapped by the ELN on September 12, the Archbishop of Bogotá, Cardinal Pedro Rubiano, said, “We cannot trade people like commodities.”

The Catholic Church in Columbia, which has offered to mediate negotiations for the release of the seven people—including four Israelis, one German, one Spaniard and one British—who were kidnapped in September, said prisoner exchanges are not part of its work.

Several days ago Pablo Beltrán of the ELN’s Central Command offered to release the hostages in exchange for the release of prisoners currently incarcerated by the governament. 

Cardinal Rubiano announced he would send a commission of three priests to the Santa Marta Mountains in northern Colombia to negotiate with the ELN for the release of the hostages.

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